Two days after her election, her winning smile has not yet disappeared. Dressed in a white chef's jacket with her golden patisserie tweezers on one side, Sophie Mussotter opens the door of the production kitchen of the company "Rauschenberger Catering & Restaurants" in Weinstadt near Stuttgart. Two small white-tiled rooms, equipped with ovens, portable induction plates, plenty of kitchen utensils and sweet ingredients such as syrups, roasted nuts and spray chocolate.

Since last year, she has been working here with a team of six as head pastry chef. Since Tuesday of this week, the 25-year-old has also held the title of "Pastry Chef of the Year 2023". She hasn't really grasped that yet. "It's an unbelievable feeling," says Mussotter, beaming. "Secretly, I thought I could do it if I gave it my all. But I'm also always very critical of myself, and the other finalists were very strong. In the end, my assistant Marvin and I were just so happy."

"There's a lot of organization behind it"

Mussotter's participation in the competition began with a written application. This had to include the recipes and photos of the desserts, a price calculation for eight people and the philosophy behind the desserts. "In other words, what you want to say to the guest and what you were thinking," explains Mussotter. 150 applicants from Germany, Austria and Switzerland took part in the preliminary round.

In the final on Tuesday at the Kameha Grand Hotel in Bonn, there were three women and two men in the end. Within five hours, three different dessert creations and petit fours had to be prepared for the jury in four versions. Afterwards, the finalists each had 20 minutes to present their twelve plates to the eight-member jury. Of course, Sophie Mussotter had already rehearsed this beforehand and stopped time. "There's a lot of organization behind it. You have to plan the sequence of the steps in such a way that it makes sense: freeze the ice cream first, for example, then the products that have to steep a little longer, and so on." At the competition, her preparation was quite good, and the time for serving was also right. Just like her announcements about the desserts in front of the jury in English. "It was a stressful situation for a short time, but it was also fun."

Lots of flavour from a small space

Sophie Mussotter started with a dessert made of celery, lychee, sake and rice. The trained chef says it was very exciting to make something special out of celery – to reinterpret it. "A fresh dessert. With sake, which is an alcoholic drink brewed from rice from Japan, and lychee, I also wanted to add Asian influences."

The second dessert had to be creamy, baked, fruity and warm, and also contain ice cream. The head pastry chef recalled her childhood, when she loved semolina porridge with cherries. And created a dessert for the competition made of cherry blossom, dark chocolate, plum wine and roasted buckwheat. Afterwards, as a third dessert, she presented a petit four of cucumber, passion fruit, tonka and caramel. Mussotter recalls: "If you eat this in one bite, the tonka brew ball dipped in cocoa butter bursts in your mouth. In combination with the crunchy cucumber passion fruit salad, you can feel a versatile taste experience. A lot of taste in a small space!"