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Seven leading pastry chefs and chocolatiers selected to compete in U.S. finals of the World Chocolate Masters competition

August 05, 2010


World Chocolate Masters website

  • Competition, which is organized by Barry Callebaut, will take place at the International Baking Industry Exposition in Las Vegas on Sept. 27-28
  • Participants represent top hotels, restaurants and culinary institutions from across the country 

Barry Callebautthe world’s leading manufacturer of high-quality cocoa and chocolate products – today announced that seven of the country’s leading pastry chefs and chocolatiers have been selected to compete in the U.S. selections for the World Chocolate Masters – one of the most elite competitions for chocolate craftsmen from all over the world.   

The event, which will take place September 27 and 28 during the International Baking Industry Exposition in Las Vegas, is designed to offer chocolate artisans and pastry chefs a forum to showcase their skills in designing chocolate showpieces, as well as creating chocolate pastries, pralines and desserts. 

The winner of the U.S. selections competition will advance to the 2011 World Chocolate Masters in Paris, where he or she will compete against culinary artisans from approximately 20 other countries.

This year’s competitors for the U.S. selections for the World Chocolate Masters include:

  • Sylvain Bortolini, assistant executive pastry chef at Bellagio Las Vegas. Prior to joining the Bellagioresort, Bortolini worked as a pastry chef at the Fontainebleau Miami Beach resort in Florida and the InterContinental Presidente hotel in Mexico City.  In 2007, he won the Mexican Pastry Championship for his sugar work and chocolate sculpture.  Bortolini has also served as pastry chef for two star Michelin-rated restaurants and gourmet chocolate shops in France. He studied at the Association Ouvriéres Des Compagnons Du Tour De France in Bordeaux, France.
  •  Stephen Durfee, pastry chef instructor at the Culinary Institute of America at Greystone in St. Helena, Calif. Durfee’s professional experience includes working at the French Laundry restaurant in Yountville, Calif., the Wheatleigh Hotel in Lenox, Mass., and the Alison on Dominick Street restaurant in New York. He placed third in the National Pastry Team Championships in 2007. In 1998, he received the James Beard Foundation award for outstanding pastry chef.
  • Naomi Gallego, executive pastry chef at the Fairmont Hotel in Pittsburgh. Gallego earned a degree in culinary arts management from St. Philips College in San Antonio, and also holds a master pastry diploma from the prestigious Konditormeisterschule in Cologne, Germany. Prior to joining the Fairmont Hotel in Pittsburgh, she held the position of executive pastry chef at the Four Seasons Hotel in Austin, Texas. She has also worked at Vidalia Restaurant and PS7’s Restaurant in Washington, D.C. Gallego has competed on two “Food Network Challenge” television programs and was named “Pastry Chef of the Year” by Washington, D.C.’s Modern Luxury magazine in 2007. 
  • Jove Hubbard, executive pastry chef at the James Hotel in Chicago. Hubbard is responsible for the whimsical and creative desserts at David Burke’s Primehouse restaurant located in the hotel. He has also worked as an executive pastry chef at The Peabody hotels in Little Rock and Memphis, Tenn., and at the Windsor Court Hotel in New Orleans. Hubbard studied baking and pastry at the California Culinary Academy in San Francisco and completed an internship at the French Pastry School in Chicago. He has also competed as a finalist on the “Food Network Challenge: Chocolate Masterpieces” television program.
  • Frederic Loraschi, chocolatier and owner of Chocolat Frederic Loraschi LLC in Hummelstown, Pa. Loraschi opened his own gourmet chocolate company near Harrisburg, Pa., five years ago, supplying handcrafted chocolate confections to restaurants, hotels, catering companies and other luxury venues across the country. Prior to that endeavour, he was executive pastry chef at the Hotel Hershey in Pennsylvania and pastry chef at the Ritz-Carlton hotels in Boston and Dana Point, Calif. He studied at the Lycee Hotelier Quercy-Perigord in Souillac, France, and has been featured on Food Network’s “Unwrapped” television program.
  • Richard Ruskell, executive pastry chef at the Montage Beverly Hills hotel in California. A graduate of The French Culinary Institute in New York, Ruskell has been called “one of the top 10 pastry chefs in America” by Chocolatier magazine. Prior to joining the Montage Beverly Hills, he was a pastry chef at the Montage resort in Laguna Beach, Calif., and The Phoenician in Scottsdale, Ariz. He has taught at the New England Culinary Institute and has made numerous appearances on the Food Network. In fact, Ruskell is one win shy of holding the record for the most wins on the “Food Network Challenge” television series.
  • Orlando Santos, pastry chef at The Duquesne Club in Pittsburgh. Santos graduated from Johnson & Wales University in North Miami, Fla., and attended the French Pastry School in Chicago. Prior to joining The Duquesne Club, he served as executive pastry chef at Vince & Joe’s Gourmet Market in Shelby Township, Mich. Santos has also held pastry positions at Cherokee Town & Country Club in Atlanta and the Renaissance Atlanta Waverly Hotel. In 2004, he won first place in the wedding cake category at the Southern Pastry Classic

As part of the U.S. selections for the World Chocolate Masters competition that will take place in September, each participant must create a large chocolate showpiece that conveys this year’s theme – “Cocoa, Quetzalcoatl’s Gift” – using professional gourmet chocolate brands Callebaut, Cacao Barry, and Carma

The Aztecs believed that it was the god Quetzalcoatl who created cocoa as a divine gift to relieve fatigue and provide pleasurable rest. The showpieces that will be designed by contestants during the competition will be inspired by the mystery surrounding the discovery of cocoa in the South American rain forest and the legends surrounding the gift of Quetzalcoatl to its peoples.

In addition to the showpiece, contestants must create a chocolate pastry, two types of pralines, and a plated dessert.  

The winner of the competition will be named “U.S. National Chocolate Master” and will go on to compete against chefs from approximately 20 other countries, including Belgium, France, Switzerland, China, Australia and Brazil, at the 2011 World Chocolate Masters in Paris. 

About the U.S. Selections for the World Chocolate Masters

  •  What: Seven of the country’s leading pastry chefs and chocolatiers will compete for the title of U.S. National Chocolate Master and the opportunity to represent the United States at the 2011 World Chocolate Masters competition in Paris 
  • When: Sept. 27-28, 2010
  • Where: International Baking Industry Exposition at the Las Vegas Convention Center

Media interested in attending the competition should contact Nikki Lopez at 214-379-3707.


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About Barry Callebaut:

With annual sales of about CHF 4.9 billion for fiscal year 2008/09, Zurich-based Barry Callebaut is the world’s leading manufacturer of high-quality cocoa and chocolate – from the cocoa bean to the finished product on the store shelf. Barry Callebaut is present in 26 countries, operates more than 40 production facilities and employs about 7,500 people. The company serves the entire food industry, from food manufacturers to professional users of chocolate (such as chocolatiers, pastry chefs or bakers), to global retailers. Barry Callebaut is the global leader in cocoa and chocolate innovations and provides a comprehensive range of services in the fields of product development, processing, training and marketing. The company is actively engaged in initiatives and projects that contribute to a more sustainable cocoa supply chain. 


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Contacts for the media:

Nikki Lopez

Kyle Rose

MM2 Public Relations

MM2 Public Relations

(214) 379-3707 direct

(214) 379-3704 direct