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L’Art du Chocolatier™ Challenge 2012: Cacao Barry® announces Simon Bregardis as Chocolatier of the Year

May 07, 2012
  • Assistant Pastry Chef from Bellagio Resort & Casino Las Vegas bested six finalists from leading U.S. establishments, in two-day competition, May 5-6, to win first place, Best Showpiece and Best Workmanship awards
  • Chef Florent Cheveau earned 2nd place, Chef Russ Thayer earned 3rd place in competition
  • More than $30,000 in cash and prizes were awarded

Chicago, May 7, 2012Cacao Barry®, the French premium chocolate brand, is proud to announce that Simon Bregardis has been named Chocolatier of the Year in its annual L’Art du Chocolatier™ Challenge, an all-chocolate, U.S. competition that encourages creativity and expertise in designing and executing original creations. Bregardis is an Assistant Pastry Chef at Bellagio Resort & Casino in Las Vegas.

“Cacao Barry created this unique competition to give pastry chefs and chocolatiers a stage to showcase their creativity and skill through the medium of chocolate,” said Alexandra Urbe, Cacao Barry® Brand Manager, Americas. “We are pleased to congratulate Chef Bregardis on earning Chocolatier of the Year.”

“I am honored to be recognized for my work and want to thank Cacao Barry for its dedication to innovation and providing chefs from around the country a wonderful opportunity to demonstrate their talent,” said Bregardis.

In a first for the competition, Bregardis not only earned the coveted title, but also won two additional awards in the competition: Best Showpiece and Best Workmanship.

“Chef Bregardis undoubtedly set a new standard for our competition,” added Urbe. “His showpiece was an impressive work of art that clearly showed his incredible talent, focus and mastery of techniques. Additionally his work was extremely consistent, precise and flawless.”

During the two-day competition on May 5 and 6, seven pastry chefs competed at the state-of-the-art Barry Callebaut Chocolate Academy in Chicago for the coveted title and chance to win $15,000 worth of prizes from Cacao Barry® and another $15,000 worth of certificates and prizes, which were generously donated by sponsors: Boiron, Demarle, Pregel, Bakon USA, Chicago School of Mold Making, Savy-Goisseau, Waring, Technobake, Tomric and Solia.

Other awards that were presented included:

  • Second place to Florent Cheveau, Pastry Chef, Jean-Philippe Pâtisserie, Las Vegas
  • Third place to Russ Thayer, Assistant Pastry Chef, PreGel America, North Carolina
  • Best Tasting to Florent Cheveau, Pastry Chef, Jean-Philippe Pâtisserie, Las Vegas

In addition to the title, Bregardis won a $4,000 cash prize, a course at the Chocolate Academy, round trip airfare to Chicago plus accommodations, a shared feature in a leading food industry publication, a signed copy of Ramon Morató’s book “Chocolate” plus $4,000 worth of gifts and certificates donated by sponsors.

Cheveau earned $6,000 worth of prizes as the second place winner as well as the Best Tasting award for his near-perfect score in taste, an uncommon accomplishment. As third place winner, Thayer earned $5,000 in prizes.

On the first day of competition, each finalist submitted two finished gâteaux de voyage and two containers of spreadable paste. Participants also had six hours to prepare their original chocolate pastry, chocolate tablets and tabletop showpiece using Cacao Barry®.

Highlights of the final day included renowned AlambiQ mixologist Freddy Diaz preparing Boiron purée-based cocktails and La Guilde Culinaire celebrity chef Jonathan Garnier preparing artisanal hors d’oeuvres using Mycryo®, Cacao Barry’s unique powder form cocoa butter.

The panel of globally renowned pastry chefs who evaluated the chocolate creations included:

  • Ramon Morató, Cacao Barry® Technical Advisor & Director, Barry Callebaut Chocolate Academy, Spain
  • Christophe Morel, Master Chocolatier & Pastry Chef, Christophe Morel Chocolatier and Cacao Barry® Ambassador, Canada
  • Dimitri Fayard, Pastry Chef Instructor, The French Pastry School, Chicago
  • Jonathan Garnier, Chef & Co-Owner, La Guilde Culinaire and Mycryo® Ambassador, Canada
  • Sarah Kosikowski, Executive Pastry Chef, Trump International Hotel & Tower, Chicago
  • Patrick Fahy, Executive Pastry Chef, The Sofitel, Chicago and Cacao Barry® Ambassador
  • Jerome Landrieu, Cacao Barry® Technical Advisor & Director of the Barry Callebaut Chocolate Academy, Chicago

With a rich French heritage dating back to 1842, Cacao Barry® is associated with innovation and passion among the finest pastry chefs in the world. Since founder Charles Barry travelled to Africa in search of the finest cocoa beans to create his first connoisseur’s chocolate 170 years ago, the brand’s vision always has been that the chocolate-maker’s craft is an art form.

More information about the winners, results and the competition is available at www.LArtDuChocolatier.com.


About Cacao Barry® (www.cacao-barry.com):

The French brand Cacao Barry® offers a range of high-quality cocoa products, chocolate coatings, fillings and decorating products.  Its strength lies in the sourcing of cocoa beans in the origin countries as well as in mastering the processing of cocoa. Chocolatiers, confectioners, master bakers and pastry chefs all over the world choose the Cacao Barry® brand because of its perfect finesse and superior taste and texture. Cacao Barry® is a global Gourmet brand of Barry Callebaut, the world's leading manufacturer of high-quality cocoa and chocolate.

Barry Callebaut (www.barry-callebaut.com):

With annual sales of about CHF 4.6 billion (EUR 3.6 billion/USD 5.0 billion) for fiscal year 2010/11, Zurich-based Barry Callebaut is the world’s leading manufacturer of high-quality cocoa and chocolate – from the cocoa bean to the finished chocolate product. Barry Callebaut is present in 27 countries, operates around 40 production facilities and employs a diverse and dedicated workforce of about 6,000 people. Barry Callebaut serves the entire food industry focusing on industrial food manufacturers, artisans and professional users of chocolate (such as chocolatiers, pastry chefs or bakers), the latter with its two global brands Callebaut® and Cacao Barry®. 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. Cost leadership is another important reason why global as well as local food manufacturers work together with Barry Callebaut. Through its broad range of sustainability initiatives and research activities, the company works with farmers, farmer organizations and other partners to help ensure future supplies of cocoa and improve farmer livelihoods.


Contact for the media:

Christie Ly

Grayling for Cacao Barry

Phone: (213) 802-1153                                     



Contact for the media:

Sally Howard

Grayling for Cacao Barry

Phone: (202) 863-4225