Events , Portraits

Valrhona’s C3 2018

Pastry Chefs and Chocolate Took Center Stage during the International Final of Valrhona’s C3 at StarChefs ICC on Monday, October 22, 2018 Brooklyn, NY


July 11, 2018, Brooklyn, NY | For the fourth year Valrhona proudly gathered an exclusive selection of pastry chef competitors for the international Valrhona C³ (Chocolate Chef Competition) in partnership with StarChefs. The grand prize was awarded to Chef Yusuke Aoki, from the Four Seasons Hotel Resort in Bali, Indonesia. Chef Aoki’s pre-dessert was inspired by the marriage of OPALYS 33%’s delicate and milky flavor with the unique and powerful fragrance of the Balinese kaffir lime and the Japanese Shiso leaf. Chef Aoki’s plated dessert was a “Variety of  NYANGBO 68% with Cinnamon Kombu Ice Cream, Sansho Pepper, Red Wine Fig confiture.” It was a harmony between NYANGBO 68% and the unique flavor of the Kombu seaweed, paired with red wine and seasonal figs, and a touch of Japanese sansho pepper to add a tingling and numbing sensation after the chocolate. Also featured was a 60% HAZELNUT PRALINE sable.


The runner-up was Chef Ettore Beligni from Italy with his pre-dessert "Stone Hunting" featured a PASSION FRUIT INSPIRATION semifreddo, a pecan gold stone, an ORELYS 35% and OPALYS 33% crémeux, NYANGBO 68%, and fried Taglioni pasta. Chef Beligni's plated dessert was "Back from the Islands" with an Island coffee panna cotta, cola-spiced OPALYS 33% crémeux, a waka waka ORELYS 35% gelato, and NYANGBO 68% in additional pieces.

The winner of the Press Prize was Chef Cyril Gaidella from France.To create his pre-dessert, Chef Gaidella found inspiration in his Italian roots, the flavor of ALMOND INSPIRATION and acid, sour tastes. It was served in a Martini glass in memory of the cocktail that inspired him. Highlighting the international dimension of the C3, Chef Gaidella added a product for each of the candidates’ country: Japan, Ireland, Spain, Italy, China, and the USA. Visually, it was inspired by a forest in Ghana. Flavor-wise, it played on the contrasts between sweet, salt, acid and bitterness. The woody and peppery notes of the chocolate sauce with NYANGBO 68% added depth to the dessert while the vanilla caramel and vanilla yogurt sorbet gave it a smooth feeling.

Each candidate brought their talent and creativity to the United States, after months of training in their home countries. They presented an original plated dessert based on the theme “Design 100% Chocolate” and a pre-dessert with the theme “Think out of the ring (and the mold)!”, using NYANGBO 68% Single Origin from Ghana. Valrhona is indeed proudly celebrating the 10th anniversary of NYANGBO 68%, Single Origin Ghana, a chocolatey and roasted couverture which distinguishes itself by a subtle acidity that allows a note of round chocolate warmth to develop followed by a soft and sweet spiciness. Its character is enhanced by a delicate bitterness.

The Chocolate Chef Competition (aka C³) celebrated professional pastry chefs and honored the elaborate nature of the trade in all of its technical and creative aspects. “Valrhona’s mission is to create community and creative exchange between pastry professionals to push the industry forward,” says Emmanuelle Brun, COO of Valrhona USA. “
StarChefs shares this goal and is a great partner in promoting the celebrated C3 competition in North America.

Selected during fierce regional contests organized by Valrhona in 2017 and 2018, the pastry chef finalists were:

  1. Mina Pizarro | L'Appart | New York, USA
  2. Kanako Baba | Nobu at Atlantis the Palm | Dubai, UAE
  3. Paula Stakelum | Restaurant Ashford Castle | Cong, Co. Mayo, IRELAND
  4. Libertad Santiago | DOS PALILLOS | Barcelona, SPAIN
  5. Weilu Wang | La Patisserie Prince Philosopher | Stockholm, SWEDEN
  6. Ettore Beligni | Restaurant The Fat Duck | London, UK
  7. Cyril Gaidella | World Pastry Champion 2017 & CFA Mederic Teacher | Paris, France
  8. Yusuke Aoki | Four Seasons Hotel Resort | Bali, INDONESIA
Mina Pizarro
Kanako Baba
Paula Stakelum
Libertad Santiago
Weilu Wang


The winning pastry chef's were determined by a panel of world-class chefs and members of the press. Chef judges included: Antonio Bachour (USA), Claire Heitzler (France), Ramon Freixa (Spain), Cristina Bowerman (Italy), Fredrik Borgskog (Sweden)Karim Bourgi (United Arab Emirates). Press judges included: Santiago Corral, Tom Hemerka, and Nick Muncy. Work judges included: Christelle Brua (France), Sebastien Serveau (France) and Daniel Mongraw (Canada). The determined winner received an exclusive Valrhona trophy and €5,000.

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