2017 US National Selection winner WCM
Interview Florent Cheveau
How does it feel to win the US National Selections?
“It feels great! It’s a privilege for me to represent the USA during the big finals. It’s been a great experience so far. In my opinion, the World Chocolate Masters is the most beautiful competition that’s out there. Cacao Barry is doing a great job in organizing this unique event. The support and commitment you get from the team is incredibly motivating!”
How has winning the USA National Selections impacted your life?
“On a personal level, nothing much has changed. I’m back to work now. On a professional level, a lot did change! I got a lot of publicity and people trying to contact me to send their compliments. It feels great!”
Already preparing for the big World Chocolate Masters Final in Paris?
“I’m slowly starting to prepare myself now. I’m putting some ideas together and try to visualize them. When that’s finished, I’ll start working and experimenting with the products. But right now, I’m still trying to finalize my ideas. I want to find the right direction first.”
Do you get together with other chefs or designers to brainstorm?
“There are indeed other people involved. I usually contact a couple of designers and invite them over for a brainstorming session. It’s important that other people join in, just to get different visions and opinions on your theme. I must make sure that my vision on Futropolis is projected in my creations, because both the jury and the audience need to be able to fully understand it. That’s why it can be refreshing and inspiring to collaborate with other designers.”
Are there other things that inspire you to create?
“Right now, I’m watching a lot of movies and series that take place in the future. I look for different styles to really define the future. As for the flavours, I’m always doing research online to find the products and ingredients I like. I’m looking at the trends, but I also try to incorporate classic elements. There are some very interesting products on the market.”
“I like my flavours simple yet intense. The couverture I like most is Ocoa™ 70,4%, because of its strong and intense cocoa flavour.”
For this competition, you’re working with Cacao Barry products. What’s your favourite couverture?
“What I like about Cacao Barry products is their diversity. There are just so many flavours to choose from! The couverture I like the most is the Ocoa™ 70,4% because of its strong and intense cocoa flavour.”
How do you bring all products you work with together?
“I start by thinking about the type of flavour I want to bring. It has to be something pure and intense. I align all the different chocolate flavours to I try out every single one of them. Then I start combining different flavours to decide which ones I will use eventually.”
The World Chocolate Masters is all about finding your own signature style. How would you describe yours?
“I like flavours that are simple yet intense. The classics very well executed. To be honest, I’m a real chocoholic with a sweet tooth. My favourite chocolate is dark with a strong taste.”
“There’s a revolution going on in the world of chocolate and pastry. Futropolis helps chefs to get a better understanding of what is to come and how to take steps towards the future.”
Futropolis is a very futuristic theme. Is it difficult to work with?
“The theme is definitely challenging. But at the same time, the possibilities are endless. For instance, you can mix futuristic shapes and designs with elements of nature, which is very interesting.”
“I think this Futropolis theme also indicates that there’s an evolution going on in the world of chocolate and pastry. Never before has there been a competition that lets chefs shape the future with their craft. This competition helps us to get a better understanding of what is to come. Both visually and flavourwise.”
“Chocolate is something that reminds me of my childhood. It creates a sort of comfortzone. It’s a matter of combining these old familiar flavours with exciting new elements.”
In which direction will chocolate and pastry evolve? Do you see change among consumers?
“The way we create our pastry will change thanks to technology. But I don’t necessarily think people’s taste preferences will change drastically. For me, the taste of chocolate is something that reminds me of my childhood. It creates a sort of comfort zone. It’s a matter of combining these familiar flavours with exciting new elements.”
What does Futropolis mean to you?
“When I close my eyes and think of Futropolis, I see beautiful architecture, futuristic designs and a lot of green nature. There’s this perfect harmony between all elements. People are living there with respect for the environment. I would surely like to live there.”