Expanding Global Network of Chocolate Artisans

Cacao Barry® USA welcomes Chef Melissa Coppel to its prestigious Ambassador Club

* Las Vegas-based chocolatier is the newest member of the Cacao Barry® Ambassador Club
* Coppel selected based on her demonstrated excellence in chocolate technique, creativity and artistry

CHICAGO, December 14, 2015 - Cacao Barry® - the premium French brand of chocolate and cocoa products for gourmet professionals - today announced that Chef Melissa Coppel has joined its international Ambassador Club. The invitation-only Club includes a membership of more than 100 pastry chefs and chocolatiers from more than 20 countries around the world.

Coppel, an internationally recognized chocolatier located in Las Vegas, is one of only ten Cacao Barry Ambassadors in the United States.

"The Ambassador Club is an essential extension of the Cacao Barry brand," said Alexandra Urbe-Adams, Senior Brand Manager, Region Americas. "It includes talented professionals who, in addition to their full-time jobs, support Cacao Barry with various projects throughout the year. Our brand thrives on educating and inspiring chefs across the United States. Without the Ambassador Club, this transfer of knowledge would not be possible."

Chef Coppel's modern approach to bonbon making was among the many reasons she was invited to join the Ambassador Club. Her creations deliver a contemporary look, infused with powerful flavor combinations, while maintaining the utmost respect for quality. Furthermore, her impressive multi-segment experience includes positions at fine dining restaurants and luxury hotels, operating her own chocolatier business, while teaching and consulting. As a new Ambassador, she will be featured in monthly Cacao Barry chocolatier-focused communications that will introduce other artisans to her world.

"I feel so grateful and honored for this amazing opportunity to be part of such an incredible group of professionals," said Chef Melissa Coppel. "As chocolate artisans, it is important to have a strong connection between who we are and what we do. Creative, evolutional and daring are words that perfectly describe me, and that is also reflected in my work style. I'm truly excited to be able to share this perspective about chocolate-making with others."

Chef Coppel left her home country of Colombia in 2004 to study pastry in Argentina under French Pastry Chef Olivier Hanocq, a LeNôtre disciple. She then moved to Chicago to continue her studies at The French Pastry School. In 2006 she moved to Las Vegas to work at Joël Robuchon at the Mansion, a three-star Michelin restaurant. In less than a year, she was asked to run the pastry kitchen of L'Atelier de Joël Robuchon under Executive Pastry Chef Kamel Guechida.

She quickly discovered her true passion for chocolate and moved to Caesar's Palace where she managed all of the chocolate production for the casino. In 2009, Chef Coppel accepted a position at Bellagio Hotel and Casino where she worked under Chef Jean Marie Auboine. Two years later, she partnered with Auboine to open Jean-Marie Auboine Chocolatier in Las Vegas.

Throughout her career Chef Coppel has been recognized for her exceptional chocolate artistry, winning several industry awards. In 2012 she won the Pastry Live "People's Choice" Award and placed second overall in the "Chocolatier of the Year" competition in Atlanta. In 2013 she returned to the Pastry Live competition where she reclaimed the "People's Choice" Award and won the title of "Chocolatier of the Year".

Chef Coppel is the owner of Sucre LLC Consulting where she spends her time teaching and inspiring other chocolate artisans. She is currently writing a book about chocolate that is scheduled for release in 2017.

In addition to Chef Coppel, the Cacao Barry® USA Ambassador team includes:

* Dimitri Fayard - Executive Pastry Chef at The Peninsula, Chicago
* Lauren Haas - Dpt. Chair, Pastry Chef Instructor at Johnson & Wales, Providence, RI
* Franck Iglesias - Executive Pastry Chef at Foxwoods Resort Casino, Mashantucket, CT
* Chef Jacquy Pfeiffer and Chef Sébastien Canonne - Co-founders of The French Pastry School, Chicago
* Rocco Lugrine - Pastry Chef Instructor at the Art Institute of Philadelphia
* Frédéric Monti - Corporate Pastry Chef at PreGel America, Concord, NC
* Gabriele Riva - Owner of Gabriele Riva Boutique, Long Island City, Queens, NY
* Amanda Rockman - Executive Pastry Chef at South Congress Hotel, Austin, TX

About Cacao Barry® (www.cacao-barry.com):

By constantly inventing and reinventing Pastry and Gastronomy, France gave its name and mark to this art. It is a tradition envied by the whole world, centered around creativity, innovation, and above all passion. Since its creation, Cacao Barry® has been entirely committed to this heritage. It all started with the quest of its founder Charles Barry, who traveled to Africa in 1842 to seek out the best cacao bean varieties for his first true connoisseur's chocolate. In 1923, the company was catapulted into the international arena, making Cacao Barry the first to investigate cacao cultivation in Latin America and other continents. Whether with the first range of rare-origin chocolate couvertures, the highly sought-after aromatic refinement of the first Plantation Millésimes or the introduction of the Or Noir Lab in 2007 - a service offering chefs the opportunity to create their own signature chocolate - Cacao Barry has constantly raised the bar, setting new standards for the chocolate industry.

Today Cacao Barry® provides the most complete palette of products, to all passionate chocolate craftsmen around the world: chocolate and couvertures, pralinés, origins and exclusive plantations, inspiring them and opening doors to new creative experiences. Besides, Cacao Barry® offers the widest international community of chocolate professionals, Ambassadors' Club and Chocolate Academies to support craftsmen and chefs on their quest for perfection.

Barry Callebaut (www.barry-callebaut.com):

With annual sales of about CHF 4.8 billion (EUR 4.0 billion / USD 5.2 billion) in fiscal year 2011/12, Zurichbased Barry Callebaut is the world's leading manufacturer of high-quality cocoa and chocolate products - from sourcing and transforming cocoa beans to producing the finest chocolate, including chocolate fillings, decorations and compounds. Combined with the recently acquired cocoa ingredients business from Petra Foods, Barry Callebaut generates estimated annual sales of CHF 6 billion (EUR 4.9 billion / USD 6.4 billion), runs around 50 production facilities worldwide, sells its products in over 100 countries and employs a diverse and dedicated workforce of more than 8,000 people. Barry Callebaut serves the entire food industry, from industrial food manufacturers to artisanal and professional users of chocolate, such as chocolatiers, pastry chefs, bakers, hotels, restaurants or caterers. The two global brands catering to the specific needs of these customers are Callebaut® and Cacao Barry®.


Alexandra Urbe
Cacao Barry Sr. Brand Manager Americas