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Barry Callebaut Chocolate Academy 2020

Barry Callebaut Chocolate Academy 2020

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NIVO was privileged to be invited to the opening of the new Barry Callebaut Chocolate Academy facility on 23rd January 2020 in the UK. This is just 1 of 23 academies across the world.

The UK CHOCOLATE ACADEMY™ centre is based in Banbury, Oxfordshire and is a ‘State of the Art’ purpose-built training environment with eight individual workstations, allowing for one-to-one, hands-on tuition. The Academy is situated adjacent to the factory allowing easy access for tours of the Barry Callebaut plant.

The teachers include some distinguished chefs from both the United Kingdom and Europe to help run the courses, all of whom have extensive knowledge, expertise, and experience in the field of chocolate.

The day started with a great introduction from Robert Harrison and Tracy Southwell (Sales Director) who explained how Barry Callebaut, by 2025 through their Forever Chocolate program, will lift 500,000 cocoa farmers in their supply chain out of poverty, eradicate child labour from their supply chain, become carbon and forest positive and have 100% sustainable ingredients in all of their products. This non-profit organisation aims to improve the livelihoods of cocoa farmers and their communities. Barry Callebaut has 161 employees on Ivory Coast to ensure standards and workers are protected.Robert and Tracy’s passion for the work that Barry Callebaut do in the field of sustainability and protecting the workers from plantation to product was more than evident. They both gave their time to the whole day ensuring all guests understood how each element affected their business.

Julie Sharp, Senior Technical Advisor for Barry Callebaut took us through the history of chocolate (cacao) and the origin and careful process that Barry Callebaut maintains to grow and nurture the bean from the plantation(s) through to the delicious chocolate products that we enjoy in the UK.

Julie has been sharing her chocolate expertise at the UK Chocolate Academy since 2011. Her career led her to be Head Pastry Chef at prestigious venues in London, and five stars venues overseas. Recognised for her contribution to the Pastry world, Julie was invited to become a member of the Royal Academy of Culinary Arts and was awarded Pastry Chef of the Year by the Craft Guild of Chefs. After completing a Certificate of Education, an opportunity arose for her to combine her love for pastry, travel, and teaching and she joined Barry Callebaut as Chocolate Academy Chef. More recently she was honoured as a Fellow of the Royal Academy of Culinary Arts and also invited to be a Fellow of Westminster Kingsway College.

After a Vegan lunch specially prepared, we moved on to understanding the intricacies of specially chosen products and then the applications that can be used to make all sorts of delicious outcomes from drinking chocolate to fudge and cake! We were again honoured with experts in the field, including Beverley Dunkley and Mark Tilling. We learned so much in a short space of time, we would recommend that if you get the chance to go it is well worth it to benefit from the team’s experience and knowledge.

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