- Sarah Frankland, head pastry chef, Pennyhill Park
- Stephen Espouy, executive pastry chef, Royal Yacht Britannia
- Ian Mark, chef, Royal Air Force
- Martin Chiffers, Chiffers International Pastry Consultancy, and former president of Pastry Team UK
- Quentin Bechard, chef de partie, Yautcha Hakkasan London and winner of the UK Junior Chocolate Masters 2015
- Barry Johnson, lecturer at London Southbank Bakery College, ex-head chocolatier at Rococo Chocolates, and captain of Pastry Team UK at the 2015 Coupe du Monde de la Patisserie
The competition will take place at Westminster Kingsway College in London, on Monday 9 October.
Each contestant will have eight hours to create three tasks for the professional judging panel, using the theme ‘Futropolis’, which is the 2018 theme of the World Chocolate Masters.
The overall theme is based on the growing phenomenon of megacities – cities with more than 10 million people – in which over half the world’s population is expected to live by 2025.
The three pieces required in the UK & Ireland pre-selections must comprise:
- A showpiece called ‘The Futropolitan’, made entirely of chocolate and cacao derived products
- A patisserie consisting of at least three textures, to be named ‘Fresh Flavours of Futropolis’
- A chocolate snack suitable for on-the-go dining
A chocolate and green tea creation on the theme of Futropolis created by Ramon Morato, Cacao Barry technical advisor and director of the Chocolate Academy
The winner of the pre-selections will then go on to represent the UK & Ireland in the World Chocolate Masters on a global stage, for a chance to be named World Chocolate Master at the grand final in October 2018.
The previous UK & Ireland Chocolate Master was Alistair Birt. The most recent World Chocolate Master 2015 was Vincent Vallée, with Hisashi Onobayashi and Marijn Coertjens in second and third place.
“The World Chocolate Masters is the only global competition dedicated to the individual creativity of chocolatiers and pastry chefs with a focus on chocolate,” says Robert Harrison, sales director gourmet for northern Europe at Barry Callebaut, parent company of organisers Cacao Barry.
“It is however, far more than a competition – it offers chefs a platform to experiment, to push boundaries and showcase their talent.”