Published on December 13th, 2019 | by Darren Paltrowitz0
Chef Jacques Torres On His New Holiday Season Creations, Future Plans For “Mr. Chocolate” & More
Simply put, Jacques Torres is one of the world’s most famous pastry chefs and chocolatiers. Torres got his start as a chef in his native France, working under 2-star Michelin chef Jacques Maximin in the early 1980s. He went on to earn a Master Pastry Chef degree, and in 1986 Torres became the youngest person to ever win the prestigious Meilleur Ouvrier Patissier De France competition.
Within the 1980s, Torres also moved to the United States and became the Corporate Pastry Chef for the Ritz Carlton Hotel Company. This led to working with Le Cirque as its Executive Pastry Chef for 11 years. Concurrently, Torres became the Dean of Pastry Arts for the International Culinary Center.
In 2000, Torres — also the recipient of the James Beard Foundation Pastry Chef Of The Year honors — moved on from Le Cirque and opened up a chocolate factory and retail store in Brooklyn. Less than 2 decades later, Torres now has 7 namesake shops in New York, including 2 pop-ups for the holiday season. 2 years back he opened Choco-Story New York: The Chocolate Museum & Experience, at which attendees discovered chocolate’s journey from tree to chocolate bar through a self-guided tour of what was believed to be New York’s first ever chocolate museum.
Beyond overseeing those popular locations, Torres also stays busy as a judge on the Netflix series Nailed It. He has authored several best-selling cookbooks over the years, works with a variety of charitable causes — including Citymeals On Wheels and the Make A Wish Foundation — and continues to serve as a Dean at the International Culinary Center. Torres kindly took time to speak with me about his 2019 holiday season creations and more on behalf of The Hype Magazine.
More on the acclaimed chef and his excellent chocolate can be found at www.mrchocolate.com.
The holiday season is always a big time of year for Jacques Torres. But how long in advance of Christmas and Hanukkah do you usually start planning for the holiday season’s great offerings?
Jacques Torres: The research and development start a year before. Then we work on sourcing the ingredients, packing and making the molds for the chocolate. About six months prior to holidays we will start making products that have longer shelf lives.
Do you have a favorite of this year’s holiday season offerings?
Jacques Torres: I love the 3D printing that created the mold for the chocolate plaque in the bon-bon boxes. I love the travel cakes that we launched, they are very successful. The holiday cookies — my signature chocolate chip cookies with peppermint — work as a favorite as well. But every holiday I get excited about the latest product because they are babies of the company and we want them to do well.
After the holiday season ends, what is the next exciting line of exciting products for Jacques Torres?
Jacques Torres: Valentine’s Day and Easter are the next big moments for the company. This year for Valentine’s Day we will be releasing new products that you are able to personalize to a new level.
What does 2020 look like for you? More television work?
Jacques Torres: Hopefully keep doing more TV, focusing on more business-to-business sales for Jacques Torres Chocolates and going hard on innovation and R&D.
Finally, Jacques, any last words for the kids?
Jacques Torres: Professionally, never settle for mediocrity. Keep watching Nailed It! The message of the show is a great message of “non-perfect” is okay. Kids today, with social media, want everything to be perfect. Not doing everything perfect is okay. You can always do better. Also, cook with your family and have fun in the kitchen! That’s the message behind the show.