The sixth annual For the Love of Chocolate Gala, held Feb. 5 in Chicago, welcomed its largest-ever crowd of more than 900 guests and raised more than $70,000 in scholarships to benefit the students of The French Pastry School of Kennedy-King College at the City Colleges of Chicago.
Chicago’s massive Merchandise Mart building housed the event, which featured celebrity chefs, pastry chefs, bakers and chocolatiers. The gala centered on “Cocoa Candy Land,” a festively decorated hall where DJ Anacron set the mood and Willy Wonka-themed attendants passed out drinks. Nearby, the Cocoa Cuisine hall featured chocolate-inspired fare from chefs, such as Rick Bayless of Frontera Grill, Paul Kahan of Blackbird and Graham Elliot of Graham Elliot Bowles. From there, the cocoa-themed celebration branched out into long, narrowing corridors bearing names such as Cocoa Sutra and Cocoa Lounge, which led to enclaves of live music and cutting-edge chocolate ideas.
The French Pastry School at City Colleges of Chicago was founded by Chefs Jacquy Pfeiffer and Sébastien Canonne, M.O.F. (pictured left and center respectively with Chef Joe Trummer, Sara Lee Corp.) The school’s mission is to train the pastry artisans of tomorrow by sharing the formulas and techniques that have made its instructors some of the best pastry professionals in the world.
Thanks to the continuing sponsorships and donors to For the Love of Chocolate Foundation, students who otherwise would not be able to afford education in pastry are able to apply for scholarships and obtain admission into the school.
The seventh annual For the Love of Chocolate Gala will take place Feb. 4, 2012.