Elias Läderach of Switzerland won the 2018 World Chocolate Masters competition, sponsored by premium chocolate brand Cacao Barry at the Salon du Chocolat in Paris last week.

After conducting preliminary selection rounds last year, the final competition pit top chocolatiers and pastry chefs from 20 countries against each other for the title of World Chocolate Master, which has only been awarded six times before.

Contestants were asked to interpret through their creations the theme of “Futropolis.” The jury looked for innovative taste combinations with chocolate, forward-thinking patisserie concepts and design defining tomorrow's commercial patisserie and chocolaterie presentations. The jury also looked for concepts that reduce ecological footprint, bring healthier food to the table and give new impulses to local traditions. Changing consumer preferences, trends and new technology were also at the heart of the creative challenges.

During the first day of competition, chefs were tasked with making a travel chocolate cake and chocolate showpieces. The second day the chefs were asked to make moulded chocolate bonbons, a chocolate snack to go and a “chocolate bar of the future.” On the third day, the Top 10 finalists executed “Fresh Patisserie of Futropolis” and their chocolate design for “City of Tomorrow.”

Läderach, a 29-year-old pastry chef for Confiseur Läderach AG, earned the top spot with 552 points. He also received awards for showpiece, snack to go, praline and chocolate design. Läderach also won the press award from 40 journalists representing international pastry magazines.

Describing his “City of Tomorrow” piece, Läderach said: "What you see is a 3D painting that depicts a sophisticated interplay between the movement of nature's leaves and silence of the woman inside. This chocolate design really reflects my passion and love for chocolate."

Yoann Laval of France took second place with 529 points. The 26-year-old chef chocolatier for Delices Des Sens didn’t win any additional awards.

Florent Cheveau, the 36-year-old executive pastry chef of Las Vegas’ MGM Grand Hotel, represented the United States in the competition. He placed third, earning 517 points. Cheveau also took home the pastry award.

"This soft chocolate tart pairs a lovely hazelnut flavor with fresh ingredients like mango, lime, chili and passion fruit. Really fresh, really crunchy,” he said.

Cheveau competed against three other pastry chefs for the U.S. National Chocolate Master title during a three-assignment selection round hosted April 28-29, 2017 at the Chocolate Academy in Chicago. 

Cheveau told Candy Industry after the U.S. selection round that it’s necessary to create all the pieces before the competition and then repeat the process “perfectly” and in a timely manner during the event.

“I did what I had to do,” he said.