In October, six of the nation’s finest chocolatiers, pâtissiers and chefs will compete in the UK and Ireland World Chocolate Master pre-selections.

Taking place at Westminster Kingsway College, London on 9 October, the competitors will have eight hours to create and present three assignments to the professional judging panel.

Each will have to stick to the 2018 theme, Futropolis – the assignment includes a showpiece (The Futropolitan), which has to be made entirely of chocolate- and cacao-derived products. It also includes a patisserie consisting of at least three textures (Fresh Flavours of Futropolis) and a chocolate snack suitable for on-the-go dining.

The six contestants going head-to-head for the title of UK and Ireland Chocolate Master are:

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
Quentin Bechard, chef de partie, Yauatcha Hakkasan London and winner of the UK Junior Chocolate Masters 2015
Barry Johnson, lecturer at London Southbank Bakery College and ex-head chocolatier at Rococo Chocolates.

The winner of the pre-selection will go on to compete against the most celebrated chocolate artisans from around the world and represent the UK and Ireland on a global stage in a bid to be named World Chocolate Master at the Grand Final in October 2018. 

Robert Harrison, sales director gourmet - Northern Europe for Barry Callebaut, said: “The World Chocolate Masters is the only global competition dedicated to the individual creativity of chocolatiers and pastry chefs with a focus on chocolate. It is however, far more than a competition – it offers chefs a platform to experiment, to push boundaries and showcase their talent.” 

Before heading to the Grand Final, each winner of the national selections will be invited to a boot camp, consisting of workshops and creative sessions with previous World Chocolate Masters, top chefs, trend watchers and creative professionals.