The World Chocolate Masters 2011: The competition

Frank Haasnoot's winning creation

The World Chocolate Masters is, by a considerable margin, the world’s most important competition for chocolatiers and pastry chefs. Organised for the fourth time by Cacao Barry, Callebaut and Carma, the competition sees 20 or so contestants work unaided for three days to produce a huge array of chocolate products under the constant scrutiny of a highly qualified judging panel.

It’s an emotionally exhausting experience, with the tiniest mistake likely to seriously impact rankings. Lots can (and does) go wrong, with collapsing chocolate showpieces and splitting ganaches making for compelling viewing.


This year’s theme – Cocoa, Quetzalcoatl’s Gift – was intended to encourage the participants and spectators to consider the origin of cocoa in South America. The Aztecs believed that it was the god Quetzalcoatl who created cocoa as a divine gift to relieve fatigue and provide pleasurable rest.


Showpieces – the one to two-metre-high chocolate statues that are a key part of the competition – were inspired by the mystery surrounding the discovery of cocoa in the rainforest and the numerous legends regarding the gift of Quetzalcoatl to its peoples.


The other elements the contestants made, including an entremet (a very complicated cake), a plated chocolate dessert and moulded and dipped pralines, also linked back to the theme, using the colours, flavours and textures associated with the early history of cocoa in South America.

Industry relevance


Looking up at the towering monoliths created by the chocolatiers, it’s natural to question the competition’s relevance to the average restaurant kitchen. But Simon Harris, western Europe customer marketing manager at Barry Callebaut, says the competition is highly significant for anyone who works with chocolate.


“This is the cutting edge of chocolate – it is where you’ll see new developments. Over the past two or three days I’ve seen several entirely new techniques. You could draw an analogy with high-end fashion shows: what’s going on here will eventually filter down to the wider industry.


“The level of ability has risen considerably in recent years and the standard is now very high.”

Competition winner


After three days’ intense competition among the 19 national Chocolate Masters, Dutchman Frank Haasnoot was crowned the World Chocolate Master 2011 by an international jury composed of 22 pastry and chocolate professionals including the UK’s inimitable James Petrie, head of creative development at The Fat Duck Group.


Haasnoot took home the World Chocolate Masters 2011 trophy specially created by leading Dutch designer Rob Verhoeven, as well as a €25,000 prize package. In second place was Yoshiaki Uezaki from Japan and in third place Palle Sorensen from Denmark.


Haasnoot’s aggressive showpiece cinched the win; the comparatively young chocolatier was also praised for his daring flavour combinations and all-round technical prowess.

In addition to the overall award, Frank Haasnoot won special awards for Best Gastronomic Chocolate Dessert, Best Chocolate Showpiece and the International Press Award.

The jury evaluated all 19 candidates on their technical skills, presentation, the cleanliness of the work areas, and – critically – on innovation and taste.

Related News

James Petrie

The World Chocolate Masters 2011: James Petrie

John Costello

The World Chocolate Masters 2011: UK contestant John Costello

Barry Callebaut is the largest chocolate manufacturer in the world

World Chocolate Masters 2011: The Barry Callebaut story

Hotel Chocolat, the cocoa grower and chocolatier, has launched the Roast + Conch café concept in Seven Dials with a fine dining restaurant to follow soon

Hotel Chocolat: Café concept launches, fine dining restaurant next

James Petrie, known as Jocky, has announced he is to leave Heston Blumenthal's Fat Duck restaurant business

James Petrie leaves The Fat Duck to 'explore other opportunities'

Ruth Hinks, who will be representing the UK in the World Chocolate Masters competition this week, has given her top tips to becoming a pastry chef

World Chocolate Masters' UK candidate Ruth Hinks shares pastry chef career tips

Ruth Hinks gave the UK its highest ever ranking in the World Chocolate Masters after being placed within the top five in the 2013 final earlier today

UK's Ruth Hinks in top five of World Chocolate Masters 2013

The UK candidate for the World Chocolate Masters 2013 will be determined at a final at the Speciality and Fine Food Fair in London in September

World Chocolate Masters 2013: UK finalists revealed

Submit a comment

Your comment has been saved

Post a comment

Please note that any information that you supply is protected by our Privacy and Cookie Policy. Access to all documents and request for further information are available to all users at no costs, In order to provide you with this free service, William Reed Business Media SAS does share your information with companies that have content on this site. When you access a document or request further information from this site, your information maybe shared with the owners of that document or information.