When the mercury touches 30, there are worse places to spend an evening than one of the capital’s lofty terraces. So it was that we chose Thursday’s particularly balmy evening to join our good friends at Callebaut, alongside a throng of specially invited press, for dinner and drinks at the plush Oxo Tower. The purpose of the evening was to toast current UK Chocolate Master Ruth Hinks as she prepares to do battle against the finest chocolatiers on the globe during this October’s World Chocolate Masters finals in Paris (28-30th October). As culinary competitions go, the finals represent the ultimate test of the individual. It’s an arena where reputations (as well as sculptures) can be made or broken – three days of high intensity where competitors must demonstrate unparalleled levels of concentration, nerve and expertise, each producing one show stopping chocolate showpiece, one moulded praline, one pastry, a chocolate dessert and a very special themed entry. As a full time businesswoman and Mum, Ruth revealed that her preparations for the competition have been long and hard but ultimately edifying. She spoke with enthusiasm about how Callebaut ambassadors, Martin Chiffers and Mark Tilling (himself a former UK Chocolate Master) have managed to raise her spirits at just the right times, mentoring, advising and setting her mind at ease during her many practices.
Shortly before dinner began, Callebaut’s UK and Ireland Sales Director, Robert Harrison, paid tribute to Ruth’s doggedness and spirit, wishing her the very best of luck as she embarked on her journey to the finals.
Formalities dispensed with, and as the sun cast the Thames in a beautiful hue, the evening proceeded with a fantastic five-course feast culminating in a stunning chocolate plate created using Callebaut chocolate by the Oxo’s head pastry chef, Penny Wabbit. You’d think making chocolates for the UK’s best would be a tough gig yet Penny’s looked and tasted incredible, immediately gaining Ruth’s enthusiastic approval.
Fed, fulfilled and fit-to-burst, we parted ways and made off into the night. Another successful press event organised by the leading foodservice agency.
Ruth’s attention now turns to October and the World Chocolate Masters. For more information on the event itself see http://www.worldchocolatemasters.com/en/.
We’ll be liveblogging from Paris so be sure to follow @ukchocmaster on twitter to be kept up-to-speed with how Ruth is faring.
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