After an extensive search, Barry Callebaut has found this year’s top chocolatier. A weekend long competition at Barry Callebaut’s state-of-the-art facility concluded Saturday with the announcement of this year’s winner — Jerome Jacob.

Jerome Jacob Showpiece
Jacob's winning chocolate show piece

Jacob received top honors at this year’s competition with the title of Chocolatier of the Year 2013, as well as best tasting and best showpiece. Second place went to Sean Pera and Romain Fournel came in third. Also participating in the competition were Kei Hasegawa and Santosh Tiptur.

Each contestant was to create a chocolate showpiece, chocolate tablets, desserts in a glass and sugar confections that fit this year’s theme of “Africa.” They had three hours to complete showpieces, including molding, piecing and placing together. While many parts of the statues were made on site so that judges were able to assess technical difficulty and skill level, contestants were also allowed to bring pieces that were already partially formed.

Judges for the competition included John Kraus, proprietor and chef, Patisserie 46; Jerome Landrieu, Cacao Barry technical advisory & director of the Barry Callebaut Chocolate Academy Center; Frederic Moreau, Cacao Barry ambassador and executive pastry chef, The St. Regis Monarch Beach Resort; Josep Maria Ribe, technical advisor, Chocolate Academy Center; and, acting as head judge, Christophe Morel, master chocolatier, and Cacao Barry ambassador.

Born in Paris, Jacob, got his start in pastry at the age of 16, quickly decided that chocolate was where his passions were. He participated in his first contest in 2007 before moving to the United States in 2008. He began working as the assistant pastry chef at the Bellagio Resort and Casino in Las Vegas in 2010. He also recently received first place honors and the title of Chocolatier of the Year at the Pastry Live in Atlanta.