Four experts recognized as “Legends of Chocolate”
New York City’s Big Chocolate Show honors individuals who continue to have a significant impact on the cacao and chocolate industry.
The Big Chocolate Show held its second annual event in New York City on Saturday, Oct. 7. The event’s highlight was honoring four experts as “Legends of Chocolate” for their contributions to the craft chocolate industry. The four honorees included cacao and chocolate flavor expert Ed Seguine; the father of American craft chocolate John Scharffenberger; authors Sophie & Michael Coe, and cacao geneticist Juan Carlos Motamayor.
ED SEGUINE is one of the great champions of cacao, sustainability, the cacao farmer, improved in-country, post-harvest practices, and the importance of fine flavor in chocolate. Seguine heads up Seguine Cacao, Cocoa and Chocolate Advisors and is a consultant to the Guittard Chocolate Co.
JOHN SCHARFFENBERGER is considered the first American (along with his now deceased business partner Robert Steinberg) to make fine bean-to-bar chocolate and recognized as the father of the American craft chocolate movement. In 1996, Scharffenberger and Steinberg founded Scharffen Berger Chocolate Maker.
JUAN CARLOS MOTAMAYOR is program manager on genomics and genetics at Mars and a world-renowned researcher whose work has led to a complete remapping of cacao genetics.
SOPHIE & MICHAEL COE are co-authors of The True History of Chocolate, the most scrupulous and complete early history of chocolate written to date. The book was originally published in 1996 and updated in 2007.
The mission of these awards, according to the event’s organizers, is to recognize “those whose work has had a significant impact on the world of chocolate as we experience it today. Efforts in the areas of science, chocolate-making, innovation, education/scholarship, awareness, and corporate social responsibility.”
These four honorees represent the inaugural class of Legends in what will continue to be an annual, and much anticipated, event.
The Legends of Chocolate event was hosted by Lisa Mateo, a two-time Emmy nominee and currently co-host of PIX 11’s “Celebrity Taste Makers” show.
A select committee chaired by Clay Gordon, chocolate critic-at-large and author, and consisting of Amsterdam-based Caroline Lubbers, cocoa and chocolate expert; Michael Laiskonis, renowned pastry chef and creative director of New York City’s Institute of Culinary Education; Alexandra Leaf, director of the Big Chocolate Show and owner of Chocolate Tours of New York City, and Bernard Pacyniak, editor-in-chief, Candy Industry Magazine, chose the honorees.
"The creation and launch of Legends of Chocolate in 2017 speaks to the trajectory of fine chocolate in the world,” says Leaf, The Big Chocolate Show’s director. “The awards are an idea whose time has come."
This year’s Legends of Chocolate award winners will have their photos hung just opposite the Institute of Culinary Education’s Chocolate Lab.
The Big Chocolate Show has become the East Coast destination event for showcasing craft chocolate makers, chefs, and experts from around the globe. The event included master tasting classes, book signings, live demonstrations, and opportunities to meet chocolate makers and purchase their exquisite products.
Curtis Vreeland, president of Vreeland & Associates, specializes in confectionery market research. He has been spotting trends in the premium confectionery sector for Candy Industry Magazine for many years.