Chef Todd Owen Chosen to Compete in National Chocolate Masters Competition
(Highlands, NC) Old Edwards Inn and Spa’s Executive Pastry Chef Todd Owen has been selected to compete in the 2013 National Chocolate Masters Competition. Five finalists were chosen from applicants across the United States to be flown to Chicago for the competition, which will be held January 11 and 12 at the Barry Callebaut Chocolate Academy.
In a 8 1/2 hour period, the contestants will produce, a large chocolate centerpiece, a revised twist on a donut, a moulded praline or moulded bonbon, and one plated dessert. They will be judged on compliancy with theme, balance and harmony, artistic skills, technical methods, creativity, taste, texture, hygiene, organization and professional attitude. The jury panel is made up of celebrity chefs and chocolate masters from around the world.
This year’s competition theme is “The Architecture of Taste.” The theme is defined in the National Competition’s website as “Patissiers and chocolatiers become architects. They will analyse and compose with flavors. They will conceive and assemble with textures. They will study and design new shapes. And most of all, they will innovate. They will create a brand new architecture of taste, in which chocolate plays a fundamental role.”
The winner of the U.S. National Competition will test their skills in the World Chocolate Masters against 18 world wide National Champions.
Chef Todd’s culinary career began at the age of 16 at a local vocational school for culinary arts in Worcester, New York. Discovering his natural talent in pastries, Todd began to challenge himself by competing in regional and state competitions. As his first win, he took second place in commercial baking in New York State in 2002. He then proceeded to The Culinary Institute of America to complete his training.
Todd landed his first job at the Five-Star Resort The Cloister at Sea Island in 2005. For the next five years, he worked with a well-known chocolatier exploring the artistry side of the craft and learning from global level competitions. While pushing himself in the pastry competitions, he continued to dabble in the savory side of cuisine in both the kitchen and the bake shop. Crossing the flavors of sweet and savory shaped Todd’s pasty technique in ways that were unique to the industry.
After leaving the Cloister at Sea Island, Todd furthered his career at a Luxury French Country Inn, L’Auberge Provencale, in Northern Virginia, and then as Assistant Pastry Chef at the Historical Greenbrier Resort in West Virginia—one of the best known hotels in the North America. Todd came to Old Edwards Inn and Spa in 2011.
Johannes Klapdohr, Executive Chef of Old Edwards Inn and Spa, says, “Chef Todd comes from a strong background in pastry. We are delighted to have him on our team. His incredible talent makes him very versatile, which is important because of the amount of products that are produced in house and still have them up to Old Edwards standards. Has the same philosophy of using sustainable ingredients to create high quality pastries for our resort and guests.”
Echoing Klapdohr’s own culinary philosophies, Todd says he has come to focus on the true meaning of food and enjoys the creative quality that he is able to exude in every pastry that he crafts.
For more information about Old Edwards Inn and Spa’s culinary program, visit www.oldedwardsinn.com/dining.
About Old Edwards Inn and Spa (www.oldedwardsinn.com)
- Condé Nast Traveler’s #1 Hotel Spa in North America for 2010 with the First Ever Perfect Score in the 20-Year History of the Reader’s Survey
- Condé Nast Traveler’s #3 Hotel Spa in the United States for 2011
- 2010 TripAdvisor Travelers’ Choice Award (top ten in the US)
- 2011 TripAdvisor Reader's Choice Award for #4 Best Relaxation Spa Hotel in the U.S.
- 2011 TripAdvisor Reader's Choice Award for #2 Best Hotel for Romance in the U.S.
- 2011 TripAdvisor Certificate of Excellence for Madison’s Restaurant
- 2012 TripAdvisor Travelers' Choice Awards #4 Hotel in The United States
- Condé Nast Johansen’s Most Excellent Inn in the US and Canada 2008
- Forbes Four-Star Rated for both the Resort and The Spa
- AAA Four-Diamond Rated
- Madison’s Restaurant and Wine Garden has won the Wine Spectator “Award of Excellence” every year since 2005 and the “Best Of” award since 2008.
Old Edwards Inn and Spa cascades along several blocks in downtown Highlands—a cultural mountain village that offers award-winning dining, wine events, art galleries and some of the nation’s top golf resorts. The European style resort welcomes visitors to North Carolina’s high country with its unique blend of relaxed luxury recognized worldwide. A spectacular outdoor heated mineral pool, world class spa, award-winning dining, and golf at the private Old Edwards Club are signature experiences at this full-service mountain resort. Guests are surrounded by the warmth and character of Old-Europe architecture and authentic period antiques. Many rooms, cottages and suites offer private patios or terraces—some with captivating rooftop views of Main Street and downtown Highlands. All of the luxury accommodations include champagne arrival, twice-daily housekeeping, two 24-hour business centers and two 24-hour Butler’s pantries with Dove Bars, fresh fruit and soft beverages. European bedding, fine Italian linens, plush robes & slippers, rainfall showers, heated-tile bathroom floors, in-room safes and Wi-Fi enhance the in-room experience. Old Edwards Inn and Spa also boasts a state-of-the art fitness center with wellness classes that include guided hikes into the scenic surrounding mountains known as “waterfall country.”
Guests enjoy onsite shopping at the Spa Boutique, Acorns Boutique or Acorns on Church featuring fine antiques and home accessories. Dining venues include Madison’s Restaurant and Wine Garden serving innovative New South Cuisine, the Spa Café and the Poolside Bar and Bistro. Special events and weddings take place at The Farm—a lushly landscaped Old Edwards property located one mile from downtown Highlands featuring The Barn, the Farmhouse with luxury lodging, Bridal Pavilion, Bridal Bridge over a scenic pond and outdoor events pavilion. The Edwards Hall Conference Center provides a catered corporate retreat venue.
The Falls Cottages are the newest addition to Old Edwards and can now be booked for stays beginning in July 2013. Constructed of native wood and stone and featuring the sumptuous comforts and fine details that characterize all Old Edwards accommodations, they offer the perfect ambiance of rustic elegance. The Falls Cottages surround an outdoor heated mineral pool and whirlpool with lush landscaping and a freestanding fireplace for cozy gatherings. They are just steps away from the Lodge Lobby and Bar, the Kelsey Game Room, the Croquet Lawn, another outdoor heated mineral pool, whirlpool and poolside bar and cabana. The multi-bedroom cottages feature common living areas and can be opened up as full cottages, making them perfect for groups or family gatherings.