VISITORS to HOFEX 95 will be able to watch some of the world's most creative chefs turn vegetables, butter and ice into art form at the first event of its kind to be held in Hong Kong. Chefs will wield their utensils at the Asian Culinary Showpieces Competition at the Convention and Exhibition Centre. Bakers will display cakes, pastries and biscuits in their own competition. There will be three events: ice carving, butter sculpture and vegetable carving. The ice and vegetable-carving competitions will be live demonstrations of chefs' skills, while pre-made butter sculptures will be on display for judges and visitors to inspect. There will be separate categories in the three events, with medals and certificates going to the winners of each. The top six entries in the ice-carving section will be eligible for an additional round of competition for the 'Best of the Best' trophy. A spokesman for Hong Kong Exhibition Services said the competition was set up to complement the versatility of chefs. It is supported by the Hong Kong Chefs' Association, whose president, Fritz Gross, said: 'The competition will help to highlight Hong Kong as the culinary artistic centre of Asia.' A seven-member judging panel of culinary experts comprises Dieter Roesch, Alois Bokhorst, Kurt Pozzato, Richard Yung, Patrick Lee, Nigel Davis and Mark Hellbach. The Asian Bakery Awards and Conference will be staged alongside HOFEX 95. The awards have been extended to include an 'apprentice category' for bakers or students with less than one year's practical experience. The conference and competition organisers, the Hong Kong Bakery and Confectionary Association, hope the new award will encourage young chefs to compete against other apprentices. The introduction of the 'apprentice category' has been welcomed by the chefs' association, which helps to train talent to represent the territory at competitions worldwide. The two existing categories will be for individual and team events. Participating chefs will make a selection of pastries and desserts. In the junior event, there will be sections for fancy cakes, desserts and bread. Each four-member team will be asked to create a window display consisting of a wedding cake, confectionary, petit fours, a chocolate carving, a pastry or bakery showpiece and a dessert. Individual competitors will be required to make a similar line of cakes.