As published in www.stuff.co.nz on 3 August 2015.
A cake that pushes the laws of gravity has won gold for an Auckland pastry chef.
Ganesh Khedekar picked up gold medals for his petit fours and celebration cake at the NZChefs National Salon held at Auckland's ASB Showgrounds from July 30 to August 2.
The Mt Wellington resident is a pastry chef tutor at NZMA in Sylvia Park and says his success comes from constantly inventing new flavours and techniques.
"It's about the moments that raise the judges' eyebrows for me, I really like to surprise them with my creations," Khedekar says.
For the decorative cake category, Khedekar created a three-tiered mud, red velvet and vanilla sponge cake. Each layer is cantilevered out over the next.
"I went with an autumn theme and hand-painted the whole cake myself. I also sculpted the tree on top from solid chocolate," he says. In 2013 Khedekar won the decorative cake category at the salon with a 50kg Terminator mannequin cake that included moving cogs made of chocolate.
He was nearly disqualified as the judges did not believe the Terminator was made out of cake until Khedekar cut them a slice. A fan of author JRR Tolkien, Khedekar used the author's works as inspiration for the petit four competition.
While most chefs just focus on creating individual chocolates, Khedekar went one step further by sculpting a Hobbit-themed display piece.
Khedekar spent more than 40 hours sculpting the five-foot tall installation complete with a four-armed crossbow, dragon's spine and Gandalf's pipe.
"I made all the moulds myself and everything is solid chocolate. All up it weighs at least 20kg."
The petit fours were served on handmade chocolate swords instead of plates.
Khedekar also competed in the live dessert event, where he had one hour to make four portions of his dessert recipe in front of a live audience.
His dish included smoked milk chocolate and white chocolate eggs filled with black garlic icecream.
Khedekar's next goal is to sculpt a life-sized mannequin out of chocolate.