Switzerland is renowned for many things, including beautiful mountainscapes, charming towns – and decadent, luxurious Swiss chocolate. The incredible legacy of Swiss chocolate began in 1819, when culinary pioneer François-Louis Cailler opened his first chocolate factory. Centuries later, Swiss chocolatiers continue to perfect this craft, producing some of the world’s most delicious and iconic chocolate creations.
Swiss chocolate has become an integral part of Switzerland’s culture and identity, and it’s no wonder that culinary schools like ours have continued to refine this craft. Gelu Pui, the Hospitality & Culinary Program Leader here at Culinary Arts Acdemy Switzerland (CAAS) states, “It is very important to have and to continue developing the pastry and chocolate arts program on campus,” to pay homage to, and continue the heritage of luxury chocolate-making in Switzerland.
As an institution that prepares its students for exciting careers in the hospitality industry, we recognize the importance of connecting students to first-class professionals excelling in the real world. In term three, all of the students in the chocolate and pastry program at CAAS had the opportunity to attend a very special masterclass run by world-renowned pastry chef and champion in chocolate sculpture, Chef Jorge Cardoso. In this class, students learn first-hand how to create brilliant and beautiful showpieces from chocolate.
Chef Cardoso has received numerous accolades for his skills in the domain of desserts, including winning the 2018 World Championship title at the Culinary World Cup. He has also received a bronze medal at the Pastry World Cup, and is the most-awarded pastry and chocolate chef in his home country, Portugal.
During the masterclass, students in the CAAS chocolate and pastry program have the chance to learn from Chef Cardoso directly. The students get to explore the intricacies of chocolate sculpture, from basic techniques to more advanced methods. Chef Cardoso’s masterclass presents a unique occasion for students to learn from someone who has truly mastered his art form. CAAS Pastry Chef Instructor, Chef David Müller explains: because students tend to have the same instructor over a term, a workshop such as this one is an opportunity for students to learn and employ a whole new approach to chocolate carving. They get to see different techniques put into practice in class – and it’s also an opportunity to gain new perspectives, from another professional chef. In the case of this exciting class, Chef Müller notes, students are learning from “a very big chef – a world champion in chocolate sculpting and modeling and making showpieces.”
In a dynamic industry, this chocolate-sculpting masterclass is a way to connect students with a chef who is putting innovations into practice in the real world, right now. Not only has Chef Cardoso worked as a chocolatier in some of the most prestigious hotels and restaurants across the globe, he has also been featured in numerous prominent publications and television programs. During the class, students learn a variety of chocolate sculpture techniques, informed by Cardoso’s professional experience. Every student gets the opportunity to create their own, unique chocolate sculpture, under his close guidance. The masterclass’s central focus is on refining the specialized skills involved in sculpting with this medium, and it requires a great deal of focus and precision. All that said – Alum of the program, Rasmus Johansson, precises that it was “very fun to do,” explaining that the workshop opened up his mind to a new way of using – and working with – chocolate.
As each student learns to create their own intricate, edible showpiece using a variety of techniques, Chef Cardoso is able to provide insights and tips tailored to each student’s work. Teaching with a wealth of creative culinary experience behind him, he is able to help students to be bold, take risks, and create exceptional works of art from chocolate. Chef Müller has observed that the class really widens students’ horizons when it comes to pastry techniques, and these new skills are invaluable for students when they use them later on in their professional life.
For CAAS student Rana Abou Seif, the masterclass was one of the highlights of the course. Despite the technical demands of the class, she enjoyed being able to experiment with a variety of tools and methods to bring her chocolate sculptures to life. But what really stood out to her was the opportunity she and other students had to practice artistic carvings on their pieces, stating that “the carvings make the showpieces so special and unique”.
At CAAS, we wholeheartedly believe that chocolatering is more than just a practice – it is also a form of art. With this belief in mind, the masterclass has been designed to help students develop their own creativity under the guidance of a culinary professional who has pushed the boundaries of what’s possible, using groundbreaking new techniques and skills. Cardoso’s masterclass is designed to encourage and inspire any aspiring pastry chefs to open their minds to new, creative, and unique techniques they may not have tried before.
There is not one way to carve your chocolate creation into something beautiful – just as there is no single way to create an oil painting. In this class, students will gain insight into Chef Cardoso’s creative process, learning how he approaches each new sculpture with a unique vision and sense of purpose. Our pastry and chocolate students leave this masterclass inspired and energized. They were able to apply both theory and technical skill first-hand, with expert guidance and unmatched creative input from Chef Cardoso. We also take real pride in the fact that our students here at CAAS bring a singular attitude to these workshops, which is part of what makes the experience something truly special for both teacher and student. As Chef Cardoso says of the students who attend his masterclass, “They are very motivated, and I think they can be great professionals – for the future of the profession, as well.”
Chocolate has become synonymous with luxury, quality, and innovation here in Switzerland. Centuries on from its humble beginnings, student and professional chocolatiers and pastry chefs continue to learn, bend the rules, and play with what’s possible to build on this legacy. By bringing established industry professionals together with students at the beginning of their culinary career, we continue to extend and enrich a tradition of edible cultural and artistic expression.
We believe our chocolate crafting masterclass is an incredible opportunity for our students to learn from one of the best in the industry; and as CAAS student Rana Abou Seif credits, “If you learn from the best… you expect the best from yourself.”