“I want to give a big thank you to my wife”
For its second annual L’Art du Chocolatier Challenge 2012, sponsored by Cacao Barry and Chicago’s Chocolate Academy, a few changes were made to make it better, said Alexandra Urbe, Cacao Barry’s brand manager for the Americas. But one thing remained the same: “Our strong passion for this industry.”
The all-chocolate competition, held in Chicago at the state-of-the-art academy May 4-6 with prize money totalling $15,000, encouraged creativity from the seven finalists chosen from among 37 submissions nationwide. During the three-day event, contestants created an original chocolate pastry, chocolate tablet and tabletop showpiece. The morning of the final round, they submitted two finished gateaux de voyage and two containers of spreadable paste.
So how did the contestants do? “We were impressed,” said Jerome Landrieu, Cacao Barry Technical Advisor and Director of the Barry Callebaut Chocolate Academy. “They brought the competition to the next level.”
And he wasn’t the only one who thought so. The panel of eight judges, made up of renowned pastry chefs from around the world (Ramon Morató, Christophe Morel, Dimitri Fayard, Jonathan Garnier, Patrick Fahy, Sarah Kosikowski, Landrieu), were equally impressed. “Everyone did an amazing job,” said Kosikowski. “It was a pleasure judging and inspired all of us.”
In the end the title of Chocolatier of the Year 2012 went to Simon Bregardis, Assistant Executive Pastry Chef at the Bellagio Hotel & Resort in Las Vegas, who also took home awards for Best Workmanship and Best Showpiece.
Second place went to Florent Cheveau, Pastry Chef at Jean Philippe Patisserie, Las Vegas, who also received Best Tasting.
Third place was awarded to Russ Thayer, Assistant Pastry Chef of PreGel America.
Winner Bregardis admitted the last few months were very stressful, but that didn’t mean he wasn’t aware of the challenges the competition brought to those around him. Said Bregardis, “I want to give a big thank you to my wife.”