San Diego’s surfing pastry chef crowned America’s king of chocolate

Almost since he began his profession 20 years in the past as a teen pastry apprentice at a Michelin-starred restaurant in France, Christophe Rull has had his eye on one prize: the distinguished title of World Chocolate Master. Last week, he obtained one step nearer to his dream.

On Friday in Chicago, the 36-year-old San Marcos resident was crowned the U.S. Chocolate Master on the World Chocolate Masters’ American semifinals. Next fall, Rull will be part of opponents from 21 different nations in Paris to compete for high prize on the 2021-22 World Chocolate Masters occasion. In the competitors’s 16-year historical past, no U.S. champion has ever gained the worldwide crown. Rull hopes to vary that.

“I feel overwhelmed and I’m proud,” Rull stated, of his victory on the two-day semifinals final week. “It’s been a dream for a really long time to represent America for what is my passion. It’s a great feeling.”

Christophe Rull named U.S. Chocolate Master at World Chocolate Masters contest in Chicago on Oct. 8.

Christophe Rulle, 36, of San Marcos, draped in U.S. flag, is showered with confetti after being named U.S. Chocolate Master on the World Chocolate Masters nationwide contest in Chicago on Oct. 8.

(Paul Strabbing)

The French-born Rull stated he spent two years coaching in his spare time for the semifinals. Then in July, he stepped down from his job on the Park Hyatt Aviara Resort in Carlsbad, the place he had labored the earlier 5 years as government pastry chef, so he might focus full-time on contest preparation. Usually 4 to 6 U.S. chocolate cooks qualify for the semifinals, however as a result of of pandemic-related points, most of this yr’s semifinalists dropped out in within the months main as much as the semifinals. When he arrived in Chicago final week, Rull was the one competitor left, however he nonetheless needed to move 5 qualifying challenges to earn the USA choice.

“With the challenges chefs are facing in hospitality, it made it very difficult for the chefs to focus and dedicate time to compete. Chef Christophe has shown so much dedication to the World Chocolate Masters, even with the challenges from the pandemic. It’s extremely impressive how he is chasing after his dream,” stated Alexandra Foster, academy model supervisor for Cacao Barry, the Swiss chocolate firm that sponsors the competitors.

The theme for the 2021-22 competitors is #TMRW, which means how cooks, scientists and designers can work collectively to create the chocolate of tomorrow. In Chicago, Rull needed to design and execute 5 chocolate challenges on the theme, together with a 3D chocolate sculpture, a plant-based chocolate snack and a “patisserie of tomorrow.” Foster describes the competitors as “the Olympics of the chocolate world.”

Christophe Rull's coral-inspired raspberry chocolate cremeux for the U.S. Chocolate Masters title.

Christophe Rull’s ocean coral-inspired raspberry wild fennel chocolate cremeux, one of his profitable designs for the U.S. Chocolate Master title on Oct. 8.

(Paul Strabbing)

Rull’s first project was creating in chocolate a “mood board” of what the #TMRW theme meant to him. Because he’s an avid surfer, scuba-diver and environmentalist, he tied his love of the ocean into his temper board and a number of other different creations. His 3D sculpture featured a manta ray, his “taste” problem was a raspberry chocolate creation that appeared like coral on an ocean reef and his “bon bon” problem was served on piece of driftwood.

The contest’s three judges all wrote of their notes that they admired Rull’s consistency on the ocean theme. Juror Dimitri Fayard, a 2008 World Pastry Champion, stated Rull’s strengths are in “presentation, application, visual and taste. Everything was coherent and relative.” And juror Martin Diez, an teacher at Cacao Barry’s French Chocolate Academy, wrote “Christophe is a strong contestant and he is coming at the final with the idea of winning.” In the approaching yr, Cacao Barry USA will assist Rull with extra coaching and mentorship and can sponsor his journey to Paris.

Rull stated he felt good about how easily every thing went final week. He’s good at dealing with his nerves since he’s turn out to be a seasoned competitor. Among the various competitions he has gained through the years are Food Network’s “Halloween Wars” in 2017 and Food Network’s “Holiday Wars” in 2018. He’s additionally now featured on Netflix’s just-released cooking collection “Bake Squad,” the place he gained probably the most challenges of all 4 contestants. He additionally gained chocolate artist awards in 2014 and 2015 on the Pastry Live U.S. competitors.

"Bake Squad" star Christian Tosi of Milk Bar works with contestant Christophe Rull on the Netflix competition series.

“Bake Squad” star Christian Tosi of Milk Bar works with contestant Christophe Rull of San Marcos within the first episode of “Bake Squad,” a brand new competitors collection that premiered Aug. 11 on Netflix.

(Kit Karzen/Netflix)

Born and raised in Marseilles, France, Rull began cooking by his father’s aspect as a small boy and by 16 was working as a chef’s apprentice. After working his method by a number of Michelin-starred restaurant kitchens and attending 4 years of culinary college, he zeroed in on pastry as his profession focus. In 2009, he moved to the United States to serve on the opening pastry workforce for the Aria Las Vegas Hotel & Casino and later labored on the MGM Grand Las Vegas and Park Hyatt Aviara. At the Park Hyatt, Rull wowed resort guests by creating mammoth chocolate sculptures for the foyer every vacation season.

Rull lives in San Marcos along with his spouse, Wilma, and 16-year-old stepson Byron. Recently he has begun providing digital cooking classes for and in-person classes for the Stéphane Tréand Pastry School in Tustin. The relaxation of his time Rull is dedicating to coaching for the World Chocolate Masters, which he stated would require at least 40 hours every week of dedication till the finals in October 2022 on the Salon du Chocolat in Paris.

“I will go at it 100 percent,” Rull stated. “I’ll try to find a balance between being focused on the competition and leading a healthy life. I need to step up my game and surround myself with inspiring people who are experts that I can learn from.”

Christophe Rull creates a cookie and mocha drink product at World Chocolate Masters USA semifinals.

Christophe Rull creates a cold-brew mocha drink and vegan hazelnut cookie snack package deal throughout the U.S. semifinals for the World Chocolate Masters competitors, which he gained on Oct. 8 in Chicago.

(World Chocolate Masters)

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