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

October 15, 2008


  • Competition, which is organized by Barry Callebaut, will take place at the French Culinary Institute in New York on Nov. 9; awards ceremony to follow at The Chocolate Show
  • World-renowned chocolatier Jacques Torres and others to judge competition
Chicago, Oct. 15, 2008 – Barry Callebaut – the world’s leading manufacturer of high-quality cocoa and chocolate products – today announced that five pastry chefs and chocolatiers from some of the country’s leading hotels and restaurants will compete in the U.S. finals of the World Chocolate Masters, a top level competition for chocolate craftsmen from all over the world.
The event, which will be heldat theFrench Culinary Institute in New York on Nov. 9, is designed to offer chocolate artisans and pastry chefs a forum to showcase their skills in designing chocolate sculptures and showpieces as well as creating chocolate pastries, pralines and desserts. This year’s competitors include:
  • Lionel Clement, chef chocolatier at the Wynn Hotel in Las Vegas. A graduate of the professional school “Les Sorbets” in Noirmoutier Island, France, Clement spent five years at Lenôtre in Paris as a chocolate maker.  He won first prize at the competition on artistic pieces in Montargis, France, in March 2004, and received his honors diploma at the Académie Culinaire de France in April 2004.
  • Regis Courivaud, executive chef and executive pastry chef at Le Monde restaurant in New York. Courivaud studied at the Lycee Turgot in Limoges, France, and has also worked at the Jules Bistro in New York. He currently holds the Guinness World Record for the tallest sugar sculpture ever created. He won the gold medal in the Food Network’s “Fire and Ice” challenge and silver and bronze medals at the United States Pastry Competition in New York.
  • 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.
  • James Gallo, executive pastry chef at the Brown Palace Hotel in Denver. A graduate of the Academy of Culinary Arts in Mays Landing, N.J., Gallo has also worked at Trump Taj Mahal in Atlantic City, N.J., the Hilton at Short Hills, N.J., and the Jefferson Hotel in Richmond, Va. He is a two-time national finalist for the U.S. Pastry Competition and has been a guest demonstrator for the Pinehurst Country Club Annual Wine Festival.
  • Jove Hubbard, executive pastry chef at David Burke’s Primehouse at the James Hotel in Chicago. Hubbard studied baking and pastry at the California Culinary Academy in San Francisco, completed an internship at the French Pastry School in Chicago and an apprenticeship at the American Culinary Federation in Little Rock, Ark. 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 won first place last year at the Georges Duboef Let Them Eat Cake Competition in Chicago.
Contestants to Design Haute Couture with Premium Gourmet Chocolate
As part of the U.S. finals competition, each participant must create a large chocolate showpiece that conveys this year’s theme – “Haute Couture” – using professional gourmet chocolate brands Callebaut, Cacao Barry, and Carma and the aesthetics of high fashion. In addition, they must create a chocolate pastry and two types of pralines.  During the contest, participants also will receive a “mystery box” containing special ingredients and specifications for creating a small chocolate showpiece.
A professional jury will judge all creations on their presentation, taste and technical application. This year’s jury includes:
  • Jacques Torres, chocolate executive officer of Jacques Torres Chocolates, former executive pastry chef at Le Cirque in New York, and dean of pastry arts at The French Culinary Institute
  • Johnny Iuzzini, executive pastry chef of Jean-Georges Vongerichten’s restaurant Jean-Georges and author of the upcoming cookbook “Dessert FourPlay”
  • Elizabeth Katz, corporate executive pastry chef for B.R. Guest Restaurants
  • Pascal Janvier, owner of the patisserie and chocolaterie Fleur de Cocoa in Los Gatos, Calif. 
  • Robert Bennett, executive pastry chef for AHB Foods/The Classic Cake in Cherry Hill, N.J.
The winner of the U.S. finals of the World Chocolate Masters will be named “U.S. National Chocolate Master 2009” and will represent the United States at the World Chocolate Masters competition in Paris, where he will compete against representatives from 19 other countries, including Belgium, France, Switzerland, China, Australia and Brazil. The World Chocolate Masters competition will take place Oct. 14-16, 2009, in Paris at the Salon Du Chocolat Professionnel.
Barry Callebaut:
With annual sales of more than CHF 4 billion (approximately USD 3.6 billion) for fiscal year 2006/2007, 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 25 countries, operates about 40 production facilities and employs approximately 7,500 people. The company serves the entire food industry, from food manufacturers to professional users of chocolate to global retailers. The company’s Callebaut, Cacao Barry and Carma products are specifically designed to meet the special needs of artisan customers, including bakers, pastry chefs, hotels, restaurants and caterers. Barry Callebaut also provides a comprehensive range of services in the fields of product development, processing, training and marketing.
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