The United States will be represented by two bakers at the prestigious 2018 Masters de la Boulangerie competition, which is scheduled to take place February 3-6, during the 2018 Europain show in Paris, France.

The global competition pits 18 bakers from around the world for an elite showcase of baking expertise, challenging their creativity, innovation, and technical prowess. The candidates will be competing in one of three specialties: nutritional bread making, gourmet baking, and artistic bread making.

Team USA’s representatives are Jeffrey DeLeon and Jacob Baggenstos. DeLeon is the group pastry chef for Farmshop in Santa Monica, California, and will be competing in the gourmet baking specialty. Baggenstos is the pastry chef at Bakery Nouveau in Seattle, Washington, and will be competing in artistic bread making.

The Masters de la Boulangerie will take place over an intense three days, as competitors look to become the World Master Baker. Currently, only six bakers in the world hold this title.

Attendees can meet the candidates in Paris as part of the Europain show, which will take place in the Parc des Expositions at Paris Nord Villepinte.

Launched in 2010, the Masters de la Boulangerie, a global competition for individuals, is part of a four-year international competition cycle: Louis Lesaffre Cup, Coupe du Monde de la Boulangerie and Masters de la Boulangerie.

In all, 18 candidates will take risks in pursuit of the World Master Baker title in their specialty. Among them, 12 have been selected based on the best scores obtained as individuals during the two previous competitions, and six have been selected for their promising potential.

Coupe du Monde de la Boulangerie

Looking ahead, the Bread Bakers Guild of America is officially beginning the selection process for Bread Bakers Guild Team USA. This team will compete in the Coupe Louis Lesaffre regional qualifier in 2019 and, if selected, subsequently will compete in the 2020 Coupe du Monde de la Boulangerie in Paris.

Bread Bakers Guild Team USA will consist of three team members and three alternates for each category: baguette & breads of the world, viennoiserie & savory bakery, and artistic creation. For more information, please email Cathy Wayne at

This year, the Guild-sponsored US team of candidate Louis Volle and commis Lucas Monahan (and coached by Mitch Stamm) will compete at the Mondial du Pain on Tuesday, October 24. Teams from eight other countries will also compete on that day.

The Mondial du Pain is similar to the Coupe du Monde in that the team is required to present a variety of bread and viennoiserie, as well a showpiece within an 8-hour time frame. However, it differs in that the team for the Mondial du Pain is comprised of only one lead baker candidate and a commis (assistant), as opposed to a three-person team. 

The candidate must perform all categories with the support of the commis during the competition. The commis does not work separately from the lead baker as an independent competitor.The batch sizes are smaller in the Mondial du Pain than in the Coupe du Monde, but the number of different products is similar. Another major difference is that the showpiece is smaller and is not made during the actual competition. It is made in advance close to the competition date and then transported to the competition.

After the baking is completed, there are an extra 30 minutes at the end of the competition, in which the teams assemble the finished piece.

Like the Coupe du Monde, preparing for the Mondial du Pain requires a tremendous amount of dedication, commitment and hard work. It is also an incredible learning experience in which the competitors learn and grow in the craft.

WheatStalk 2018

Providence, Rhode Island, will be the host of one of the biggest events in American artisan baking next year, as WheatStalk 2018 takes place February 27-March 1, 2018 at Johnson & Wales University’s Providence campus. This members-only event for members of the Bread Bakers Guild of America assembles the best and brightest minds of artisan baking in one place for three days of lectures, demos, hands-on classes, and baking conversation.

Notable names who will be instructors at WheatStalk 2018 include Joanne Chang of Flour Bakery + Café, Rachel Crampsey of Montclair Bread Company, Scott France of Macrina Bakery, Zachery Golper of Bien Cuit, Tim Huff of General Mills Bakeries & Foodservice, and Stephen Jones of Washington State.