Cacao Barry®, the French premium chocolate brand, is proud to announce that Simon Bregardis has been named Chocolatier of the Year in its annual L’Art du Chocolatier™ Challenge, an all-chocolate, U.S. competition that encourages creativity and expertise in designing and executing original creations. Bregardis is an Assistant Pastry Chef at Bellagio Resort & Casino in Las Vegas.

“Cacao Barry created this unique competition to give pastry chefs and chocolatiers a stage to showcase their creativity and skill through the medium of chocolate,” said Alexandra Urbe, Cacao Barry® Brand Manager, Americas. “We are pleased to congratulate Chef Bregardis on earning Chocolatier of the Year.”

“I am honored to be recognized for my work and want to thank Cacao Barry for its dedication to innovation and providing chefs from around the country a wonderful opportunity to demonstrate their talent,” said Bregardis.

In a first for the competition, Bregardis not only earned the coveted title, but also won two additional awards in the competition: Best Showpiece and Best Workmanship.

“Chef Bregardis undoubtedly set a new standard for our competition,” added Urbe. “His showpiece was an impressive work of art that clearly showed his incredible talent, focus and mastery of techniques. Additionally his work was extremely consistent, precise and flawless.”

During the two-day competition on May 5 and 6, seven pastry chefs competed at the state-of-the-art Barry Callebaut Chocolate Academy in Chicago for the coveted title and chance to win $15,000 worth of prizes from Cacao Barry® and another $15,000 worth of certificates and prizes, which were generously donated by sponsors: Boiron, Demarle, Pregel, Bakon USA, Savy-Goisseau, Waring, Technobake, Tomric and Solia.

Other awards that were presented included:

Second place to Florent Cheveau, Pastry Chef, Jean-Philippe Pâtisserie, Las Vegas

Third place to Russ Thayer, Assistant Pastry Chef, PreGel America, North Carolina

Best Tasting to Florent Cheveau, Pastry Chef, Jean-Philippe Pâtisserie, Las Vegas

In addition to the title, Bregardis won a $4,000 cash prize, a course at the Chocolate Academy, round trip airfare to Chicago plus accommodations, a shared feature in a leading food industry publication, a signed copy of Ramon Morató’s book “Chocolate” plus $4,000 worth of gifts and certificates donated by sponsors.

Cheveau earned $6,000 worth of prizes as the second place winner as well as the Best Tasting award for his near-perfect score in taste, an uncommon accomplishment. As third place winner, Thayer earned $5,000 in prizes.

On the first day of competition, each finalist submitted two finished gâteaux de voyage and two containers of spreadable paste. Participants also had six hours to prepare their original chocolate pastry, chocolate tablets and tabletop showpiece using Cacao Barry®.

Highlights of the final day included renowned AlambiQ mixologist Freddy Diaz preparing Boiron purée-based cocktails and La Guilde Culinaire celebrity chef Jonathan Garnier preparing artisanal hors d’oeuvres using Mycryo®, Cacao Barry’s unique powder form cocoa butter.

The panel of globally renowned pastry chefs who evaluated the chocolate creations included:

Ramon Morató, Cacao Barry® Technical Advisor & Director, Barry Callebaut Chocolate Academy, Spain

Christophe Morel, Master Chocolatier & Pastry Chef, Christophe Morel Chocolatier and Cacao Barry® Ambassador, Canada

Dimitri Fayard, Pastry Chef Instructor, The French Pastry School, Chicago

Jonathan Garnier, Chef & Co-Owner, La Guilde Culinaire and Mycryo® Ambassador,  Canada

Sarah Kosikowski, Executive Pastry Chef, Trump International Hotel & Tower, Chicago

Patrick Fahy, Executive Pastry Chef, The Sofitel, Chicago and Cacao Barry® Ambassador

Jerome Landrieu, Cacao Barry® Technical Advisor & Director of the Barry Callebaut Chocolate Academy, Chicago

With a rich French heritage dating back to 1842, Cacao Barry® is associated with innovation and passion among the finest pastry chefs in the world. Since founder Charles Barry travelled to Africa in search of the finest cocoa beans to create his first connoisseur’s chocolate 170 years ago, the brand’s vision always has been that the chocolate-maker’s craft is an art form.

More information about the winners, results and the competition is available at