MGM Grand Executive Pastry Chef Florent Cheveau was named one of the world’s top chocolatiers at the 2018 Cacao Barry World Chocolate Masters Competition in Paris, France. The only United States delegate at the competition, Cheveau placed third out of 20 international competitors in the prestigious event. The award-winning Instant CH3 dessert is now available for guests to order at FiAMMA Italian Kitchen, located in The District at MGM Grand.
The soft chocolate tart, which wowed judges and earned Cheveau the “Best Fresh Pastry” distinction in the competition, layers crunchy hazelnuts and a creamy chocolate ganache with a filling made from fresh mango, lime, chili and passion fruit underneath a chocolate dome.
The Cacao Barry World Chocolate Masters Competition challenges finalists from around the globe to take a specific competition theme and tell a cohesive story in both flavor and aesthetics. With the 2018 competition theme “Futropolis,” the creations channeled the mega-cities of the future. Cheveau’s vision drew inspiration from chocolate’s molecular structure. Each of his seven creations incorporated CH3, one of the molecules found in cocoa, symbolizing expertise, skill and the knowledge of cocoa. While Cheveau also created a travel cake, a showpiece comprised completely of chocolate, a to-go snack and more, it was his fresh pastry that won the judges’ hearts and taste buds.
“My goal was to make the judges feel pure happiness the moment they tasted my creation,” said Cheveau. “I knew I could achieve this by understanding the human palate and combining basic ingredients such as acid, fat, natural oils and of course, chocolate. It took 155 test recipes and more than 600 hours just to find that perfect balance of those elements for my chocolate bonbon.”
Cheveau’s road to international acclaim began in 2017 when he earned the title of USA Chocolate Master at the Cacao Barry National Selection qualifying rounds. Over the course of three days, contestants demonstrate their mastery of chocolate and pastry techniques through various assignments and are evaluated by how they incorporate the theme through taste, texture and creativity.
Cheveau trained extensively for the 2018 World Final for more than a year, working eight hours a day in the pastry kitchen after his shift at MGM Grand. As executive pastry chef, Cheveau oversees preparation, creation, execution and presentation of pastry operations for a variety of restaurants, as well as catering and banquets for the 5,044-room hotel-casino. Post-competition, Cheveau can now add creating his award-winning Instant CH3 pastry for all to enjoy to his list of daily duties at MGM Grand.