The impetus for this blog is my upcoming trip to the University of Chicago’s French Pastry School to attend a course entitled “Chocolate Showpieces for Competition or Display.” I have been blown away by Master Chocolatier Stéphane Leroux’s chocolate sculpture for years and jumped at the opportunity to study with him. As you will read in his bio below Leroux is truly a master of his craft and each day as the class approaches my excitement to learn from someone of his caliber builds. I find myself thinking, “Why keep all this inspiration to myself?” The class begins on May 2nd and until I begin posting all the revelations I experience I’ll share some of the research I’m doing to prepare.
Stéphane Leroux, a native of Brussels, shares his unique talent and style teaching internationally, in addition to competing internationally. Leroux is considered the best craftsman of “chocolate matter in the world”. His three-dimensional works appear remarkably true to life. Acclaimed as a great master by his peers from Chicago to Tokyo, Paris to Buenos Aires, Stéphane Leroux is driven by the ethics of the Compagnons du Devoir du tour de France, an association supporting craftworkers and tradespeople. In 2001, he won first place in the Trophée Pascal Caffet in Troyes, France. He was twice named “Chocolate Creation” World Champion, and placed second overall in the 2004 World Pastry Championship. During the same year, he earned the Meilleur Ouvrier de France title, the highest distinction a pastry chef can achieve in his career. Leroux is currently a chocolatier and instructor for Belcolade (in Belgium) where he recently co-created a stunning Art Nouveau chocolate sculpture two meters in height for the Bruges Chocolate Festival in April, 2007. Leroux published a new book in 2008 entitled, Matière Chocolat that has now been translated into eight languages. In addition to the array of stunning images in the book, it also includes a practical manual illustrated with more than 1200 photos retracing step-by-step the techniques he has developed.
The French Pastry School
The French Pastry School at City Colleges of Chicago is a premier international institution of pastry arts education. It offers the opportunity to work one on one with world-renowned chefs and learn from their direction, their stories and their successes and failures. The French Pastry School also offers the opportunity to work with the latest in culinary technology in its state-of-the-art kitchens. As it’s website says, “It strives to offer an innovative, effective, superior education in which students are equipped to achieve excellence in the pastry, baking and confectionary arts.”