Vreeland & Associates created and manages the Next Generation Chocolatier Competition, America’s only national artisan chocolate competition. “The competition is like American Idol, only sweeter,” says Curtis Vreeland. Founded in 2004, the competition is held in New York City every two years, with the next event scheduled for 2012.
Judging is conducted by a team of six experts, drawn from chocolate manufacturers, established chocolatiers and corporate buyers. For example, the judges for the 2008 event included Fritz Knipschildt (Knipschildt Chocolatier), Kee Tong (Kee’s Chocolates), Laura Tornichio-Vidal (Guittard), Rose Potts (Blommer Chocolate), Steven Millard (Dean & Deluca) and Linda Sturges (Bloomingdales). The judging team was headed by Clay Gordon, renowned chocolate educator and author.
Awards are given in four categories: Best Bonbon, Best Bar, People’s Choice and Rising Star. The Rising Star award is reserved for both students and emerging chocolatiers (under 30 years of age or in business at a US-based company less than five years). The People’s Choice award is voted upon at the Awards Ceremony. Three Honorable Mention certificates are also bestowed.
The mission of the Next Generation Chocolatier Competition is to recognize the talents of aspiring American artisan chocolatiers. It is open to US-based chocolate makers who use artisan production methods, whether they are emerging professionals or student aspirants.
Next Generation Chocolatier Competitions
- 2012: Savory Sweets
- 2010: Postponed Due to the Recession
- 2008: Salty Sweets
- 2006: Tea-Infused Chocolate
- 2004: American Chocolate
Past corporate sponsors have included Valrhona, Callebaut, Guittard, Blommer Chocolate, Tradin Organics USA, Moët Chandon, Grand Marnier, Trump Golf Course (Bedminster, NJ, SaltWorks, Chef Rubber, ChocoVision, A Specialty Box, World Tea Expo, Tomric Systems, Ito En and SerendipiTea.
Past media sponsors have included Dessert Professional, Candy Industry Magazine, TheChocolateLife.com, Town & Country, TEA a magazine and PastryScoop.com.