Introducing the contestants of the UK&IE Junior Chocolate Masters Competition: Nicole McKenzie

Introducing the contestants of the UK&IE Junior Chocolate Masters Competition: Nicole McKenzie

Each year the next generation of chocolate talents showcase their skills during the UK and Ireland Junior Chocolate Masters Competition. For the next edition taking place at the UK Chocolate Academy™ centre on the 9th of June, the contestants will be judged over 3 categories:

• Chocolate showpiece (minimum size 75 cm)
• Snacking bar
• Vegan chocolate plated dessert

This year the  four contestants, will try to impress  the jury with their chocolate passion and artistic skills in order to win the coveted title of UK&IE Junior Chocolate Masters 2018. The winner will have the opportunity to attend the World Chocolate Masters final in Paris during the Salon du Chocolate this October.

Curious to know more about those young chocolatiers we have asked them a few questions about their passion and their preparation.

The third contestant we would like to introduce is Ms Nicole McKenzie, Commis Pastry Chef at Resorts World Birmingham.

  • How did you fall in love with chocolate and pastry ?

My initial love for pastry comes from my family. From a young age I have been in the kitchen with my grandma and mom making homemade pastries and cakes. As for chocolate I have always loved to eat it, but only became infatuated when I took a chocolate class and began to learn about all the complex types and flavours of chocolate.  It’s incredible how versatile chocolate can be in application and there is really no limit.

  • How are you inspired by the theme blue planet ?

This theme really is inspiring me by  showcasing a wide range of shapes and colours. When I watched the Blue Planet series I really admired the different types of coral and how the sea holds so much beauty as well as the movement of the water. I will aim to represent the colourful varieties of the sea and its movement as well.

  • How are you preparing for the competition ?

Initially by watching again the Blue Planet series.( smile). It’s really incredible to see the variations across the different areas the sea can cover across the globe and all the incredible creatures of this habitat.

As for my preparations I have been practicing a lot, researching techniques and  learning a lot from my mentor, Darryl Collins.

  • What is your favourite Cacao Barry chocolate ? Why ?


Initially I would say the Zephyr Caramel, as I really enjoy the undertones of caramel flavour. However after sampling the new Ruby chocolate that would have to be my favourite as it has a slight acidic taste which was a pleasant surprise for me. I think it’s not too sweet and with a nice balance.

  • Any ambition for the future you'd like to share with us ?

My primary ambitions for the future is to continue to learn and grow as a Pastry chef. I love learning about new flavours and techniques and would love to showcase these innovative desserts as a form of  sensory menu someday.

Thanks a lot Nicole and we wish you all the best for the Junior Chocolate Masters Competition on the 9th June !

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