More than 150 chefs, shop owners, culinary professionals, and culinary students descended on Houston, Texas for a celebration of the pastry arts, taking place March 6, 2017 at the famed Culinary Institute LeNôtre.

Attendees were treated to the words of speaker Roland Mesnier, former White House Executive Pastry Chef of 26 years, as well as Chef Charles Carroll, author of Tasting for Success and the past President of the World Association of Chefs Societies.

Panels at the Symposium included discussions on topics such as Pastry for Profit, Trends and Innovation, Food Safety Modernization Act, and A Charitable and Educational Community. The Symposium was interactive, as attendees were encouraged to participate in live polls and live tweeting their questions and comments to the panels held during the event.

One of the biggest draws of the day was the ACF Chocolate and Sugar Décor Competition, which was open to both professionals and LeNôtre students. 20 competitors were judged on their sugar art by 3 ACF (American Culinary Federation) accredited individuals chaired by Chef Adam Heath. The First Prize Gold medal was won by Nicolas Blouin, a pastry chef from Rosewood Mansion in Dallas, who also won a $2,000 prize.

50% of the proceeds from the day’s event was donated to Icing Smiles, a nonprofit organization that provides custom celebration cakes to families impacted by the critical illness of a child, with the goal of providing a temporary escape from worry and creating positive memories during a difficult time.

The 2017 LeNôtre National Symposium on Pastry Arts was part of a larger celebration of the Institute’s 100th graduating class. Given the success of the inaugural event, the school plans to make the National Symposium a regular event for the industry.