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Norman Love Confections chef wins second place in U.S. Pastry Competition

Pastry chef and chocolatier John Cook of Norman Love Confections captured second place in the 26th annual U.S. Pastry Competition in New York City.

He was one of 13 finalists selected from around the country to compete in the prestigious annual event, which allows pastry chefs to showcase their talents by creating advanced desserts, bonbons, and sugar- and chocolate-sculpted pieces. This year’s theme was “Diamonds are a Girl’s Best Friend – Ladies’ Luxuries.”

Cook’s dramatic vertical piece included all of the above. His cake creation included milk-chocolate almond mousse with raspberry gelee, chocolate sponge and almond crème and crunch on top of almond streusel. His showpiece was an ornate chocolate arc with a chocolate high-heeled shoe supporting the cake base. Other whimsical touches included a Mercedes-Benz emblem, a chocolate jewelry box with a drawer that opened, a spectacular red and white sugar-sculpted flower, branches that stretched outward and a large white, sculpted diamond at the very top.

“It was an incredibly talented group of competitors,” said Cook. “I was honored to be among them. To win second place is really gratifying. It was worth all the long hours of practice and experimentation it took.”

Cook has worked at Norman Love Confections since 2006, when he joined as a chocolatier. Today he devotes most of his time to pastry, specializing in chocolate, his favorite ingredient because of its versatility.

Paris Gourmet 26th Annual U.S

Paris Gourmet 26th Annual U.S. Pastry Competition in NYC winners: Pastry Chef of the Year ~ Nicoll Notter, The Cosmopolitan, Las Vegas, NV Second Place ~ John Cook, Norman Love Confections, Fort Myers, FL Third Place ~ Nicolas Chevriev, Maison Kayseri, USA Honorable Mention ~ Monica Ng, Sirio Ristorante, NYC

“We are so proud of John,” says Norman Love. “We always encourage our team to be better today than they were yesterday, and he personifies that philosophy.”

The competition was founded and is sponsored annually by Paris Gourmet, an importer of gourmet and pastry ingredients that serves North America. Board members of the Societe Culinaire Philanthropique, one of the oldest chef associations in the world, presided over the judging.

Norman Love Confections creates and distributes handcrafted artisanal chocolates from its Fort Myers corporate headquarters that encompasses both production and retail operations. Chocolates, gift baskets, sipping chocolate and Love’s new book, “Artistry in Chocolate, A Story of Love,” also can be ordered online at www.normanloveconfections.com.

The award-winning Fort Myers-based chocolatier has been lauded more than a dozen times by a leading consumer ratings magazine, including recognition six times for producing the best ultra-premium chocolates in the nation. Forbes.com included Norman Love Confections BLACK line on its list of the nation’s top 10 truffles; The Huffington Post listed it among the six best U.S. destinations in its Chocolate Lover’s Travel Guide; and USA Today named Love as one of its top 10 entrepreneurs for 2014.

Norman Love Confections has Chocolate Salons in Fort Myers, Estero and Naples, and Artisan Gelato by Norman Love is next door to the Fort Myers salon, off Daniels Parkway east of I-75. In addition, Norman Love Confections chocolates and desserts are offered on 18 Princess Cruises’ ships through the “Chocolate Journeys” partnership.

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