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L’Art du Chocolatier Challenge 2012: Cacao Barry® announces seven finalists for coveted title of Chocolatier of the Year

February 13, 2012
  • Seven chefs selected for annual chocolate competition May 4-6, 2012
  • Highly acclaimed chefs and celebrities from the pastry world to judge entries using premium Cacao Barry® chocolate
  • More than $15,000 in cash and prizes to be awarded

Chicago, February 13, 2012– Renowned for producing the finest-grade chocolate in the world, Cacao Barry® is one step closer to finding the Chocolatier of the Year in 2012 as part of its annual L’Art du Chocolatier Challenge, an “all chocolate” competition that encourages creativity and expertise in designing and executing original creations using the French premium brand. 

Following the nationwide call for entries, 37 submissions were received and the seven finalists have been chosen. The finalists now will compete in the event on the weekend of May 4, 2012 at the state-of-the-art Barry Callebaut Chocolate Academy in Chicago for the chance to be crowned Chocolatier of the Year 2012 and a chance to win one of three prizes totaling $15,000. Selected from amongst the best pastry chefs in the United States, the finalists are:

  • Simon Bregardis, Assistant Executive Pastry Chef, Bellagio Hotel & Resort
  • Florent Cheveau, Pastry Chef, Jean Philippe Pâtisserie, Las Vegas
  • Hichem Lahreche, Executive Pastry Chef, Loews Portofino Bay Hotel
  • Yoshikazu Kizu, Pastry Chef, The Ritz-Carlton Orlando Grande Lakes
  • Wesley Mayton, Complex Pastry Chef, The Walt Disney World Swan and Dolphin Hotel
  • Russ Thayer, Assistant Pastry Chef, PreGel America
  • Natalie Collins, Assistant Pastry Chef, The Mansion at the MGM Grand

Additionally, the judges have been selected to determine who will be named the Chocolatier of the Year. Chosen for their own accomplishments in the world of chocolate and pastry art, they include:

  • Ramon Morató, Cacao Barry Technical Advisor & Director of the 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

Highlights of the event include renowned mixologist Freddy Diaz preparing Boiron purée-based cocktails and celebrity chef Garnier preparing artisanal Hors D’Oeuvres using Mycryo®, Cacao Barry’s unique powder form cocoa butter.

Chefs who wish to attend and view the competition as well as the reception can RSVP in advance with their name to  CacaoBarryRSVP@barry-callebaut.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