The World Chocolate Masters, which claims to be the most challenging and inspiring chocolate competition in the world of gastronomy, launched its seventh edition yesterday evening among the crème de la crème of the UK's pastry chefs at Lima Floral, London.
"Plants will be grown underground and on city rooftops," said Ramon MoratÁ³, global creative director of competition organiser Cacao Barry and member of the World Chocolate Masters Committee.
"Gastronomy will partner with science and technology to create new multi-sensory sensations. Chefs will look to designers, engineers and scientists to create new food shapes, edible packaging and reduce food waste. Consumers' moods and wellbeing will be at the centre of food creation. We want to see how chocolate chefs in this competition come up with ideas and a vision for these challenges. Their creativity in all these fields will yield an entirely new basket of shapes and flavours for chocolate."
The evening, hosted by Robert Harrison, sales director gourmet - Northern Europe, for Callebaut, described the World Chocolate Masters as "the premium international event dedicated to chocolate, promoting the best chocolate artisans across the world."
Chocolatier Ruth Hinks, who came fifth in the World Chocolate Masters in 2013, said: "Do it! It was great for my business; but be prepared - you have to commit."
Fellow World Chocolate Masters competitor and Acorn Award winner Alistair Birt added: "I really enjoyed the competition. I improved myself and my skills - it makes you push yourself hard and I met lots of new people, including my new boss [Markus Bohr]."
Bohr, executive pastry chef at Harrods, who has judged the competition twice, commented: "The World Chocolate Masters is a phenomenal experience and each edition adds a different dynamism and shows us new techniques and flavours."
Gary Hunter, acting vice-principal at Westminster Kingsway College, who helped develop the competition, said: "The World Chocolate Masters is a chocolate melting pot of new ideas and ideals. It brings the best people in the world of chocolate together in a room full of energy and passion."
For full details of the competition, registration and information on a new coaching and development boot camp initiative visit www.worldchocolatemasters.com
UK & Ireland pre-selections will take place in October 2017 with only one contestant per participating country proclaimed 'National Chocolate Master'. The winner will represent his or her country during the global final in October 2018 where an international jury will choose the new World Chocolate Master.
UK & Ireland competitors will be asked to create a chocolate showpiece called Citizens of Futropolis, a hybrid pastry reflecting 'the flavours of Futropolis', and a chocolate snack to go. plus one other challenge to be confirmed. In each of the assignments, the contestants have to integrate the theme: in the shape, design and presentation - and even more in the selection of ingredients they will use. Their creations will be evaluated by a professional jury of independent chefs and chocolate experts.