Las Vegas has its own Willie Wonka

Lionel Clement normally oversees a staff of six at the Wynn in Las Vegas.  As the chief chocolatier, Clement guides his team through the daily challenges of preparing not just confections, but chocolate art for use throughout the hotel and casino.  But these last few months he’s been doing much more than creating delicacies for visitors – he’s been preparing for the 2009 World Chocolate Masters competition.  And that preparation has resulted in a second place finish and further accolades for the restaurants and hotel staff of the Wynn. LionelClement

Being able to stay calm under pressure helped Clement win the Chicago competition that secured his spot at the Masters.   And his organizational skills and ability to adapt his designs helped him prepare for the Paris event.  

“He made a very big impression first when he arrived at the competition in Chicago for the selection,” says Pascal Janvier, master pastry chef and chocolatier and owner of Patisserie Fleur de Cocoa in Los Gatos, California.  “We almost knew that he was going to win just by looking at the way he was organized. Everything was so neat. That’s the way we work, but for a young guy, that’s usually not the case. His artistry is very good, too. That made a big difference.” 

The two-day 2009 World Chocolate Masters event included designing a master showpiece and creating a tasting of chocolate pastries, hand-dipped fruits and molded chocolates.  The yearly event brought master chocolatiers from 19 countries together in Paris to compare techniques and style.   Japan’s Shiegeo Hirai, sous check for the Grand Hyatt in Tokyo took first place and Michaela Karg of Cafe am Kreuzgang in Germany received third.

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