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“Bread” Story

When it comes to bread, everyone would think about France. However, the best bread is also baked in Taiwan. For example, Wu Pao Chun won the Masters de la Boulangerie (European-style bread) championship in 2010. As a contestant, he was supposed to bake traditional European-style bread, a special type of country bread, and also make seven different varieties of bread by himself. He managed to bake 250 loaves of bread and beat twenty four competitors from seven countries, thus winning the title of the world’s champion. In addition, he won a silver medal in the Coupe Louise Lesaffre in 2008 for his millet wine/rose petal/lychee bread. His present success can be explained through his life experience that helped him achieve his goals. (I Ate One of the Best Breads in the World from Wu Pao Chun Bakery (Video)

Wu Pao Chun was born in Pingtung, a city in Southern Taiwan. He comes of an underprivileged family. There were eight children in his family, but the father died when Wu Pao Chun was twelve years old. His family did not have enough money to help him receive his education, so he had to go to Taipei in Northern Taiwan. The boy became a bread baker’s apprentice when he was 17. At that time, he used to get up at 3 o ‘clock in the morning and work until 9 o’clock in the evening every day. He began upon all kinds of odd jobs. He was not against moving iron, cutting potatoes and onions, or preparing materials. When others were going to get some rest and entertainment after work, he was the only one to stay after work to have his daily practice with the rest of small pieces of dough.

Four and a half years after, he finally became a baker not merely an apprentice. In the course of time, he became a chef of three big bakeries in Taichung. Nevertheless, along with the income increase, his consumer tastes changed as well. His taste and favorite flavors got more refined and he was ready for certain innovations. There was a period when Wu Pao Chun was at a loss because the things his teacher taught him about obtaining success did not work any longer. Besides, the market saw its decline. Until he met Fu Guang Chen, he could not consider himself a person who knew how to bake, read and experiment by himself. Two years after their meeting, he opened his bakery. Chen showed Wu what an excellent restaurant with delicious food is. He also taught him to listen to classical music and taste wine.

Chen told Wu everything about the origins of food. He took Wu to the bookstores in order to buy Japanese professional cookery books. He wanted Wu to study all kinds of food and all possible ingredients. In order to seize the point of those Japanese books, Wu even went to Japan to learn the Japanese language. Reading books, he learnt much about the effect of microbes and discovered that invisible things were able of creating wonderful flavors. He experimented with rye to make dough, but microorganism reaction was too subtle and he failed numerous times. Due to excessive or insufficient temperature, not complete bucket disinfection or other reasons, Wu had been failing in all his attempts with rye for three years. Finally, having tried everything out, he used his findings and became the world’s champion.

I admire Wu Pao Chun’s spirit. He has taught me that all things can be learnt through practice. If you try hard, you will be successful. On the contrary, success is not possible if you long for it but do not try. In addition, Wu has never stopped learning even though he had not liked to study before he graduated from junior high school. He was ready to try new things in order to achieve his goal. He even went to Japan to learn how to bake bread and implemented serious research in microbes. He had never given up, did everything for the sake of his family and got the title of the world’s champion against all the odds.

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