Chocolate Academy Center Chicago

Barry Callebaut completes expansion of Region Americas Head Office in Chicago

Barry Callebaut Group, the world’s leading manufacturer of high-quality chocolate and cocoa products, today announced it has completed expansion initiatives at its Region Americas head office in Chicago.
  • Office expansion strengthens company’s position as a global leader in chocolate and cocoa innovation
  • New Applications Laboratory includes a small-scale equipment mini-manufacturing plant to simulate customers’ production runs
  • Chocolate Academy™ Center updated to provide spacious and modern training environment for culinary professionals 

Barry Callebaut Group, the world’s leading manufacturer of high-quality chocolate and cocoa products, today announced it has completed expansion initiatives at its Region Americas head office in Chicago. Additions to the office include a state-of-the-art Applications Laboratory to support the development of chocolate and cocoa products for food manufacturing customers. The Chocolate Academy™, an advanced teaching and training center for gourmet professionals, was also renovated to accommodate more students throughout the year.

 “The Chicago office expansion is an important milestone for Barry Callebaut,” said Dave Johnson, CEO and President Americas of the Barry Callebaut Group. “The investment is part of our corporate strategy that will provide world-class chocolate and cocoa solutions to our customers by strengthening our presence in the United States.”

Customer-focused Innovation

The new, in-house Applications Laboratory supports chocolate and cocoa innovation and product development. Barry Callebaut technical advisors will work in the lab with food manufacturing customers to create finished concepts, using the full range of Barry Callebaut products, including: chocolate, compound, fillings, inclusions, nuts and decorations. Technical advisors are on staff to optimize customers’ existing recipes to streamline processes and identify new flavor profiles, among other services.

The lab also features several Pilot Plants – small scale “factories” that simulate production runs in customers’ factories. The Pilot Plants allow for testing of small batches of new and existing recipes, using a variety of processing equipment and techniques to meet customers’ unique product needs.

“The Applications Laboratory and Pilot Plants are important additions to our office since they allow us to put conceptual product ideas into actual practice,” said Laurent Besin, Director R&D Technical Services and Applications. “Whether creating a new product or improving application prototypes, customers will benefit from innovative solutions that are developed and tested in our simulated environment.”

Dedicated to the Art of Chocolate

Renovations were also made to the Chicago Chocolate Academy™ – one of Barry Callebaut’s 19 global demonstration and training centers dedicated to the education of chocolate artisans and gourmet professionals. The lecture auditorium, used for innovation sessions for chefs, trainings, chocolate demonstrations and special events, was expanded to increase its stadium-style seating capacity. It now accommodates approximately 75 people – offering additional space while maintaining an intimate learning environment. Other improvements to the Chocolate Academy™ include a variety of equipment upgrades in the main training kitchen that enhance the learning experience for students and guests.

The Chicago Chocolate Academy™ offers an expanded course curriculum to meet increased student demand. Barry Callebaut’s team of expert chefs and technical advisors, as well as a roster of internationally-recognized guest instructors, lead practical, theoretical and specialty courses for professionals of all levels.

“Our global network of Chocolate Academies provides gourmet professionals unmatched and personalized training to sharpen their mastery of the art of chocolate,” said Chef Jérôme Landrieu, Director of the Chicago Chocolate Academy™.  “We are committed to confection, pastry and bakery training. Our goal is to inspire chefs to reach heightened levels of technique, creativity and artistry.”

Since opening in 2008, more than 2,000 students – from pastry chefs and bakers to confectioners and caterers – have received training at the Chicago Chocolate Academy™.

Chicago as Home

The location at 600 W. Chicago Ave. has served as the Region Americas head office for Barry Callebaut since 2007.

Prior to 2007, Barry Callebaut’s American business operations were based in St. Hyacinthe, Quebec, and St. Albans, Vermont. Chicago was chosen as the company’s consolidated regional headquarters due to its strong history in food manufacturing, proximity to an international airport and reputation for attracting top employee talent. In addition to the U.S., Barry Callebaut Group’s Region Americas footprint includes offices and factories, in Brazil, Canada, Chile, Ecuador and Mexico. 

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About Barry Callebaut Group:
With annual sales of about CHF 5.9 billion in fiscal year 2013/14, the Zurich-based Barry Callebaut Group is the world’s leading manufacturer of high-quality chocolate and cocoa products – from the origination and processing cocoa beans to producing the finest chocolates, including chocolate fillings, decorations and compounds. The Group runs more than 50 production facilities worldwide and employs a diverse and dedicated global workforce of over 9,300 people.
The Barry Callebaut Group serves the entire food industry, from industrial food manufacturers to artisanal and professional users of chocolate, such as chocolatiers, pastry chefs, bakers, hotels, restaurants or caterers. The two global brands catering to the specific needs of these Gourmet customers are Callebaut® and Cacao Barry®.
The Barry Callebaut Group is committed to sustainable cocoa production through its “Cocoa Horizons” initiative to help ensure future supplies of cocoa as well as improve farmer livelihoods.

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Claudia Pedretti
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+41 43 204 04 23
Frank Keidel
Head of Media Relations
+41 76 399 69 06​