FORT MACKAY, Alta. — Alberta-based pastry chef, Lasantha Mendis is set to lead a team of Canadian bakers at the Festival International du Pain 2019 — taking place in Tunisia from February 17 to 23 — where the team will compete alongside chefs from 15 other countries. This is the first time that a Canadian team has participated in the international competition, which is now celebrating its fourth year.
Mendis is the lead baker at Mount Logan Lodge in Northern Alberta — a joint venture between Mikisew Group of Companies and Sodexo Canada, which is operated by Birch River Site Services. He began his culinary career more than 20 years ago in Sri-Lanka as a food runner and went on to work in Dubai, Qatar before relocating to Alberta.
Mendis and the rest of the Canadian team was selected by the Culinary Federation (formerly the Canadian Federation of Chefs & Cooks) for their proven pastry and culinary skills.
“We’re extremely proud of chef Mendis and have enjoyed the privilege of savouring his pastries and desserts for years. We know that his creations will impress the international panel of judges,” says Linsey Sirett, district manager, Sodexo.
During the Festival International du Pain competition, each day the must create and provide judges with each of the following items, using a different dough recipe for each:
- A warm meal where bread is used as the main ingredient
- A national traditional bread representing the chef’s country of origin
- A sweet bread made from sweetened and enriched dough
- A fermented-dough product with jam or a preserve
- A black-box bread using ingredients from different authentic Tunisian products
- A freestyle tabouna (a traditional Tunisian bread), where bakers will show their skills and creativity to make and bake their own breads in the tabouna clay oven