Nielsen-Massey Vanillas products were used by three top chefs to create the winning entry in the 2011 National Pastry Team Championship. The prestigious biennial contest was held in Phoenix, Ariz. and featured twelve of the country’s top pastry chefs. In addition to winning the top award, the Nielsen-Massey sponsored team won the degustation award, which acknowledges outstanding taste.

The winning team was led by veteran chef Donald Wressell, who was named “Pastry Chef of the Year” by the Organizing Committee of the 2005 National Pastry Team Championship. He also guided the U.S. team to its first gold medal at the World Cup of Pastry in 2001 and has received honors from the White House for his work with the U.S. Pastry Team. Scott Green and Joshua Johnson rounded out the top team. They are both instructors at The French Pastry School in Chicago.

The theme of this year’s contest was “Your Favorite Book.” During the two-day competition, each team was asked to incorporate the theme into eight categories, including sugar showpiece, chocolate showpiece and three types of petits gateaux.

The winning pastries were crafted with Nielsen-Massey Vanillas products including Madagascar, Tahitian and Mexican vanilla beans.

The winning team is moving on to represent the U.S. in next year’s World Pastry Team Championship.

Nielsen-Massey has sponsored a National Pastry Team for the past 11 years. Several of those teams have won a medal, and two teams have won the competition and moved on to the World Pastry Team Championship with one team winning the World Championship.