G&M 2016: 'Pastry Chef of the Year'

Anna Polyviou, Shangri-La Hotel, Sydney

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Being a pastry chef is perhaps the most enviable position in the kitchen, as these artisans dedicate their time to creating the mouth-watering array of breads, pastries, cakes and other baked goods that round off an excellent restaurant meal. However, to rise up the ranks to become one of Australia’s pre-eminent pastry chefs takes years of study, practice and patience, with plenty of hard work behind the scenes. Top pastry chefs devote innumerable hours to their search for culinary perfection, balancing often-delicate flavours and textures in decadent desserts to die for. With the Apromo Trading 2016 Pastry Chef of the Year Award, Gault&Millau Australia acknowledges the pastry chefs who have mastered the precision and knowledge required to produce desserts of distinction.

Melbourne-born Anna Polyviou’s wicked sense of fun and her love for breaking culinary rules have taken her pastry-making skills to a whole new level, and she is now the driving force behind the revolution in hotel patisseries around Australia. Her résumé is outstanding – she has been employed at Claridge’s hotel in London and Pierre Hermé in Paris, and she is now the Executive Pastry Chef at the Shangri-La Hotel, Sydney. Along the way, she has worked with many of the world’s renowned pastry chefs, including Kathryn Boyden and Julie Sharp. Add to this experience numerous awards for her amazing ability and clever concoctions, and it is easy to see why Anna stands out from the crowd when it comes to Australian pastry chefs. It’s not just Anna’s creations that people are going wild for, but also her successful sell-out events, such as the dessert degustations that are held in her pastry kitchen. She organised Sweet Street 2016, Australia’s biggest dessert festival, and has even constructed a walk-in gingerbread house! Anna is regularly seen on television, especially on MasterChef Australia, and she has a much-anticipated cookbook coming out in 2017. With her larger-than-life personality, Anna’s dedication to pastry is supported by her raw talent – so she was the prime candidate for the Apromo Trading 2016 Pastry Chef of the Year Award.