Japanese chef Shigeo Hirai has been named winner of the third World Chocolate Masters competition in Paris.
Hirai, who went up against 18 other entrants from across the world during the three-day competition, is the sous chef at the Grand Hyatt Tokyo hotel. He was crowned World Chocolate Master 2009 after impressing an international jury of 22 leading chocolate professionals, working to a theme of ‘haute couture'.
Second place was awarded to Lionel Clement from USA and third place to Germany's Michaela Karg, who also won the Best Small Chocolate Showpiece award.
The UK's Mark Tilling, who is pastry chef at Lainston House Hotel in Hampshire, came in at seventh place (pictured).
The Best Praline award went to Belgium's Ryan Stevenson, with Spain's Sergi Vela Cardenas being awarded the Best Chocolate Pastry prize and the Best Chocolate Dessert award going to Switzerland's Fabian Sänger.
The judges were led by President of Honour, Yves Thuriès, Meilleur Ouvrier de France, and included Presidents Jacques Bellanger, Meilleur Ouvrier de France, and Jean-Philippe Darcis, Belgium's First Chocolatier.
Shigeo Hirai, who was also recognised in the Press award and for Best Artistic Chocolate Showpiece, was awarded the World Chocolate Masters 2009 trophy as well as a €25,000 (£22,800) prize package.
By Rosie Birkett
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