Cacao Barry – the world’s leading brand of high-quality French chocolate and cocoa products for gourmet professionals – has announced the finalists selected to compete in the 2015 L’Art du Chocolatier Challenge. Now in its fourth edition, the national competition provides a platform for talented U.S. pastry chefs and chocolatiers to demonstrate their creativity and craftsmanship through the medium of chocolate.

The final roster of competitors includes:

Wilfredo Barajas – The Peninsula (Chicago)

Helen Hong – Four Seasons Hotel (Chicago) 

Todd Owen – Belterra Park Gaming & Entertainment Center (Cincinnati)

Anthony Vellut – ARIA Resort & Casino (Las Vegas)

Keith Wallace – Four Seasons Hotel (Miami)

Joshua Werner – Patisserie 46 (Minneapolis)

As part of the selection process, each candidate submitted a professional portfolio for evaluation. The final competition will be held on May 14-15, 2015, at the state-of-the-art Barry Callebaut Chocolate Academy in Chicago.

“After an extensive candidate review, we identified a group of professionals who truly captured the spirit of Cacao Barry,” said Jérôme Landrieu, Pastry Chef and Director of the CHOCOLATE ACADEMY™ Chicago. “Each finalist demonstrated the creativity, innovation and passion that embodies the art of fine French chocolate.”

In mid-April, finalists will ship 30 pieces of chocolate ganache bonbons to Chicago where they will be judged on taste, texture and appearance one month later during the competition in May. Over the course of the two-day competition, finalists will also prepare an original chocolate nut bar, soft caramel, gâteaux de voyage and original chocolate showpiece for judging. A panel of renowned culinary experts will evaluate all entries based on taste, appearance, creativity and interpretation of this year’s competition theme – “The Roaring Twenties Chicago.” The winning chef will be named the Cacao Barry U.S. Chocolatier of the Year 2015.

The L’Art du Chocolatier Challenge is an initiative of leading chocolate gourmet brand Cacao Barry, which is part of the Barry Callebaut Group.