Chocolate Ambassadors Club Belgium

Peter Hernou

Peter Hernou is one of our Ambassadors and international independent consultant & concept developer. He is an expert in coffee and chocolate-based drinks and barista trainer. World Latte Art Champion and holder of several records and international titles and author of the “World’s Best Coffee Book - Latte Arte”.  Awarded for Excellence ‘The Passionated Educator’ by the SCA. Multiple Belgian Champion and trainer of several World and National Champions. 

 

Alexandre Bourdeaux

Alexandre started baking at a very young age and knew that baking cakes and traveling were his passion. His career started in a 1 star Michelin restaurant in Belgium where he learnt classic recipes he still makes today. Later Alexandre left for Italy to work in a new Belgian Pastry shop and than was invited to work at Four Seasons in Milan with Chef Sergio Mei. He went on to open the first Four Seasons hotel in Cairo and was head of a team of 12 pastry chefs and bakers in a 5 star hotel and this at the age of 23. After this he worked in other Four Seasons Hotels at the Canary Warf London, Tokyo and Chicago. He than made a royal return to Belgium, catering at the Court of the King of Belgium, and Pastry chef for Callebaut.

At Callebaut headquarters he could develop his passion to share his knowledge and keep growing by continuing to meet with chefs from all over the world while giving demonstrations in the Chocolate Academy™ and overseas. Alexandre became head of the Chocolate Academy™ in Belgium and led the opening of the new Chocolate Academy™ Callebaut in 2014, marking an historical moment in the story of the brand.

Alexandre keeps collaborating with Callebaut, but today he has spread his wings and has launched his own company in 2016 Pastry & Chocadvice to give advice, help & solutions in the world of pastry and chocolate. In March 2018, he launched an online software "ganache solution" that helps chefs to monitor their own recipes. He was judge together with Paco Torreblanca of an Italian television show "Best bakery". Alexandre is the perfect embodiment of his motto: ‘Live your dreams and work hard to achieve them’.

 

Bart Van Cauwenberghe

Bart was appointed Ambassador of Belgian chocolate in 2005 due mainly to his extensive knowledge of combining multiple flavours and texture to chocolates.  With his wealth of experience he travels around the world to give demos and courses.
Bart refers to himself as a taste designer and prides himself on knowing which flavours work together.

Legendary, it's all about beans!

Is a brand that has been operating for 2 years.

Besides chocolate, Bart created various spirits based on cocoa beans.

His own cocoa tea and coffee complete the range in this 'concept store' story.

 

Patrick Mertens

Patrick Mertens and Inge Lijnen are the driving forces behind BOON Chocolate House in Hasselt.

Patrick was a technical advisor/demonstrator at Barry Callebaut in Wieze for 15 years.
Inge worked in the advertising world and was a copywriter for a number of advertising agencies.
Together they founded BOON in 2005 in a stately wonderful mansion in the center of Hasselt. Chocolate house BOON is a unique combination of an open craft studio with a chocolate shop. Because Patrick learned how to make molds in Canada, they regularly come up with new creations and designs at BOON.

Patrick, Inge and their team have already worked with many well-known names from the fashion, art and culinary world, including Paul Smith, Hannelore Knuts, Harrods, Nike and Essentiel.


 

Pol De Schepper

Pol had his own Pastry shop from 1986 till 1996.

From 1997 until today he was teacher in chocolate and sugar processing and pastry

He also won different awards such as Trophée Pascal Caffet in 1999, World and Belgian Chocolate Master in 2005 and Coupe du Monde Pastry (silver) in 2007.

David Maenhout

David Maenhout started his own business "Chocolatier M" in 2005, together with Isabelle Hertsens. Their store is renowned for their high-end pralines based on ingredients of absolute, fresh top quality and known for unique flavor combinations. David has been a conscious and loyal partner of Callebaut and Cacao-Barry since day one.

His business specializes in tailor-made solutions for top restaurants and companies. Chocolatier M was named the very first "Chocolatier of the Year" by Gault & Millau, most recently "Meilleur chocolatier de sa generation" by Le Figaro in France, and also won several international awards the past years. Each praline is its own creation and was developed after extensive testing or by inspiration of the moment during a trip, a dinner at a restaurant, a visit to an art gallery, etc… 

My personal preference is our Umami based on Japanese artisan soy sauce, a praline that was launched 10 years ago and exceptional at that time. He adores Fresh herbs such as lemon thym or delicious fruits such as cassis "noir de Bourgogne" or passion fruit.  

 My favorite chocolate from Callebaut is Sao-Thomé and from Cacao Barry the Alto-El-Sol, both for their fine pronounced accents. Toppers in the range. The Kumabo is also very popular with many customers!

 

Stephan Destrooper

He was only 11 years old when Stephan, after having seen the movie ‘Hector’ decided he would become a baker. 
He had to convince his parents first but eventually he could join the professional school ‘Ter Groene Poorte’ in Bruges and obtained successfully his certificate.

He then followed internships at ‘‘Huize van Wély’ (Netherlands), Fauchon in Paris and Pâtisserie Mahieu in Brussels after which he worked for 4 years at the Biscuiterie Destrooper, a cookie manufacturer created by his grandfather Jules Destrooper in 1886.

This experience gave him the necessary motivation to start up his own business which was created in 2007. 
Stephan was 27 years old at that time.   

Today, he employes 10 people who all create artisanal products with the best possible raw materials. 

‘I wanted to show people that creating things with your hands can be very successful too’ he says. He is very proud he achieved so much without having a highschool or university degree.
Besides his beautiful business, he also created 3 brands (Choc You, Gentiel and Granola&Co). 

When he became member of the distinguished association ‘Créateurs de desserts’, he knew that the path he took was the right one.  

When thinking about the future, he believes there will always be a demand for high quality products.  However he predicts, small bakery shops will face even more difficult times. Supermarkets adapted to the changing consumer behaviour and offer fresh bread several times a day. So bakery shops have to make the difference with premium artisanal products and enlarging their service to the customers. He strongly believes in the ‘shop-in-shop’ concept, meaning that regional products can be sold in supermarkets.  

The sanitary crisis proved that home deliveries and the webshop were very successful and created new customers.

And finally, Stephan, who is always looking for new experiences, also concentrates on healthy food by making bread with sweet potatoes and buckwheat.   Thus, he reaches out to an increasing group of people with food allergies. 

 

Jean-Yves Wilmot

The Wilmot pastry shop is a family business. In 1937 Félix Rouard began his activity as a pastry baker in Mettet. Since then, the company has only evolved, by remaining attentive to changes in the consumption patterns of Namur residents.

In 2000 Jean-Yves Wilmot succeeded his grandfather and uncle, mainly with his past experience in major pastry houses… He is Chocolate Ambassador for Barry Callebaut.

His international reputation will lead him all over the world (Brazil, Korea, China, etc.)

From these trips, was born a beautiful pastry project that will be present every day in his shop.