8 Jan 2020
Looking for inspiration on a whole new level? Then we are happy to introduce you to our very own team of Chocolate Experts. Meet Stéphane Leroux: honoured with the title ‘le Meilleur Ouvrier de France’ (MOF) and Belcolade Chocolate Expert for over a decade. Stéphane is devoted to sharing his knowledge and inspiration: “Always be on the lookout for inspiration, you can find it in anything.”
From age six Stéphane knew he wanted to be a pâtissier, following in the footsteps of his uncle who was a pastry chef, and his grandmother who used to make lots of pastry. He has come a long way since starting out as a pre-apprentice pastry chef in his home town at age 15 and later devoting his life to competitions and winning the most prestigious of all. His main goal was always to achieve the level of MOF.
The road to that accomplishment was challenging. On his first attempt in 2000 Stéphane entered in the finals, where he learnt a lot about the profession and himself. In order to allow himself to develop, though, he packed is pride and faced competitions more related to his level at that moment to make growth possible. Once he had gained enough knowledge and experience he entered the master of all competitions again and in 2004 he obtained the title of MOF.
Stéphane has been working for Belcolade for 14 years now, and every day brings him something new. “The diversity in my job and the opportunities Belcolade provides to express myself is what makes my work so enjoyable,” says Stéphane. After 37 years of experience in pastry and chocolate, he still manages to keep his work creative and artistic. The way he achieves this is by always carrying a notebook with him, in which he writes and sketches every single idea he comes up with or encounters: “Inspiration is something you need to anticipate all the time, rather than only going in search of it when needed.”
His mind finds inspiration in every corner of the earth, and as a result his chocolate creations are wonderfully diverse. He finds his inspiration beyond the realms of imagination and also outside the world of chocolate: “I can get very inspired by the work of ceramic artists, painters or 3D artists. I am also interested in architecture since my daughter studies it. It has opened up my mind to ways of expressing yourself through manual work, such as working with different materials like paper or cardboard.”
Inspiring people on so many levels is very rewarding for Stéphane. He approaches customers as one professional to another. “Because it is not only about sharing inspiration, but also about exchanging knowledge. I especially love it when I see a young audience that is really receptive to what I have to tell them. They really are the future of the profession.
I try to inspire my audience to always keep an open mind and to remain curious. It’s what I do myself: always show interest in everything and everybody.”
Did you know that Stéphane has already published three books in which he has created the most beautiful chocolate and patisserie artworks? But be warned! Reading them might give you a high dose of inspiration and motivation to try new things.
He released ‘Matière Chocolat’ in 2008, ‘Le Praliné’ in 2013 and ‘Bleu Chocolat’ in 2017. ‘Bleu Chocolat’ is full of amazing pieces that are so beautifully made, you can’t even imagine it’s chocolate. Get inspired!
Also, check out Stéphanes Instagram-page where he shares his most recent creations.