Chocolate Academy Team

We train more than 500 people every week

 In addition to our technical advisors, the teaching staff at the CHOCOLATE ACADEMY™ centers regularly includes Ambassadors who are among the leading professionals throughout the world. We ensure all courses reflect the latest artisanal techniques and product design.

United Kingdom, Banbury

Alberto Simionato

Struck by the world of cuisine very young, Alberto Simionato decided to perfect his education at the Boscolo Etoile Academy where he came into contact with the world of high pastry. It is Maestro Cristian Beduschi who is passionate about chocolate and, after some experiences in the luxury hotel trade, Simionato arrives as chocolatier from the pastry chef Stefano Laghi. The meeting with Ramon Morató and the Chocolate Academy takes place in Spain: it is in 2010 that Alberto's journey with Cacao Barry begins.

Clare England

After working with small artisan chocolatiers Clare England joined the UK Academy team in October 2015.⁠

Clare's passion lies in the development of new concepts from cookies to cakes and all things chocolate.⁠

Clare is 100% plant based and has helped the team develop many vegan recipes. She is always looking to learn new techniques and to pass those on to our guests.⁠

When Clare is not teaching she is behind the scenes preparing for courses, getting the rest of the team ready for activities. In her spare time Clare is studying for a Masters Degree in Clinical Nutrition.⁠

Always full of facts and insights from the latest scientific journals, Clare always tries to bring her learning into everyday life at the Academy.⁠

Clare believes that we can change the world through what we eat, that making foods with conscious thought about every ingredient, can work towards giving people a true moment of chocolate joy.⁠

Davide Comaschi

Born in 1980, when he became a teenager, Davide decided that pastry was his calling. After training at CAPAC (Polytechnic of Commerce and Tourism), he began his work experience in one of the historic laboratories of Milan, of which he soon became head pastry chef. Here he perfected his craft, thanks to Vincenzo Santoro, one of the most appreciated Milanese confectioners. In the same period he met the maestro Ignío Massari, with whom he undertook a long collaboration in both the framework of the CAST Alimenti courses and in the preparation of the World Chocolate Masters.

In 2010 he joined AMPI, the Italian Master Pastry Masters Academy and in 2013 won the World Chocolate Masters in Paris.

In 2016 he was the face of the Salon du Chocolate in Paris, the Milan edition, and in the same year he became director of the Chocolate Academy in Milan.

He also graduated in Culinary Nutrition at the prestigious Art joins Nutrition Academy and became a member of the Scientific Committee ASSIC (Association for Nutritional Safety in the Kitchen), formed by authoritative representatives of science and health from all around the world. 

Director of the Chocolate Academy ™ Center Milan will take care of all the educational proposals and will personally conduct some pastry and chocolate courses. 

Julie Sharp
Julie Sharp

Julie Sharp has been sharing her chocolate expertise at the UK Chocolate Academy since 2011.

Her career led her to be Head Pastry Chef at prestigious venues in London, including the Regent Four Seasons ( Landmark) Hotel and the Mandarin Oriental.

Driven by her passion for travel, Julie accumulated experience in prestigious five stars venues overseas.

 Firstly to the Bahamas as Pastry Chef for the Lyford Cay Millionaire’s Club, then to Canada to Chateau Lake Louise and lastly to the Sofitel in Melbourne, Australia.

Then she moved back to one of London’s most  iconic hotels: Claridges.

Recognised for her contribution to the Pastry world, Julie was invited to become a member of the Royal Academy of Culinary Arts and was awarded Pastry Chef of the Year by the Craft Guild of Chefs.

After completing a Certificate of Education, an opportunity arose for her to combine her love for pastry, travel and teaching and she joined Barry Callebaut as Chocolate Academy Chef.

Being recognised as a leading Pastry Chef in the UK, Julie regularly features in judging panels for the highest competitions in the industry such National Chef of the Year and Annual Award of Excellence.

More recently she was honoured as a Fellow of the Royal Academy of Culinary Arts and also invited to be a Fellow of Westminster Kingsway College.

Not only does she teach at the UK Chocolate Academy, but she also shares her craft via many tutorials online and regularly appears in major British hospitality publications such as The Caterer.


Mark Tilling
Mark Tilling

Mark Tilling has been working for over 25 years as a pâtissier and chocolatier in the industry. Throughout his career he has worked in many hotels and restaurants including The Lanesborough on Hyde Park Corner in London, Lainston House Hotel in Winchester, Hotel du Vin Group in Winchester and Bristol and the Pave D’Auge in Normandy, France. Mark has also cooked for several well-known figures including President George Bush Sr., Cher, Tom Cruise, Nicole Kidman and HRH Prince Edward, The Earl of Wessex to name but a few. Mark has received many awards for his chocolate and pâtisserie work over the years: including many gold and silver medals for his desserts and petits fours, as well as double gold for his chocolate showpieces. Mark’s highest achievements, however, have been winning the UK Chocolate Masters competition from 2006 to 2008, and coming 12th in 2007 and 7th in 2009 at the finals of the World Chocolate Masters. After these accomplishments, Mark was made a UK Callebaut Chocolate Ambassador. Mark has a great passion for teaching and enjoys passing on my skills to all kinds of people. Mark is a regular contributor to Cakes & Sugarcraft and Squires Kitchen Bake School magazines as well as the author of three books, Squires Kitchen’s Guide to Working with Chocolate, Squires Kitchen’s Guide to Making Macaroons and Mastering Chocolate. In 2016 Mark took part and won the title of "Bake Off Crème de la Crème" an eight part series on BBC Two to find Britain's Best Team of Pastry Chefs alongside his team mates. Mark also took part in Extreme Chocolate Makers for Channel 4 in 2019 and was featured in 4 episodes. He regularly appears on James Martin’s Saturday Morning specials on ITV. Mark joined the UK Chocolate Academy in January 2020.

Alexandre Bourdeaux
Alexandre Bourdeaux
Guest teacher

Callebaut® Ambassador

Alexandre started baking at a very young age and knew that baking cakes and traveling was his calling. 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 pâtisserie and then was invited to work at Four Seasons in Milan with the Chef Sergio Mei. He went on to open the first Four Seasons hotel in Cairo and head a brigade of 12 pastry chefs and bakers in a 5 star hotel at only age 23. He then worked in other Four Seasons Hotel at the Canary Warf London, Tokyo and Chicago. Alexandre than made a royal return to Belgium, catering at the Court of the King of Belgium, and then as a 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 around 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 launch an online software "ganache solution" that help 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’.
Alistair Birt
Guest teacher

Alistair Birt is one of the greatest young British talents of the pastry world. He made the first steps into the pastry world when doing the Culinary Arts Management degree under the mentorship of Yolande Stanley, he polished his skills with William Curley, won the UK World Chocolate Master contest and after landed a position at Harrods, as a Head Pastry Chef. 

Aneesh Popat
Guest teacher

Voted amongst the 1000 most influential Londoners 2013, award winning chocolatier Aneesh Popat has showcased his creations at Michelin starred restaurants and to Royalty. Born in Britain and Indian by heritage, Aneesh has fused his mastery of Eastern spices with Western influences, as reflected in his chocolate creations which range from rose and cinnamon ganache to his famous chilli and lime truffle.

His love for science has led him to apply both his mathematical and scientific backgrounds to create the most unique and experimental flavour combinations with utmost precision and creativity by studying flavour components on a chemical level. Passion for exploration leads Aneesh to continually push boundaries with his adventurous flavours but his chocolate making techniques are also just as advanced.

Christophe Morel
Christophe Morel
Guest teacher

Master Chocolatier and Pastry Chef - Chocolate Ambassador’s Club Member

Born in France, Christophe comes from a family of pastry chefs.

At a young age, he took classes and became a pastry chef and chocolatier. His passion for chocolate and his knowledge of blending flavours, coupled with his talent and creativity propelled him into the limelight.

Recipient of numerous honours such as the Grand Prix Canadien de la Chocolaterie in 2003 and the Coupe du Monde de Pâtisserie de Lyon in 2005, he continues to dazzle the eye and treat the palate. Savouring a chocolate concocted by Christophe Morel is offering oneself a delicious moment of pleasure. Chef Morel was selected to represent Canada in the last two World Chocolate Masters competitions.


Emily Hankins
Guest teacher

Emily is an award winning cake artist and is recognised as one of the finest hand painted cake specialists in the UK. She prides herself in creating truly unique and memorable wedding cakes, individually designed and hand painted in her signature style to the highest standard. 

Jean-Michel Perruchon
Guest teacher

Chef Jean-Michel Perruchon, Director of Gastronomique Bellouet Conseil Ecole Gastronomique in Paris, hails from Britney, France. He has worked for some of the best pastry shops in Paris such as Fauchon, Le Notre, Constant, La Maison du Chocolat. In 1989, he has founded Gastronomique Bellouet Conseil School with G. J. Bellouet, Meilleur Ouvrier de France (MOF), to improve the skills of professionals. He has also written many prized international gastronomique books. Chef Jean-Michel has won many gastronomique competitions such as La Vase de Sèvres du President de la Republique in Arpajon, Charles Proust Cup, Finalist at the French Cup and finally, in 1993 he obtained the exclusive title of Meilleur Ouvrier de France (MOF). He continues to hand down his experiences not only in France, but all over the world.

Lawrence Bobo
Guest teacher

Passionate about patisserie, thus constantly bringing and developing new ideas and concepts into pastry. Chef Lawrence is self-motivated, and willing to take challenge. “He is a last-minute thinker, and has the evilest of ideas, but he is after all, a natural born artist”, choosing to join the profession for all the wrong reasons, Lawrence enrolled himself into a chef’s career because of the perceived “coolness” of the chef uniform. It was because he could “dress up like a professional” and “play with food” that enticed him to pursue an education in pastry/food sciences.

Also known as the award winner of Coupe De La Du Monde De Pâtisserie 2015 ( World Pastry Cup 2015- Lyon). World Ranking top 4th place world's best chocolate showpiece award culinare Singapore/Food & Hospitality Asia. The Mad Scientist’s imagination is out of the ordinary, as he does not work according to norms. He is in a league of his own, which earned him the title of World’s Best Chocolate Showpiece in 2015’s World Pastry Cup.

Taking pride from the title, he highly depends on his inner intuitions, and dislikes anything preplanned; instead, prefers to let things come together spontaneously through an intuitive self-expression. One can only imagine of what goes on in his mind when looking at his creations, as they often instill fear and spookiness, which often leaves an unforgettable mark in our memory stems.

Marike van Beurden
Guest teacher

After studying in Belgium and The Netherlands, she refined her skills with the funkiest Chocolatier, Dominique Persoone and the reknown chef Pierre Gagnaire.

During her ‘Tour the France’, she worked in the kitchen of Michelin-starred Restaurant le Cinq at the Four Seasons Georges V in Paris and the famed Maison Pic in Valence with Anne-Sophie Pic and Pastry Chef Philippe Rigollot.

While Pastry Chef of the Michelin-starred restaurant Caprice at the Four Seasons in Hong Kong, she is pursuing not only her dream of creating desserts but also participating in the World Chocolate Masters. She won the 2nd place to this competition in 2013 and she has been awarded the Best Hong Kong Pastry Chef in 2015.

In the past few years she trained pastry chefs in many different countries as Consulting Chef. Accompanied by a well known food-scientist she is currently in­vestigating how we can go plant-based without sacrificing in flavour, yet staying as clean label as possible.

Melissa Coppel
Guest teacher

Throughout her career, Chef Coppel has been recognized for her exceptional chocolate artistry, winning several industry awards. In 2012, she won the Pastry Live "People's Choice" Award and placed second overall in the "Chocolatier of the Year" competition in Atlanta. In 2013, she returned to the Pastry Live competition where she reclaimed the "People's Choice" Award and won the title of " Chocolatier of the Year ". Chef Coppel is now owner of Sucre LLC and spends her time consulting and teaching around the world, inspiring other chocolate artisans.

Yolande Stanley
Yolande Stanley
Guest teacher

Since July 2010 Yolande has been teaching extensively at Westminster Kingsway College and occasionally at the Bertinet Kitchen. Prior to this Yolande spent 16 years as Senior Lecturer in Higher Education at Thames Valley University teaching Patisserie. Previously to teaching she gained valuable experience working at 5 star hotels in London and Switzerland. Chocolate has always featured as an omnipresent commodity in all of her work.

In 2000 Yolande gained the prestigious Master of Culinary Arts Pastry (MCA), this is no mean feat as there are currently only 4 pastry chefs in the UK who have earned this accolade. Yolande has been the UK Training Manager for World Skills UK (formerly UKSkills) for Confectionery and Pastry for the past 11 years. Her roles also include being the International judge and chief expert in her field, which also involves consulting for other countries such as Brazil and South Korea.