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.

USA, Chicago

Dimitri Fayard
Dimitri Fayard
Teaches in:
USA, Chicago

Chef Fayard earned his Cuisine and Pastry Degree at the Lycée Pardailhan in Auch, France.  In 1998, he made his way to the USA where worked for François Payard at his New York City Shop, the Bellagio Hotel in Las Vegas and at the Ritz-Carlton Corporate Hotel in Atlanta, Georgia.

In 2002 he helped open the Hotel Sofitel Water Tower in Chicago. With his wife Keli, he opened the upscale French pastry shop Vanille Påtisserie the following year, specializing in tarts, entremets, chocolate candies, breakfast pastries and wedding cakes.

Most recently, Chef Fayard started sharing his experience and passion with the students of the French Pastry School, teaching a section of the program dedicated to cakes, tarts and entremets. 


* Admitted as Academician into the Académie Culinaire de France in 2009
Voted Top 10 Best Pastry Chef in the US by Pastry Arts & Design Magazine 2007
* Team USA World Pastry Championship (Competiting August 2008)
* Silver Medal - Overall - National Pastry Championship - 2003
* Gold Medal - Overall - Southern Pastry Classic - 2001
* Gold Medal - Showpiece - Southern Pastry Classic - 2001
* Gold Medal - Chocolate Cake - Southern Pastry Classic - 2001
* 3rd Place - Apprentice Competition - Festival D'Occitanie 1997

Lauren V. Haas

Chef Lauren V. Haas is the Gourmet Lead Chef for North America. Well versed in the foundations of classical pastry and emerging techniques and trends, her passion is educating pastry professionals in the art and science of pastry. As a USA Cacao Barry Ambassador for the past 10 years, Lauren has a long history with Barry-Callebaut. Previously, she served as an Associate Professor at Johnson & Wales University and honed her skills at some of the country’s most esteemed establishments, including the residence at the White House. Lauren’s creations have garnered broad recognition, and in 2016 Dessert Professional designated Lauren as one of the Top 10 Pastry Chefs in America, and in 2018 Bake Magazine named her one of the nation’s Top Educators. Lauren is passionate about sustainability and holds a master’s degree in Sustainable Food Systems.


Mark Seaman
Mark Seaman

Mark Seaman is a Certified Master Sugar Artist specializing in bakery applications, botanically-correct gum paste flowers, and wedding cakes.  He has owned two successful business ventures including an exclusive wedding cake boutique and a separate retail bakery, both in the Chicagoland area. Mark has been heavily involved in a number of professional baking organizations, including the Retail Bakers Association where he was the Chair of the certification program for master bakers and cake decorators. 

Throughout his career Mark has been recognized numerous times for his craftsmanship. In 2013 he was honored by Dessert Professional Magazine as one of Top Ten Cake Designers in North America.  Prior to joining the Chocolate Academy in Chicago in that same year, Mark was an instructor at the French Pastry School.  He is on the Editorial Advisory Board of American Cake Decorating Magazine and is an Adjudicator for Sugar Artist Certification for the International Cake Exploration Societé. His work has been featured on The Food Network, HGTV, Travel Channel, ABC7 Chicago and TLC. 

Although Mark enjoys his global travels for teaching and bakery concept development, his roots remain in small-town Pennsylvania where he has fond memories of drinking from his "blue milk mug" while indulging in desserts from his own Grandfather's bakery: The Ideal Bakery.  They say it's all in the wrist; Mark says "it's in the blood".

Chef Martin in a chef's hat
Martin Diez

Martin is employed as Chef Chocolatier and Patissier at our CHOCOLATE ACADEMY™ center in France and is qualified in the study of pastry, confectionery, chocolaterie and icecream. Having been a member of the highly skilled artisan guild 'Tour de France des Compagnon de Devoir' for several years he has worked in many prestigious pastry and chocolate shops in France, namely the 'Patisserie Antoine' situated in Bordeaux. More recently he was International Technical Advisor with Patisfrance.


Megan Bell

Megan Bell joined Barry Callebaut in May of 2019 as the Assistant Chef for the Chicago Chocolate Academy. She finds passion developing high-end pastry and working alongside and assisting a wide range of talented chefs allow her skills to continuously evolve.
Prior to Barry Callebaut she worked at The Broadmoor Resort in Colorado. At the resort, her talents were utilized in the production of chocolates for the property, fine pastries, and working in the fine dining restaurant. Her original training took place at The Greeenbrier Resort in West Virginia. She graduated from an intensive three-year apprenticeship program. This program was led by Jean- Francois Suteau and assisted by Devin Cowan. Megan was able to complete her apprenticeship with a silver
medal while having to balance leading the pastry team as Banquet Sous Chef.
She attended Louisiana Culinary Institute, graduating in 2014 with a
Associates in Occupational Studies of Culinary Arts.

Nicolas Dutertre
Nicolas Dutertre

Pastry Chef, Technical advisor Chocolate Academy™ Montreal

  • Compagnon Pâtissier in 2000, he perfected his art with the Meilleurs Ouvriers de France chefs at the National School of French Pastry (École Nationale Supérieure de la Pâtisserie Française).
  • Sous-pastry chef at the 5 star palace “Hôtel Plaza Athénée” with world champion pastry chef Christophe Michalak for 5 years.
  • Pastry chef at Boutique Point G in Montreal.
Russ Thayer
As the lead chef for the Chocolate Academy™ Online, Chef Russ Thayer curates the curriculum and leads the chefs who contribute to its content. He himself specializes in modern confections based on traditional techniques, while also having a robust knowledge of pastry as a whole. Russ is also a classically trained savory chef, however it is the technical accuracy and attention to detail in pastry and confections that fascinates him.
Prior to joining the Barry-Callebaut group, he was the Pastry Chef at PreGel America, and before this, he worked as a Pastry Chef for the Ritz-Carlton hotel group. He has also held Pastry Chef positions in several prestigious private clubs. Russ is a graduate of both the Pastry Arts and Culinary Arts programs at Central Piedmont Community College in Charlotte, North Carolina.  Russ has won numerous gold medals in ACF sponsored pastry competitions as well as being a finalist in Cacao-Barry’s L’Art du Chocolatier Challenge 2012.
Chef Russ joined the Chicago Chocolate Academy™ team in 2014 to further his dedication for research and innovation. In 2018, Chef Russ relocated to Montreal, Canada to become the Lead Chef for the Chocolate Academy™ Online. His strong desire to work with the best pastry chefs in the industry continues to push him forward.
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’.
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.


Emmanuel Ryon
Guest teacher

He is one of the most respected and refined ice cream masters in the world. 25 years of experience, World Pastry Champion in Lyon 1999 with France, and Meilleur Ouvrier de France Glacier 2000, are milestones of the life of a great professional. His work philosophy in formulation is well explained in his book, Apprenez l’Art de la Glace et des Sorbets (2002), available only in French. The book details ice cream making from the traditional French perspective, with the ideal formulation to boost the ice creams’ flavors and textures to the max. Ice creams and sorbets, ice cream aperitifs, ice cream petit fours, nougats, plated desserts, savory ice creams, ice cream cups, among other creations, are found within the pages of this great book.

His last adventure is the opening of the ice cream shop, Une Glace à Paris, in 2015, with which he returns to ice cream, his true passion. In collaboration with the pastry chef Olivier Ménard, this ice cream shop recreates great classics of pastry and ice cream through an ornamental aesthetic, inspired by the past and with a very personal vision of the flavor influenced by travel. In his creations, Ryon proposes attractive sets of textures, which take the customer to a new level in the tasting of ice cream, with creations that reinterpret the past with the mastery of one of the most refined and versatile professionals.

Beyond ice cream making, his versatility in other disciplines such as pastry and plated desserts is also well-known, a virtue that has deepened in his time in Café Pouchkine and in the creative development of the desserts of the restaurants of the prestigious chef, Anne-Sophie Pic.



Emmanuele Forcone
Guest teacher
Teaches in:
USA, Chicago
UAE, Dubai

“Art made with chocolate and sugar is a passion for me, almost to the point of being a disorder - I would say. Eventually, chocolate has more business-related implications, but the use of sugar has grown a lot recently and this gives me great satisfaction."

Italian champion in pastry in 2010, he was the vice champion of the Coupe du Monde de la Patisserie in 2011. Executive pastry chef at the patisserie Pannamore in Vasto, Italy, he has often been to Australia to export the art of Italian confectionery and over the years has focused more and more on chocolate and sugar arts. He won the Coupe du Monde de la Patisserie in 2015. Since then Emmanuele has been travelling the world to share his passion and knowledge.


Eunyoung Yun
Guest teacher
Teaches in:
USA, Chicago

Chef Eunyoung is admired for taking European classics and giving them a cultural twist. Her Pastry shop, GARUHARU, in Seoul, Korea has gained so much attention that Chef Eunyoung has expanded her line up to include much more than her trademark eclairs. Her style is modern, designed with maximum attention to presentation, taste and texture. She is known for her eclairs, bus also dazzling cakes with clear flavors and charming concepts. Explore the delicate, clean aesthetic of her tarts, eclairs and petit gateaux in this Masterclass. Chef Eunyoung will demonstrate her creations, and students are able to ask questions along the way as they experience all of her techniques firsthand.


Frank Haasnoot
Guest teacher

Frank Haasnoot is a Dutch pastry chef. With over over 23 years’ experience, he is currently working as a freelance consultant.

Post completing his education, Frank started working for several pastry brands around the globe. Frank has worked in Holland, New York (La Tulipe Desserts), Kuwait (the Victorian), Taiwan (Mandarin Oriental Hotel) and Hong Kong (the Peninsula Hotel).

He has been a part of multiple national and international Pastry Competitions. In 2011, he was the winner of the World Chocolate Masters in Paris.

It was in mid 2017 that Frank decided to move back to Europe and start his freelance career to be able to teach and develop his work freely.


Jérôme Landrieu
Jérôme Landrieu
Guest teacher

With over 25 years of experience. Born and raised in France, Jerome came up in the industry while working under some of the nation’s top chefs. Upon honing his mastery and reaching impressive placement in numerous prestigious competitions, Jerome was recruited to open the Barry Callebaut Chocolate Academy in Chicago. As time goes by, Chef Landrieu’s list of accolades continues to grow:

  • 1st place for Sugar Artistry & 2nd place for Artistry at Chocolat by Pascal Caffet
  • Team France substitute at the Pastry World Cup
  • 1st prize for tasting selection at Salon du Chocolat in Paris
  • Placed in Semifinals at Meilleurs Ouvrier de France Compétition
  • Voted among Top 10 Pastry Chefs in the United States by Dessert Professional Magazine


Jeffrey Cagnes
Jeffrey Cagnes
Guest teacher
Teaches in:
USA, Chicago

Stohrer, the oldest patisserie in Paris, was founded in 1730 by King Louis XV’s pastry chef, Nicolas Stohrer. Still located rue Montorgueil, this establishment has taken on mythical qualities over time. Now listed as a historical site, its lavish décor was designed by a student of Paul Baudry, who decorated the Opéra Garnier.

Century after century, this mecca for both sweet and savory delicacies, where everything is prepared in-house, has offered the best of classic French pastry. Rum babas (invented by Nicolas Stohrer himself), puits d’amour, old-fashioned religieuses, exceptional vol-au-vent...

The Dolfi family, who owns the House, is faithful to tradition and wishes to keep the spirit of Stohrer alive, relying on its incomparable legacy and the know-how of head pastry chef Jeffrey Cagnes.


Kevin Lacote
Guest teacher
Teaches in:
USA, Chicago

Entering the Lycée Albert de Mun in Paris, he learned the rigor of a kitchen brigade however it was here where he discovered his passion for pastries; a choice he would choose time and time again. His apprenticeship began at the Georges V hotel, Le Cinq restaurant; it was here that he was to learn all the basics of pastry, guided by the hotel’s Pastry Chef, Fabrice Lecleir. A few years later he left this establishment for a chef de partie position at the Ambroisie restaurant, continuing his quest for knowledge and the importance of the quality and freshness of the ingredients.

The restaurant La Grande Cascade then proposed him to be Yannick Tranchant's sous chef, which was an incredible collaboration. The eventual departure of Yannick Tranchant lead him to the position as Pastry Chef at the age of 26. Following La Grande Cascade, it is at HUGO & VICTOR that gave him a sense of how to work in a shop and the idea to start such a project of his own. After which he left for Courchevel, La Table du Kilimandjaro; his meeting with Nicolas Sale and Glenn Viel, introduced him to a different ambience and a sense of fun -fortunately, as he would 2 years later join Glenn in the Le Strato restaurant Baumanière of Courchevel.

Finally his last step was as Executive Pastry Chef, under the wing of Yannick Alleno, for whom he worked for at the One&Only The Palm Hotel in Dubai and the opening of Sofitel Faubourg in Paris. His continuity of rediscovering methods, ingredients and products is all for the sole purpose of taste! Inspired by his diverse experiences, the richness of his encounters; he decided to live his life fully through the creation and interpretation of his Pastry - Tea Room.


Kirsten Tibballs
Guest teacher

Kirsten Tibballs, who Masterchef proclaims ‘the queen of chocolate’, is one of Australia’s most celebrated and internationally respected pastry chefs and chocolatiers.

Kirsten represented Australia at the World Pastry Championships in Las Vegas, where she was recognised as the best in the world for her handmade chocolates, as well as winning gold in the Pastry Olympics in Germany. She has also been a judge at the World Chocolate Masters in Paris, The Patisserie Grand Prix in Japan and The World Chocolate Masters National selections in London.

Kirsten makes regular appearances on TV, including Everyday Gourmet with Justine Schofield, and has presented numerous chocolate challenges on Masterchef to test and inspire the contestants.

She regularly contributes recipes and articles to a number of the world’s leading pastry publications including so good.., Pastry and Baking North America, Pastry and Baking Asia Pacific, Baking Business and Australasian Baker. Kirsten self-published her first cookbook, Chocolate to Savour which won an award from Gourmand for Best Photography in the UK.

As an ambassador for leading chocolate manufacturer Callebaut, she regularly travels throughout Europe and the Asia Pacific demonstrating her craft.

To transfer her knowledge to other passionate foodies and professional chefs in Australia, Kirsten established Savour Chocolate and Patisserie School in Melbourne in 2002. Savour School has a state of the art facility in Brunswick and plays host to renowned international chefs each year. Savour is in fact the only cooking school in Australia that is solely dedicated to teaching the art of chocolate and patisserie.

Many of the school’s students have gone on to open their own boutique chocolate shops and patisseries around the world.


Nicolas Bacheyre
Guest teacher
Teaches in:
USA, Chicago

Originally from southwestern France, pastry chef Nicolas Bacheyre has since his apprenticeship always sought to evolve alongside the best. Trained at Maison Pillon (Relais Dessert in Toulouse - France) by René Pillon and Yves Thuries (M.O.F), he continued his adventure in the United States with Chef Laurent Branlard (double world pastry champion) before joining Christophe Adam and Benoit Couvrand’s team at Fauchon Paris.

This 33-year-old chef is now obviously in command of the sweet offer of “Un Dimanche a Paris”, where he likes to create the desserts of the restaurant as those of the shop. He brings his experience, his technique, but especially his creativity and his particularity to weave a link between his two distinct sectors. He finds his inspiration mainly around fruits and seasonal products, combining aromatic herbs and spices. Keeping this aspect of gluttony and generosity, it applies daily to offer desserts lightened in sugars and textures, while preserving the essence of pastry: “Taste.”


Patryk Szczepański
Guest teacher

Pure Sugar was born out of passion and love towards pastry and confectionery. The main profile of my company is a wide offer of trainings, courses and consultancy from the field of modern patisserie, all adapted to the individual needs of a client. What is never changing is my constant emphasis on high quality products, clean and optimized organization of work, as well as a creative and open – minded approach at every stage of product creation.

It all began over 10 years ago when out of my passion I started working professionally in the pastry industry. I gained my experience in a wide variety of different working places, such as cafés, hotels or training centers. I started my professional career in Haffner Hotel under the watchful eye of Michał Wiśniewski who passed on to me a need for perfecting my skills, hunger for knowledge and expertise.

The next important stage in my career was gaining a position of a Pastry Chef at Hilton Hotel in Gdansk. Over there, I come across fine dining at the highest level and at the same time I was able to continue perfecting and developing my competence, abilities and engagement.

During those times, driven by my passion, I was constantly learning, acquiring knowledge, reading trade literature, attending numerous courses and consistently practicing. As a consequence, I gained a position of a Technical Advisor at Chocolate Academy in Lodz, working for Barry Callebaut worldwide leader in production of chocolate. Over there, I learned how to pass on my knowledge to others and had a unique occasion to learn from the best Pastry Chefs in Poland and numerous other countries. I would like to mention such names as Ramon Morato, who, with his knowledge, skills and kindness, opened my eyes on the issue of what it truly means to be a professional; Mathieu Dienrinck who is the perfect example of ideal work organization, Jordi Bordas, Jarek Nowakowski, Krzysztof Ilnicki, Michał Iwaniuk and Maciej Rosiński.

I sincerely hope that experiences described above, extensive knowledge about ingredients, processes and techniques, as well as my creativity, will allow me to approach your needs and expectations professionally and in a personalized manner.


Paweł Petrykowski
Guest teacher

Paulo Gelateria was created in 2016 in Gdansk, Poland by Chef Pawel Petrykowski and Pawel Bodzicki. With over 10 years experience in food service as ice cream chef, Pawel Petrykowski partnered with Pawel Bodzicki, already founder of Fabryka Lodow Naturalnych to create a full transparent and natural ice cream franchise : Paulo Gelateria. The name ‘’Paulo Gelateria’’ is the polish translation for the name ‘’Pawel’’. With its appealing customer experience in their first shop located in Gdansk, Poland, they have rapidly expanded their franchise to 7 shops, including 5 franchisees.

Chef Pawel Petrykowski is 2015 Polish ice cream champion and ranked #9 Ice cream chef in the world championship in 2016. He is also the founder of Petrykowska - opened in 2015, and owns one shop in Kozsalin and another is Sluptz, Poland. He is also a regular teacher at world renown Ashanti Culinary School located in Łódź, Poland.

Paulo Gelateria’s philosophy is all about flavour and transparency : standard flavours are sublimed by using the most premium ingredients, and ‘’avant-gardiste’’ flavours are mastered to perfection, combined with a great customer experience in each store.


Romain Dufour
Guest teacher
Teaches in:
USA, Chicago

Romain Dufour knew from an early age that he wanted to be a baker. He was inspired by his uncle who owned his own bakery in a small town near Bourges, France and where Romain apprenticed for 2 years. He knew that it could be back breaking with long hours, rising in the dark well before dawn. But, the sweet aromas and the kinship of working together to create delicious pleasures had been born. Soon Romain’s imagination and drive, led him out of this small town. He wanted to take on the new challenge of baking for hotels, the opportunity for travel and to continue to learn as much as possible.

Romain attended the Ecole de Boulangerie et de Patisserie de Paris, earning 2 diplomas in four years. For his second diploma, Romain was hired at the renowned Plaza Athenee Hotel in Paris, under the direction of Christophe Michalak, World Champion of Pastry. This experience honed Romain’s sense of rigor, his creativity and attention to detail.

After two years at the hotel, wanting to travel and see the world, Romain decided to leave Paris and headed to Dubai, United Arab Emirates where he worked for 6 years. He was initially hired as the head baker for a start-up French bakery before being recruited to the Intercontinental Hotel where he was Head Baker for three years. When the opportunity to learn a different facet of baking production arose, he took it becoming Executive Head Baker for Bateel, a fine craft bakery. Here he was exposed to different artisan products and processes on a higher scale.

Finally, in 2016, Romain arrived in Chicago, as the R&D Master Baker for Problend-Eurogerm, a French/American company specializing in dough conditioners, bread mixes and pastry mixes. In this role, he brings together his high-end baker training, extensive production experience and innate creativity to develop new, clean label recipes for an impressive list of notable clients within the dynamic food industry.


Yvan Chevalier
Guest teacher

23 years old, the chocolatier Yvan Chevalier, who grew up in Bain-de-Bretagne, was introduced to the population. "As part of his studies, Yvan Chevalier turned to a BEP pastry at Louis-Guilloux high school in Rennes," began the elected.

The young apprentice follows a one-month internship at Laurent Le Daniel in Rennes. This is where the profession and know-how are transmitted. Yvan Chevalier wishes to continue. To complete his skills, he enrolled in additional training in Nantes. There, he meets the famous chocolate maker Vincent Guerlais, who offers him a job as a worker in his chocolate factory. "At the end of his studies, Yvan Chevalier then joined the house Vincent Guerlais, Franklin Street, Nantes. "

Pastry Chef at 22.

The establishment is a recognized place for the production of pastries, macaroons and other quality chocolate specialties. Yvan quickly rose through the ranks, to be the chief chocolatier today.

The mayor went on to list the different distinctions of the young pastry chef: "Participation in television shows, especially Who will be the next great pastry chef? in 2013, on France 2, world chocolate championship, etc. "

In 2011, he had already won the 1st prize of the Serbotel contest. "At the end of 2018, Yvan Chevalier received the prestigious title of Meilleur Ouvrier de France in the chocolate-confectioner category. At this level of excellence, the products you design are almost more works of art than food."

Yvan Chevalier knew from an early age that he wanted to become a pastry chef, "by dint of making Breton fars with my mother." In response to the mayor who asked him what his future goals were, Yvan Chevalier replied: "I would see myself opening my own shop near Rennes, to keep my roots. A shop where I could work hard, but for me, and share my specialties, like my chocolate treats. " To consume without moderation.