Accountant by profession but pastry chef by vocation, Cholys Guillén has just returned from Rome where she has won the gold award at the Italy International Cake Show, one of the most prestigious baking competitions in the world.
Just seven years ago, Cholys started cake-making as a hobby; now she is a celebrity in Estepona thanks to her chocolate creation that has triumphed in Italy.
Cholys won over the jury with her piece that represents an allegorical figure from Italian opera. The small delicate figure wears Venetian costume and carries a carnival mask and the originality and skill of the creation won the highest recognition from the judges.
A figure of this type, with such a high level of detail, hides a number of hours of painstaking work. "This has taken about a month and a half to finish, with about four hours a day in the afternoons, when I have time. It usually takes longer with small figures than with large ones," said Cholys, who admits that she is self-taught.
A few years ago, she had her own bakery, where she made classic cakes. A birthday gift from her daughter, a course in pastry-making, was the beginning of everything. From there, after hours of research on the internet, she discovered the world of competition, which immediately caught her attention.
She stumbled upon a contest held in England, the Cake International Birmingham. She started working on her first figures and discovered that she was really good at it.
"The first one I made is still hanging around the house, I don't like it at all today. That was four years ago. From those beginnings you evolve. Training in this area is very expensive, so I've been teaching myself," said Cholys, who has participated in several competitions online, but went to Rome for the last one, in which she excelled, taking away the top prize.
"When I saw the gold placed next to my figure it was unbelievable. I was on cloud nine. I had already been to the one in Birmingham and I was left a bit disappointed so I made up my mind that for the next one I was going to do something really special. And I did. I've been very thorough with the work and achieving first place has made me very happy."
Since she arrived back in Estepona, everyone has been congratulating her and she even received a call from the mayor.
For those who are wondering, the figures are edible, although the truth is that no one has the nerve to bite into such a work of art.
"Every part of it is edible, except for the wooden stick in the middle that keeps it upright, the rest is chocolate and sugar paper," she explained.
The winning piece and the rest of her work can be seen on her Facebook page: cholys.guillenrequena.