Elaine Gonzalez, master chocolatier emerita and ambassador for Cargill's Peter's chocolate brand, is retiring after making her final appearance at the RCI Annual National Convention and Industry Exposition, June 21-25 in Lexington, Ky. Gonzalez demonstrated chocolate handling and sculpting at the Cargill Cocoa & Chocolate booth during the convention and is the keynote speaker at the formal dinner this evening at the show.

 "Elaine has been the creative and artistic face of Peter's chocolate for 27 years," says Don Pearson, president, Cargill Cocoa & Chocolate. "She has dedicated her professional life to the artistry of chocolate ... and the chocolate industry at large ... Peter's is forever indebted to Elaine for her grace, professionalism and passion."

 Throughout her career, Gonzalez has been a famed teacher at institutions such as The Culinary Institute of America, The Malley School of Merchandising for Retail Confectioners and The Wilton School of Confectionery Art. For almost 20 years, Gonzalez also led tours of Mexico, exploring cacao plantations in Tabasco, observing chocolate traditions in Oaxaca and studying ancient chocolate rituals in Mayan and Zapotec villages.

 Over the years, she has received numerous awards, including the prestigious Henry J. Bornhofft Memorial Award for outstanding instructional contributions to the confectionery industry as well as one of the industry's highest honors: induction into the Candy Hall of Fame.