Meet our Junior Chocolate Masters 2024 Finalists - Caitlin Walsh

Meet our Junior Chocolate Masters 2024 Finalists - Caitlin Walsh

Caitlin Walsh
Brought to you by
  • Chocolate Academy

Our 10th edition of the Junior Chocolate Masters competition takes place at the UK & Ireland Chocolate Academy on 25 July.

We're thrilled to introduce you to our 2024 Finalists.

Where did it all start? How did you fall in love with cooking, pastry and chocolate?

I’ve always loved food and cooking from a young age but my passion for pastry really began when I did my first work experience in a pastry kitchen at the age of 13. I realised how much skill and artistry was involved and knew it was something I wanted to be a part of.

What or who is your greatest source of inspiration?

My greatest source of inspiration would be my mum. She’s been so supportive of my journey to become a pastry chef and takes such a great interest in my work. She makes me want to push to go further in my career and I like to base some of my creations on the flavours that she likes to eat.

What has been your favourite culinary creation so far?

My favourite culinary creation would have to be a chocolate and orange entremet I made for my Chef de Partie trial at Harrods. I created this around the same time that Whole Fruit chocolate was launched and I loved the fruity and acidic flavour it has so I was determined to use it. The low waste impact of Whole Fruit chocolate also inspired me to focus on minimising my waste for this entremet, so as well as using this chocolate, I also used all parts of the orange throughout the entremet.

What motivated you to enter the Junior Chocolate Masters competition?

I wanted to enter the Junior Chocolate Masters competition to really challenge myself and learn some new skills. I’ve always been interested in working with chocolate, so thought this was the perfect opportunity to combine all the knowledge and skills I’ve gained so far in my career. I also wanted to do something a little outside of my comfort zone to see how far I could push myself and what I could achieve. 

What does the theme “play” evoke to you?

The theme “Play” has so many different meanings to me and there’s a lot of avenues to go down. “Play” mainly evokes the feelings of fun and excitement for me, and that’s what I really want to come across in my creations. 

How are you preparing for the competition?

I’m preparing for the competition with a lot of research and practise. I’m gaining inspiration through books and the internet as well as asking those around me what comes to mind when they think of “Play”. I’m testing various recipes and flavour combinations until I’m happy with the result.

What is your favourite chocolate? Why?

My favourite chocolate is Gold by Callebaut. I like the notes of caramel and toffee as they pair well with a variety of fruits and vanilla. I also like that it’s not overly sweet and has a good level of salt.

Any ambition for the future you'd like to share with us?

My ambition for the future is to continue leaning and absorbing knowledge to continue to grow my career. I’m lucky to be in a job where I’m surrounded by talented and creative people to learn from. Further down the line I wish to work my way up in the kitchen and pass down what I’ve learnt to others.