Chocolate Academy™ Chefs pose in front of the Parthenon
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After a multi-year hiatus, the Chocolate Academy™ Global Chefs Seminar took place this year in Athens, Greece. The Chocolate Academy™ Center in Athens hosted over 70 chefs from around the world as they gathered to discuss the future of chocolate and pastry.

With the concept of “Philo.Chef”, this year’s Global Chef Seminar took our chefs back to the roots of Greek philosophy. The history, art, and culture of Athens provided the perfect backdrop for our modern-day chef-philosophers as they explored topics such as creativity, innovation, and sustainability. 

Chefs Ramon Morato, Martin Diez, and Seung yun Lee

Chefs Ramon Morato, Martin Diez, and Seung yun Lee

Opening Night

The week began with an opening-night event where journalists and professionals had the opportunity to taste a global array of chocolate trends and flavors. Nine Chocolate Academy™ Center Chefs and two Chocolate Ambassadors presented their own unique and on-trend bonbons and pastries inspired by their own heritage and local flavors and ingredients.

 

Chef SeungYun Lee's Coconut & Pandan Bonbons

Our Chocolate Academy™ Chef from Southeast Asia created a cheerful rainbow bonbon to match her open and inspiring personality. With flavors typical of her home region, her coconut and pandan leaf creation was a delicious exploration of traditional flavors not often seen outside the region. 

Chef Seung Yun Lee, Chocolate Academy™ Chef for Southeast Asia

Chef Seung Yun Lee, Chocolate Academy™ Lead Chef Asia Pacific

Chef Martin Diez's Volcano Bonbons

Chef Martin Diez of the Chocolate Academy™ Center in Chicago shared his Volcano Bonbon, a tour of North American flavors featuring California almonds, a Mexico ganache, and a Kentucky Bourbon filling.

Chef Martin Diez, Director Chef Services Americas

Chef Martin Diez, Director Chef Services Americas

Chef Ramon Morato's Evocao, Grapefruit, and Rose Bonbons

Chef Ramon's bonbons featured the award-winning, upcycled chocolate from Cacao Barry®, Evocao WholeFruit Chocolate. His creation paired the fruity notes of Evocao with Grapefruit and Rose.

Chef Ramon Morato, Global Creative Director, Cacao Barry®

Chef Ramon Morato, Global Creative Director, Cacao Barry®

Chef Domenica Lazo's Vegan Dulce de Leche Bonbons

Chef Domenica Lazo confessed to continuing to crave dulce de leche for years after switching to a plant-based diet. She created these vegan bonbons using a coconut milk-based dulce de leche and an Ecuadorian coffee ganache.

Chef Domenica Lazo of Chocolate Academy™ Center in Chicago

Chef Domenica Lazo of Chocolate Academy™ Center in Chicago

Chef Philippe Marand's Honey, Lemon, and Yogurt Bonbons

Head Chef of host Chocolate Academy™ Center in Athens, Philippe Marand treated guests to a bonbon filled with the flavors of Greece. His milk chocolate enrobed bonbons featured honey, lemon, and yogurt.

Philippe Marand, Head of the Chocolate Academy™ in Athens, and Lead Chef, EEMEA

Philippe Marand, Head of the Chocolate Academy™ in Athens, and Lead Chef, EEMEA

Chef Yesim Erol's Olive Oil Ganache Bonbons

Chef Yesim Erol offered guests modern bonbons which gave a nod to traditional flavors. Her contribution to the evening's festivities featured olive oil ganache and an olive oil-feta crunch. 

Yesim Erol, Head of the Chocolate Academy™ Center in Turkey

Yesim Erol, Head of the Chocolate Academy™ Center in Turkey

Chef Dimitri Fayard's Pommes Tatin Bonbon

Sleek and stylish bonbons from Chef Dimitri Fayard presented tasters with an upscale experience of the nostalgic American favorite apple pie. His bonbon comprised layers of pommes tatin, Zephyr caramel ganache, and caramel apple gelee.

Dimitri Fayard, Head of the Chocolate Academy™ Center in Chicago

Dimitri Fayard, Head of the Chocolate Academy™ Center in Chicago

Chef Alan Espinoza's Banana, Passion Fruit, and Coffee Bonbons

Chef Alan Espinoza is well-known for bringing the sunshine of his home country wherever he goes with his warm and welcoming demeanor. For the evening's event, he created bonbons that highlighted this sunny feeling. His bonbons included tropical flavors from banana and passion fruit as well as lively notes from Mexican coffee.

Chef Alan Espinoza, Head of the Chocolate Academy™ Center in Mexico, and Lead Chef South LATAM

Chef Alan Espinoza, Head of the Chocolate Academy™ Center in Mexico, and Lead Chef South LATAM

Frank Haasnoot presents The Rose

Chef Frank Haasnoot used Mona Lisa® Decorations revolutionary 3-D Studio to create a shareable rose dessert that Wowed the evening's guests.

Frank Haasnoot, Winner WCM 2011, Global Cacao Barry and Mona Lisa Ambassador

Frank Haasnoot, Winner WCM 2011, Global Cacao Barry and Mona Lisa Ambassador

Chef Spyros Pediaditakis Delighted Guests with an Assortment of Pastries

One of the busiest chefs of the evening might have been Chocolate Ambassador Spyros Pediaditakis who provided an assortment of pastries for guests to try. 

Spyros Pediaditakis, Chocolate Ambassador

Spyros Pediaditakis, Chocolate Ambassador Cacao Barry Greece

We were excited to welcome our renowned chefs from around the world in Athens. This is a milestone for Chocolate Academy™ globally and a true testament for our commitment to chocolate excellence.

Axelle Jeangirard, Global Chocolate Academy™ Center Brand Manager
Chocolate Academy™ Chefs at the Acropolis

Day 2: Exploring the City

On Day 2, after a morning of informative sessions and a chocolate tasting, Chefs spent the afternoon exploring Athens and its bakeries and pastry and gelato shops, learning about the traditional items popular in the area as well as new items trending among modern customers in the region. The day was capped by a tour of the Acropolis. This famous landmark provided Chefs with not only historical and cultural context, but the classic beauty of the buildings and temple can only inspire future pastry and chocolate creations!

During this seminar we put the focus on boosting creativity and team spirit. The chefs were able to connect and interact with each other again, which truly sets the scene for a positive, energizing and inspiring week. We are happy to reconnect to be together again as one team!

Philippe Marand, Head of Chocolate Academy™ Center Athens
Chefs Marike van Beurden & Julie Sharp discuss Callebaut NXT and Vegan confections and pastry

Days 3 & 4: Exploring, Training, and Tasting!

On days 3 & 4, Chocolate Academy™ Chefs divided and conquered, splitting up into two groups, with each group spending one day learning about Cacao Barry Or Noir and sustainability at Pyrgos Vasilissis and one day at host Chocolate Academy™ Center, Athens, engaging in training on Callebaut NXT with Chef Marike Van Beurden, as well as additional sessions on coatings, fillings, and Cacao Barry cocoa powders. Chef Frank Haasnoot then created a dessert especially for the session using Mona Lisa decorations.

The Greeks brought Athens to the world and now Barry Callebaut brings the world to Athens. Our global chocolate chefs are the heart and soul of our gourmet industry, they are key drivers behind our newest innovations and creative combinations. We are happy that we can bring them all together again during this exciting Global Chef’s Seminar!

Pablo Perversi, Chief Innovation, Sustainability & Quality Officer, Global Head Gourmet