Over the years, many people have asked me to enter my chocolate into competitions. My answer has been a resounding "ABSOLUTELY NOT" for many reasons - one of which is that there is no "audit" step with respect to submissions.
Simply put: contestants can submit anything without being required to prove that they actually made the product.
Case in Point: This past April, the "Academy of Chocolate" held a competition where chocolate makers and chocolatiers from all over the world submitted entries to be judged.
These contestants spent cumulatively THOUSANDS OF DOLLARS to get their creations to the competition. They also spent hundreds, if not thousands of hours crafting their wares to be judged.
...BUT DID THEY ALL???
WHO VALIDATED THEIR WORK??? After all, if the winners are going to proudly celebrate their awards in order to entice more consumers to buy their wares over their peers', shouldn't there be some kind of audit - some kind of proof that they actually did what they were awarded for doing?
...and what if it was revealed that competitors fraudulently submitted entries simply to be able to use the perceived "prestige" created by the contest and it's award? Would that not taint ALL of the contestants' awards?
I don't know. I think it would.
What I do know is this: In April, Papa Chocolat of Calgary (aka Bernard Callebaut the person) submitted an entry in the 80% Bean to Bar Category. That entry he claimed was his Peruvian.
What I also know is that Bernard Callebaut (aka Papa Chocolat) has never made an ounce of chocolate in his entire life, and currently buys his couverture from ICAM Spa. Ironically one of the 70%'s that ICAM Spa produces is Peruvian. Now... Add a little liquor to it, mix it up, and presto! You have an 80%.
Does that make his submission Bean To Bar? ABSOLUTELY NOT.
Could it be a mistake? ABSOLUTELY NOT. This man is the grandson of Eugenious Callebaut himself, and owned a successful chocolatier company with 20 stores for 25 years. HE ABSOLUTELY KNOWS THE DIFFERENCE.
Does his blatant disregard for the rules taint all the hard work that HONEST artisans are doing? ABSOLUTELY
I got into this business because of slimy, deceptive practices of people like Bernard Callebaut, and I will continue to speak out against them, because if even one single customer of mine sees his website, sees that award, and questions my claims, the poison taints MY business and MY hard work.
I truly hope the Academy of Chocolate sees this, does something about Bernard's lies, and sets the record straight.
Brad Churchill, a guy who REALLY DOES MAKE CHOCOLATE.
updated by @brad-churchill: 11/03/15 02:12:55AM