From Petaluma to Paris, the Giustos Lead Team USA to the 2016 Coupe Du Monde De La Boulangerie
Keith is an enthralling storyteller and a favorite topic is his nephew Nicky. A very proud uncle, Keith says he was particularly impressed and moved by how hard Nicky worked on probably the world’s toughest stage for a baker.
After many grueling competitions , Nicky was named the captain of Team USA for the 2016 Coupe du Monde de la Boulangerie that took place in Paris, France, this past February. The Coupe du Monde de la Boulangerie is often referred to as the World Cup or Olympics of bread baking. When Christian Vabret of the Ecole Frangaise de Boulangerie d’Aurillac founded the competition in 1992, he had several stated goals including the honoring of the art and craft of artisan baking, the sharing of technical skills and the promoting of the appreciation of traditional regional artisan breads.
The competition is held every three to four years and features teams from 12 countries competing for gold, silver and bronze medals. The previous Coupe du Monde’s top three teams are invited back to participate in the next event and other countries compete for the remaining nine slots through regional qualifying competitions.
Each team is made up of three members, each one specializing in one of the following categories: Baguette and Specialty Breads, Artistic Design and Viennoiserie. Viennoiserie is a category of pastry that includes croissants, pain au chocolat and brioche. In addition to captaining the team, Nicky baked the Baguette and Specialty Breads category for Team USA. He was following in the footsteps of prior winners and renowned local bakers Craig Ponsford (1996) and Mike “The Bejkr” Zakowski (2012), whose approaches to bread making are also focused on high-quality grains and milling techniques as well as high nutritional value and rich flavors.
Nicky honored the tradition of family by “baking” his wife’s family story in to his entry for the” Exceptional Bread” category. He named his bread The Migration . As he described it, “ My wife and her family were the inspiration forth is bread. The paternal side of my wife’s family migrated to Paris from Tunis, Tunisia, shortly after the Six Day War in 1967 ... they were able to fully integrate in to French society, while maintaining their cultural heritage. The exploration of this history brought to light the flavors of the country and inspired the morphing of the shapes.”
The Migration contains whole khorasan wheat, apricot and cardamom. According to Nicky, “ Both sweet and savory, this bread combines classic flavors that are distinctly North African ... The shape tells the story of this bread. The unique aroma and flavor are two components ... the third is the unique shape. The boule (round and rustic) and pointed batard (a more elevated traditional French bread shape) are combined to tell a story—the transition from one culture to another.”
Team USA came in fifth among the elite cadre of some of the best bakers in the world, but Nicky’s students and customers have been awarded gold, as the recipients of all of the wisdom and experience that Nicky now shares from the years of hard work it took to get there.