Cacao Barry, the premium French brand of chocolate and cocoa products for gourmet professionals, has appointed Simon Brégardis, executive pastry chef at Fontainebleau Miami Beach, as the newest member of its prestigious Ambassador Club.

Simon Brégardis, executive pastry chef at Fontainebleau Miami Beach and the newest member of its prestigious Cacao Barry Ambassador ClubBrégardis, an accomplished French-born pastry chef, is one of only 11 Cacao Barry ambassadors located in the United States. The invitation-only club includes an international membership of more than 100 pastry chefs and chocolatiers from more than 20 countries around the world.

“Each Cacao Barry ambassador is carefully selected based on their unique skill set,” said Alexandra Urbe-Adams, senior brand manager, Region Americas. “Chef Brégardis represents the whole package with experience in every segment of our industry. We were impressed with his performance during the 2012 L’Art du Chocolatier Challenge, especially his amazing attention to detail and respect for flavors. It is a very special moment for us as we welcome such an accomplished chef to our club.”

Brégardis has adopted a global approach to his work. His creations are influenced by the cuisines of different cultures, while maintaining many touches of classic French pastry, which perfectly complements the rich French heritage of Cacao Barry. As a new ambassador, he will share his expertise and chocolate-inspired creations with other chefs in the U.S. and globally.

“Being appointed as a Cacao Barry Ambassador is a fabulous honor for me,” shared Brégardis. “I look forward to exchanging ideas, techniques and experiences with talented professionals across the U.S. Maintaining a close connection to the chef community ensures a legacy of strong craftsmen for years to come. I am excited to share my passion for chocolate with this iconic club of artisans.”

Brégardis graduated from the Centre de Formation Des Apprentis in La Roche Sur Yon, France in 2002 where he studied pastry, baking and chocolate fundamentals. That same year, he moved to Paris to work as a pastry commis at the prestigious pâtisserie Fauchon, making entremêts. Inspired by the exchange of ideas and techniques among the elite pastry chefs at Fauchon, Brégardis entered the world of fine dining as a pastry chef at Citrus Étoile, by Gilles Epié. During his time at Citrus Étoile, Chef Brégardis created new menu concepts, mastered plated dessert techniques and gained a new perspective for working under the service pressure of a restaurant environment.

Eager to discover pastry in a new culture, he moved to Las Vegas, Nevada in 2007 to work as a cook at Bellagio Hotel and Resort under Jean-Philippe Maury and Claude Escamilla. In this role he created a dynamic banquet of pastries that incorporated techniques he acquired from working in both French and American pastry kitchens. Brégardis was quickly promoted to assistant executive pastry chef, where he was responsible for menu development, and VIP event and high-volume dessert banquet production. During his tenure at Bellagio, Brégardis became increasingly familiar with chocolate while working under celebrated chef Sylvain Bortolini.

In 2012, Brégardis won the Cacao Barry L’Art du Chocolatier Challenge, earning him the title of Chocolatier of the Year.

In addition to Brégardis, the Cacao Barry USA ambassador team includes:

Melissa Coppel – Owner, Sucre LLC Consulting, Las Vegas, NV

Dimitri Fayard – Executive Pastry Chef at The Peninsula, Chicago

Lauren Haas – Dpt. Chair, Pastry Chef Instructor at Johnson & Wales, Providence, RI

Franck Iglesias – Executive Pastry Chef at Foxwoods Resort Casino, Mashantucket, CT

Chef Jacquy Pfeiffer and Chef Sébastien Canonne – Co-founders of The French Pastry School, Chicago

Rocco Lugrine – Pastry Chef Instructor at the Art Institute of Philadelphia

Frédéric Monti – Corporate Pastry Chef at PreGel America, Concord, NC

Gabriele Riva –  Consultant, NYC, NY

Amanda Rockman – Executive Pastry Chef at South Congress Hotel, Austin, TX