Chat with a champ… Gerry Zhang, Meadow Fresh NZ Latte Art Champion 2014

Congratulations to Gerry Zhang, our Meadow Fresh NZ Latte Art Champion 2014. Gerry competed at the World Latte Art Championship 15-18 May 2014 in Melbourne, Australia. Ranking 8th!
The World Latte Art Championship highlights artistic expression in a competition platform that challenges the barista in an on-demand performance.
For the preliminary round of the championship, baristas produce a single creative latte pattern at the Art Bar, then move to the WLAC stage to create two identical free-pour lattes and two identical designer lattes. Scores from the Art Bar and Stage are combined, and the top 6 competitors qualify for the final round, where they are asked to create two identical free-pour macchiato, two identical free-pour lattes, and two identical designer patterned lattes. The top-scoring competitor in the final round is declared the World Latte Art Champion.
Baristas are judged based on visual attributes, creativity, identical patterns in the pairs, contrast in patterns, and overall performance.
World Latte Art Championship 2014 Results
Champion: Christian Ullrich, Germany 2nd: Chiara Bergonzi, Italy
 3rd: Edit Juhasz, Hungary 
4th: Rie Moustakas, Australia
 5th: Seijivus Matiejunas, Ireland 
6th: Ryan Tan, Singapore
The World Latte Art Champion was awarded a trip to the World of Coffee in Rimini, Italy, and trip to Sumatra for DC Campus by Dalla Corte. They also won a Mahlkoenig Vario Grinder and a trip to China courtesy of Jas Bleu Coffee Expert.
View a full list on rankings here>
You won the NZ Championship back in 2012, competed last year and ranked 3rd. How did if feel, taking the NZ title again in 2014?
Definitely feeling awesome!! I practiced long time for the competition; I knew it was hard to get the title back but I really wanted to try.
Did you feel fully prepared for what the competition would be like at the worlds given that this was your second time competing at a world level?
I did prepare a lot this year, but still feeling not enough. I kept changing my art bar till the night before competition.
Tell us about your art bar cup. What inspired you and why did you choose your design?
Family – my art bar cup was a bird feeding her babies.  Family is the most important thing in my life. I realized lots of things after I became a father. I started understanding my parents. Parents are always doing their best for their child. For me, babies were devils before, but now babies are angles. I love my family, harmonious, happy, warm and sweet.
What was the most memorable thing that happened?
Actually there were a lot memorable things during this trip. My daughter took my milk jug and taught me how to do latte art…etc
What was the best thing to come out of your experience in terms of professional development?
I learned a lot from those coffee professionals. I not only learned more latte art, but also I know more about the coffee.
What would you do differently next time?
More creative!! Latte art always need something new!! And I need some more fancy equipment.
Has the experienced encouraged you to compete again, are you going to defend your title again next year?
I’m not sure. If I can create some nice patterns, I am sure I will.
The World Latte Art Championship is in Sweden next year, do you have any feedback on how we might work towards getting a kiwi World Champion?
It would be awesome if there was a NZ LATTE ART TEAM to support the competitor. Like Japan and Korea, they group the latte art professionals to think and create new ideas.
The after party is traditionally when all the baristas get together and let their hair down. How was the Melbourne after party?
I wish I did enjoy the party, but actually I didn’t go to the party this time. I had good time with my family…
You had a little bit of personal time around Melbourne what was the coolest thing you did?
Almost all my personal time was about my daughter. My wife and I took her to the zoo, sea life, and different kinds of museums. We tried deferent kinds of food and coffee. It took me half day to find a nice apron; hopefully I can use it for the next championship.
Photo Credit: Michael C Y Park, all rights reserved