World-renowned Chocolatier, Melissa Coppel, left her home in Cali, Colombia to study pastry in Argentina before moving to Chicago to attend The French Pastry School in 2006. One of the few women at the top of her field, Coppel worked at Joel Robuchon at the Mansion, a three-star Michelin restaurant and ran the pastry kitchen at L’Atelier de Joel Robuchon in Las Vegas.
She later mastered her talent with chocolate at casinos like Caesars Palace and the Bellagio, where she exclusively focused on chocolate. She co-founded a wholesale chocolate company in Las Vegas before starting her own school in 2016.
CEO FOUNDER & CHOCOLATIER
“This profession has given me so much joy, for me it’s really about giving back and growing together, which brings meaning to my life.”
Coppel's passion stems from her childhood memories of watching her parents cook side by side in the kitchen and later testing out new recipes on her grandmother when she started to study in the culinary field. Her creations earned her several accolades, including Chocolatier of the Year at the Pastry Live Competition in Atlanta 2013, and she was also named one of the Top Ten Chocolatiers in North America by Dessert Professional in 2016.
She has been a Cacao Barry Ambassador since 2015. Coppel teaches classes at her Chocolate and Pastry School throughout the year as well as around the world. Her school and her chocolate are an extension of this passion and her desire to share it. “Knowledge doesn’t belong to you, it passes through you,” Coppel said. “This profession has given me so much joy, for me it’s really about giving back and growing together, which brings meaning to my life.”
“Knowledge doesn’t belong to you, it passes through you.”
EXECUTIVE PASTRY CHEF
A well-travelled pastry maestro with global exposure, Andres Lara brings with him over twelve years of experience in pastry making. Trained at the prestigious French Pastry School in Chicago, he pursued knowledge and excellence in the culinary field, which gave him a deeper understanding to the world of refined pastry and its Science and Technology.
Early Stints in Spain under Master Chef Paco Torreblanca and in Shanghai under Chef Eric Perez, greatly inspired a love for both learning and travel.
Having had the opportunity of working with renowned chefs from all over the world, Lara gained many valuable experiences at Michelin-starred restaurants such as Bagatelle in Norway.