A Paris baker of Sri Lankan origin said he “cried” when he heard he had won best baguette in the French capital this week and would be delivering the bread to the presidential palace.
“I cried because we are foreigners and we came here to learn how to make traditional French bread,” Tharshan Selvarajah told AFP on Thursday.
“I am very happy to have won the prize.”
Fifteen baguette connoisseurs on Wednesday selected Selvarajah’s version of the iconic French bread as the best among 175 anonymous contenders.
Members of the jury, including six ordinary Parisians, had to rate dozens of baguette on their taste, crust, crumb, air bubbles, and overall aspect.
“Don’t drink at the start or you won’t be able to make it to the end of the tasting,” Paris official Olivia Polski warned judges before they started.
A video she shared on Twitter shows her then ringing up the baker based in eastern Paris to tell him the good news.
“Noooo,” he can be heard saying on the other end of the line.
Selvarajah told AFP he always makes his long loaves “with love”, while “smiling, laughing and singing”, and the result is well-cooked, delicious and crusty.
He has won 4,000 euros (more than $4,300) and the opportunity to supply baguettes to the presidential palace.
“I’m so happy that the president will taste my bread. Just taking it to the palace is exciting,” he told AFP.
UN cultural body UNESCO awarded the baguette world heritage status in November last year.