TOKYO — The Barry Callebaut Group, Zurich, Switzerland, has opened its first Chocolate Academy center in Tokyo, its 19th training center in the world and its fourth in the Asia Pacific region, after Mumbai, Shanghai and Singapore.
“Japan is Asia’s largest consumer market for chocolate confectionery and it is highly recognized for chocolate innovation,” said Mikael Neglen, president, Chocolate Asia Pacific, Barry Callebaut, at the official opening ceremony. “The new Chocolate Academy center in Tokyo brings us even closer to our regional Gourmet customers and will enable the Barry Callebaut Group to be in a better position to capitalize on growth opportunities in the region. It also reaffirms our commitment to the Japanese marketplace and its highly skilled professional chocolatiers and other users of chocolate.”
Pascale Meulemeester, vice-president of global gourmet brand marketing for Barry Callebaut, said the opening of the center in Tokyo is a symbolic move in promoting the company’s position as a leader in the gourmet chocolate sector in the region.
“The new center will offer chefs world-class support and enable them to harness their skills to bring the best innovations in chocolate,” Mr. Meulemeester said.
The center’s offerings include a range of workshops, courses and demonstrations for professional customers in all sectors: chocolatiers, pastry chefs, bakers and other chocolate experts as well as culinary professionals working in hotels, restaurants and the catering business. In addition, the center features a modern kitchen and utensils that is expected to allow the professionals to perfect their expertise in chocolate under the guidance of Barry Callebaut’s specially trained chefs and the elite Chocolate Ambassadors Club.
At the official inauguration event, Barry Callebaut also announced the appointment of Kohei Ogata as the head of the new training center and Callebaut chef. He is most recognized for his work as the Chef Pâtissier in Japan for Henri Le Roux, a French chocolatier and caramélier that has chocolate shops in Paris, Brittany, France and Tokyo. Andres Lara, Cacao Barry Regional Chef Asia Pacific, also will be based in the Chocolate Academy center in Tokyo.
The Japanese are the biggest per capita consumers of chocolate in Asia Pacific with an average of 1.9 kg per year, according to the International Confectionery Association/ Association of the Chocolate, Biscuit and Confectionery Industries of the European Union.The new Chocolate Academy center in Tokyo will be integrated into the network of Barry Callebaut’s 18 other such training centers all around the world.