MGM Grand Executive Pastry Chef Florent Cheveau will represent the United States in the 2018 Cacao Barry World Chocolate Masters Competition in Paris, France. Cheveau earned the title of National Chocolate Master at the USA National Selection qualifying rounds and will compete as a global finalist in the prestigious international chocolate competition next year.
World Chocolate Masters is sponsored by Cacao Barry, the leading brand of high-quality French chocolate and cocoa products, and attracts top chocolate industry attendees and professionals from around the world.
Cheveau competed in the national qualifying selection, April 28-29 in Chicago. The intense showdown challenged chefs from across the country to complete three pastry assignments, showcasing their creativity, determination, speed and skill.
“Years of on-the-job training and the opportunity to represent the United States at the World competition drove me on the path to triumph at the USA National Selection,” said Cheveau. “Competing among incredible talent in Chicago was an honor, and the experience is my inspiration as I prepare intensively for Paris.”
At the 2018 finals in Paris, Cheveau will face-off against more than 20 national finalists from around the world. Only one will be named World Chocolate Master. If Cheveau is victorious, it will be the first time the United States has taken the title.
MGM Grand Vice President of Food and Beverage Jason Shkorupa, said, “Chef Cheveau’s dedication to creating imaginative, high-quality pastry items has impressed guests at MGM Grand since he joined our team in 2015. From the desserts served in our food and beverage outlets to the intricate showpieces presented at large-scale events, his talent shines through every item he touches. We are proud that the world will get to witness his skill first-hand and wish him the best on his journey to the international finals.”
The United States qualifier, which took place at The Chicago Chocolate Academy, challenged contestants to tell a cohesive story in both flavor and aesthetics by creating a chocolate showpiece, fresh pastry and to-go snack item based around the theme “Futropolis” – visualizing the future through chocolate. Submissions were evaluated based on taste, texture and creativity.
Cheveau’s winning showpiece was an artistic representation of how construction and industrialization can encroach on natural environments. The vibrant sculpture depicted robotic bright blue hummingbirds drawing nectar from man-made red flowers growing along steel wires. His fresh pastry was a chocolate tart with candied peanuts, orange compote and Grand Marnier Chantilly mascarpone served inside a tube. For the snack-to-go item, Cheveau designed an innovative to-go container complete with a magnetic can to house his praline, lemon, hazelnut and chocolate traveling cake.
Cheveau trained for the qualifier for five months, working eight hours a day in the pastry kitchen after his shift at MGM Grand. As executive pastry chef, he oversees preparation, creation, execution and presentation of all pastry operations for the 5,044-room property. Balancing his daytime duties with planning for the prestigious contest was a labor of love, and he’s ready to do it again on the international level in 2018.