On November 8th, Erin Koroll, Departure Denver’s own Pastry Chef journeyed to Vail to compete in the Altamira Fall Food Show – Chocolate Competition. The title was “Falling for Chocolate”, and that’s exactly what happened.
The event was sponsored by Valrhona USA with five competitors from different restaurants within Colorado. Each competitor was to submit a bon bon for the crowd, a chocolate showpiece and a plated dessert utilizing specific chocolate from the Valrhona collection.
There were three judges, all world renowned chocolate masters. The competitors went in different heats, assembling their showpieces for the judges. This happened to be Chef Erin’s first competition and she decided to submit a story that tied all of her components together. Her showpiece was a homage to early childhood camping and chocolate memories, which added a refreshing component to the competition. However, the build up to the event was anything but easy. “With so much going on in the restaurant including a fall menu change and the approaching holidays, it was an incredible push to get everything ready” stated Chef Erin. “All in all, I spent nearly 40 hours on this project and thankfully made it to Vail without any major casualties. The day of the competition was extremely stressful to start – I knew I was up against a lot of really spectacular talent, so the pressure was definitely on. When it came closer to my stage time, I felt a shift in my attitude and decided to have as much fun as I could at my first official competition. Once on the stage, I assembled the showpiece and had a lot of fun with the crowd. I finished just in time and was able to submit everything along with my inspirations.”
The judges were so impressed with her positive, relaxed mindset throughout the event and really appreciated her invigorating approach to competing. “This is definitely something that I hope to do again and I absolutely learned a lot from my competitors. Overall it was a humbling, exciting experience. I have to admit it was pretty badass to place in the competition at all, especially when the room was filled with so much talent and chocolate expertise. I admire all of my fellow chefs and can’t wait to work with them again in the future.”