[dropcap size=big]P[/dropcap]rolific pastry chef Janice Wong took up a 4-day trip to the 3-Michelin-starred El Celler De Can Roca, the world’s #1 restaurant, and was hosted by Jordi Roca El Celler’s pastry chef himself.

Wong, alongside Roca, was only able to take 4 days off her busy schedule in Singapore for the her trip to Spain.

“I’d been interning quite a lot before starting 2am:dessertbar, but this was very different. They were very free-spirited… and Jordi Roca is a very progressive chef,” said Wong, who stated that they spent time over laptops sharing their respective projects and creations over the last few years.

“The three of (the Roca brothers) taking time off to bring me to each of their areas and to meet their families – it was very precious.”


Wong’s trip, among others’, was part of the Overseas Development Programme (ODP) – a fully-paid experience, sponsored by the Singapore Tourism Board – offered to individual winners of the annual World Gourmet Summit Awards of Excellence (WGS AOE). Only Singaporean citizens or permanent residents are eligible for consideration.

A total of eight AOE 2015 recipients took up the offer, flying to stellar establishments all around the world for stints of up to two weeks. Many of the lessons picked up from hosts were brought back home.

For example, Chef Bryan Chia and Chef Petrina Loh, co-owners of Morsels, have begun building their own smoke pit back home in Singapore. They were deeply inspired by the rich, smoky flavours in the fare served up at Husk by Sean Brock, in Nashville, USA. Chia even recommended that ‘smokiness’ follow the footsteps of umami, and earn a classification as a new flavour.

(RELATED: Gourmet & Travel had previously named both Loh and Chia as Chefs to watch.)

(from left) Chef Bryan Chia and Chef Petrina Loh, co-owners of Morsels, opted for a trip to Nashville, in the United States.
The inaugural ODP was  announced early this year in conjunction with the awards ceremony, and will continue to be a key aspect of future AOE, according to WGS organiser Peter A Knipp. The nomination and voting phase for the 2016 AOE is already under way.
The World Gourmet Summit 2016 will take place from the 28 March – 24 April. Watch our website for updates on next year’s attending masterchefs.
(header image: (from left) Chef Joan Roca (head chef), Chef Janice Wong, Jordi Roca (pastry chef). Reproduced with permission of GoAlacarte.)