Chris Curtin’s journey to the top of the chocolate world started more than three decades ago, in Madison, Wisconsin, where, following his success as a nationally ranked cross-country skier, he found his next challenge in the kitchen. He enrolled at the renowned New England Culinary Institute in Vermont, but soon left to forge an even more rigorous path of independent study—he was accepted to live as a pâtissier at the Compagnons du Devoir, the premier guild for artisan craftsmen in France, and subsequently became the first American to earn the title of Konditormeister, or Master Pastry Chef and Chocolatier, in Cologne, Germany.
Immersed in the realm of the world’s top chocolate makers, Chris continued honing his knowledge under some of the world’s great chocolate makers in Belgium, France, Germany, Switzerland, Spain and Japan—legendary producers like Confiserie Bachmann in Switzerland, Confiserie Coppeneur in Germany, Herman Van Dender and Pierre Marcolini in Belgium, and Poire in Japan—where he had the privilege of sharing in confectionery’s greatest secrets and techniques.
Having mastered the art and techniques of Europe’s finest chocolates, he returned to the U.S. in 2004 and founded Éclat Chocolate, where his craftsmanship rivals that of the Old World’s most storied houses.
In this episode, you’ll learn:
- His jump from cross-country skiing to culinary
- Why he left culinary school to train in Europe
- The inspiration for opening his chocolate business
- Collaborations with celebrity chefs and chocolate colleagues
- Chris’s favorite piece of equipment in his shop
- Differences between European and American chocolatiers
- The chocolate trend Chris wants gone
- And much, much more!
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