Here we feature an assemblage of culinary professionals who we’ve let take over our Instagram stories.
Ten & Six Chocolates
Dentist by day and chocolatier whenever he can find the time for it, Jonathan Zhao of Ten & Six Chocolates is based on the Gold Coast, Australia. As a self-taught confectioner, Jonathan pushes flavor boundaries and creates intricate designs for his chocolates. Often drawing inspiration from his personal memories and experiences. While relatively new to the craft, having started just over a year ago, he is eager to continue learning new techniques to apply to his work.
Laura King is a chocolatier and owner of Goodies Texas, a chocolate and candy manufacturer and retailer based in historic downtown McKinney, TX. Goodies Texas creates a wide range of products including chocolates, brittles, caramels, and more. While overseeing day-to-day operations, Laura also makes time for her true passion: bonbons. You’ll find her with her team in the kitchen, developing new flavor combinations and sharing her love for the craft through classes and workshops.
Classically trained at The Culinard, Amber Croom has worked with, and learned from great chefs throughout her 11 years of experience – mastering her craft and gaining an appreciation for pushing boundaries in search of the extraordinary. Originally from Birmingham, Alabama, Croom started off as a Naval Architecture & Marine Engineer in NOLA. After Hurricane Katrina the course of her path soon changed. Chef Croom decided to go to culinary school to pursue her true passion of baking. In ’11 Croom received an internship with Rimini Gelato and Chocolates in Vail, Colorado. It was here she was given her first job – where she learned the fundamentals of artisan gelato and chocolates. A few years later she went on to be the confectioner for Silver Sea, the acclaimed cruise line known for luxury and opulence. In ‘14 she moved back to Birmingham, to oversee the pastry department at Bellini’s Ristorante and Bar. Fast forward to ‘16, Croom competed on season 3 of Food Network’s Holiday Baking Championship. Which then catapulted her to open the Sagamore Pendry Hotel in Baltimore, MD. Here Croom was offered a chance to return to her first love, chocolate, as the Head Chocolatier at the largest catering company in Washington, D.C. Now, Croom is all-in with her own brand, And 4 Dessert. Famous for decadent visuals and innovative flavor palettes, 4 Dessert was featured on the inaugural season of Food Network’s Chopped Sweets where she came out a champion
Owner and pastry chef of Bake Toujours, Nicole is classically trained and graduated from The French Pastry School in Chicago about a decade ago. Since graduating, she has had many opportunities to work in bakeries in Alsace, France, and a variety of other venues in the States including Spago Beverly Hills, Hotel Bel Air, and Balena in Chicago. After becoming a mother of two, Nicole had the desire to bring the art of French pastry to the home and started her small business, Bake Toujours. Focusing on teaching others how to make French pastry, in addition to selling her product locally at farmers’ markets and directly to clients. Her current goal is to eliminate the intimidation that French pastry may carry and to make it approachable for all through private interactive demonstrations, Zoom courses, and her YouTube channel.
Chocolatier Matt Serkes located Las Vegas, NV, is creating small batch, hand crafted chocolates through his business ‘Chocolates by Matt Serkes’. After graduating from the Chef’s Academy in Indianapolis, IN class of ’09. Matt began working in a variety of establishments, restaurants, hotels, and bakeries around the country before relocating to Las Vegas as the Pastry Chef of the Aria and then later Bellagio.
Located just outside of Boston, Carly- owner of Confections by Carly started by making bonbons while on maternity leave. She continued making chocolates after returning to work in the health care industry as a creative, and delicious outlet. Her love of chocolate grew into a small business and by 2019 Carly had her confections LLC. The chocolates that you can purchase from her website are all handcrafted and made by Carly herself.
“I use Chef Rubber cocoa butters for all my chocolate paintings. I hand temper my chocolate creations, and pour into moulds. I use a heating pad to keep my cocoa butters warm. I searched far and wide for a food safe brush that I loved and decided to go with Trekell- golden talon brushes. Each painting starts as a sketch, then that sketch is transferred onto the chocolate canvas and I start blocking in colors. It takes many thin layers to create each painting, and no painting is completely identical. I am in love with the Impressionist period in Art History. I paint the great impressionist masters and my chocolate original work has a similar styles.”
Liane Rinehart of Colorado Cocoa Pod is an ex-software engineer with an Associate Degree in Baking & Pastry Arts from Johnson & Wales. She fell in love with artisan bonbons & fine chocolate during her Chocolates & Confections course. After graduating, in 2019, Liane decided to start her own chocolate business so she could have the freedom to create beautiful & delicious bonbons inspired by Asian flavors she loved growing up, such as Matcha Green Tea, Lychee, & Passion Fruit!
30+ year consummate culinary professional and pastry consultant from the French Caribbean Island of Guadelope. Drawing inspiration from his heart of gold, Chef Delourneaux’s delectable creations are delicately thoughtful and must be Chichifoofoo®, which is his trademark to describe something beautiful, above and beyond. Chef Delourneaux lives by his philosophy “In order to perform your best in your profession, you have to love what you do.”
Darryl Haley has had many careers, he’s most known for his athletic career as the offensive lineman for the New England Patriots. He is first professional athlete to compete AND complete the in the Hawaii Ironman in 1995. Now see how this lineman is lining the kitchen with bonbons!
Olivia is a chocolatier out of the PNW, and is making waves in the industry 🧑🍳
After completing a chocolate bootcamp at @melissacoppelschool her talents skyrocketed 🚀 and it’s been a fun adventure to see the amazing designs she creates with colored cocoa butter to add uniqueness and individuality to her chocolates.
Chef Rene owns and runs the kitchen at High Peak Cannabis Co. Located in Maine, where artisanal edibles are created from quality ingredients to bring delicious and healing treats to the greater Maine area. @highpeakcannabis
Pastry chef and chocolatier out of Orlando, FL. Gained experience from working in the hotel business. Then got the opportunity to work with Amaury Guichon at the Pastry Academy. @chefsay