Pontypool teacher wows judges at US sugarcraft competition
6:02am Tuesday 15th October 2013 in News
A VALLEYS teacher has once again wowed the judges of an international craft fair in the USA with his creations from sugar.
When Justin Lynch, 32, from Abertillery, isn't teaching independent living students at Coleg Gwent in Pontypool, or studying for a degree in education at Caerleon, he painstakingly models flowers and decorates cakes to look like elephants, dogs or even dragons.
It all started in 2008 when he was fundraising with a colleague for the British Heart Foundation, and he "made a few cakes", he said.
After his success at last year's Oklahoma State Sugar Art Show, held in Tulsa, Mr Lynch progressed to the semi-professional category at this year's competition, and next year will compete with full professionals.
"This year I took my inspiration from Alan Dunn, a world sugar flower expert based in Newcastle," explained Mr Lynch, who learned how to create a bust out of chocolate at this year's competition after taking part in a specialist workshop.
"I think he's one of the best and I really enjoy his work. I went semi-pro this year and competed in the specialist techniques on a cake category, winning best non-professional in show for the second year running, best in category and best in division.
"You always think, 'what can you do to out-do what you've made' but it's about having feedback from the judges, it's not about size, it's about quality," he said. "You look at what's there and suss out the competition. I may use the chocolate skills at next year's competition."
Mr Lynch said he'd like to personally thank the organisers of the competition, which is now in its 20th year, for the $1,255 prize money and around $600-worth of goodies given to the winners.
"I had to buy another bag to come back home and even shipped some things over," said Mr Lynch. "The organiser Kerry Vincent works so hard and it gives everybody a great opportunity."
Although Mr Lynch said he loves his job teaching at Coleg Gwent, he hasn't ruled out the possibility that he may one day move to America to take up sugarcraft professionally.
"If I was ever offered the right opportunity I would jump at it," he said. "I would love to work in the States at a bakery. Maybe one day, but education is first."
Last year a spectacular red dragon cake, created by Mr Lynch, was photographed for a 2013 charity calendar called ‘Cakers for a Cause’ on sale in the USA to raise money for Icing Smiles, a charity helping terminally-ill children.
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