14 November 2023

Frenchman wins Griffith Open tennis titles and dessert challenge in a cakewalk

| Oliver Jacques
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tennis court cake superimposed on image of man and woman holding tennis racquets

Jasveen Kaur and Xavier Boucher won the B-grade mixed doubles titles, while most focused on his court cake (inset). Photo: Oliver Jacques.

A moonlighting French chef has dominated the 2023 Griffith Tennis Club championships, winning both the B-grade men’s and mixed doubles titles.

But his on-court achievements have been overshadowed by a spectacular clay-court replica triple-chocolate mousse cake he baked for other club members.

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The most intriguing battle of Griffith’s tennis season has been an ongoing dessert bake-off between French citrus farmer Xavier Boucher, 29, and club stalwart Robyn Meehan, 66.

“Two years ago, Robyn started a contest during the Wednesday night tennis competition when she brought in an angel cake,” Mr Boucher said. “It was delicious, and that started the challenge for me.”

Ms Meehan conceded defeat in October this year when the Frenchman managed to re-create the club’s playing arena and equipment with a chocolate extravaganza. He explained how he made it.

Court cake

Xavier Boucher’s clay-court chocolate cake overshadowed the tennis. Photo: Supplied.

”The lines of the tennis court and balls are what we call white plastic chocolate, and for the balls, I added yellow food colouring. The net, fence and racquets are chocolate I drew using designs from the internet, a chocolate pen and transparent baking paper. The clay is biscotti, and I used edible paint to replicate the colour of Griffith’s courts. The inside of the cake is three types of chocolate mousse: dark, milk and white.”

Other players had been wowed by Ms Meehan’s passionfruit sponge cake this previous week, but the court cake took things to the next level.

“I offer no comparison for what he makes. I’m not game to bake anymore,” Ms Meehan said.

sponge cake with fruit on it

Robyn Meehan’s cakes were worthy runners-up. Photo: Supplied.

Mr Boucher, who grew up in Vienne in southern France, has no formal training as a pastry chef. But every week, he brings a different sweet to the club for others to enjoy, including macarons and profiteroles.

“I was just taught by my mother, but I’ve refined my skills here. We miss our French patisseries here in Australia and we like to share.”

On the court, he teamed up with provisional psychologist Jasveen Kaur to comfortably win the B-grade mixed doubles. The victory was tinged with controversy, with opponents suggesting the talented duo were having their cake and eating it too by playing in a division too low.

“Not true. We had some close matches and there were some other very good players in our grade,” the Frenchman said.

Ms Kaur said: “I don’t think I’m at the A-grade level as yet.”

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The top division of mixed doubles was won by physiotherapist Megan Polkinghorne and teacher Lachlan Date, who both picked up their second titles of the evening.

Ms Polkinghorne also won the A-grade ladies’ doubles title with coach Cheryl Rawle, while Mr Date was the men’s A-grade doubles champion with accountant Brendon Augustus.

“The old boys Noady [Andrew Noad] and Bernard Gray had an off day and we were able to polish them off,” Mr Augustus said.

Lachlan Date and Brendan Augustus holding tennis racquets

Lachlan Date and Brendon Augustus won the A-grade men’s doubles. Photo: Robyn Meehan.

The B-grade ladies’ doubles was won by Olivia Salvestro and Ellen Matheson.

All the above-mentioned players will now have their names engraved on the club’s honour board.

The annual Griffith Tennis Club championship is held every year in October or November. It’s organised by club committee members Danny Dossetor, Robyn Meehan and Matt Hockings.

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