Richie Heppell, head chef at Royal Air Force Officers Mess at RAF Leuchars, Simon Woods, a patisserie lecturer at Westminster Kingsway College, Alistair Birt, head chocolatier at William Curley, Liberty Boy Confections owner Conor McAlonan and Cocoa Black owner Ruth Hinks were revealed as those who will battle it out at the UK final of the competition at the Speciality & Fine Food Fair at London's Olympia on 4 September.
One of London's most iconic modern buildings, the Gherkin was used as the launch venue in response to the theme of this competition - The Architecture of Taste.
For the chance to represent the UK at the World Chocolate Masters finals in Paris next year, finalists will have to impress judges by making one moulded praline, one pastry, one chocolate dessert and a classic local recipe, which for the UK, will be a chocolate log, using headline sponsor Callebaut's gourmet chocolate. They will also be required to make one showpiece.
The theme, which takes inspiration from some of the greatest buildings in the world and looks at the work that goes into building them, will be expected to run throughout all entries with patissiers, chocolatiers and chefs expected to 'express their architectural skills through taste'.
Artistry and endeavour
Barry Callebaut sales director for UK and Ireland, Robert Harrison, said: “The fifth World Chocolate Masters will be a life changing event for one superbly skilled and dedicated candidate.
"Each year the bar has been raised to levels of breathtaking artistry and endeavour – I expect 2013 to be no different.
"Some of our finalists have entered before and know the rigours and pressure of all eyes being on you – the individual. For those entering for the first time, this represents a tantalizing opportunity for a UK candidate to compete against the finest chocolatiers in the world – go out there and enjoy every moment.”
The competition, last held in 2011, saw John Costello of Park Bakery in Oldham, go through to the world final to represent the UK. Dutch pastry chef Frank Haasnoot of chocolate decorations manufacturer Dobla, was crowned the world champion 2011.
Watch a video of the launch event: