First U.S. Chocolate Academy Opens in Chicago

CHICAGO–(BUSINESS WIRE)–Barry Callebaut, the world’s leading manufacturer of high-quality cocoa and chocolate will officially open its first U.S. Chocolate Academy alongside its new North American headquarters at 600 W. Chicago today.

The Chicago Chocolate Academy, a training center for professional users, joins nine others around the world and is a part of Barry Callebaut’s commitment to building its business in North America and strengthening its relationships with chocolatiers and chefs in the United States.

Last year, Callebaut moved its North American headquarters to the facility in the former Montgomery Ward catalog building from Quebec, bringing approximately 70 executive jobs to Chicago. The company has more than doubled the size of its Chicago office, to about 27,000 square feet, to make room for the state-of-the-art training center.

“We moved our North American head office to Chicago because it is an excellent location for doing business with North America and the world,” said Massimo Garavaglia, President for the Americas, Barry Callebaut. “Chicago is a vibrant city that is well situated in the U.S. providing easy access to both coasts and the Midwest. Combined with a talented labor pool and strong culinary focus, Chicago was a natural choice to house our first U.S. Chocolate Academy.”

“Chicago is one of the dining capitals of the world so we are pleased that Barry Callebaut selected Chicago for its first Chocolate Academy in the United States," said Chicago Mayor Richard M. Daley. "The culinary professionals who will travel from around the world to take part in the Chocolate Academy will draw attention to the diversity and vitality of our dining scene, and Barry Callebaut will employ nearly 70 hard working residents of our city.”

The Chocolate Academy is the only one of its kind with worldwide locations, offering a diverse range of seminars, demonstrations, theoretical courses and practical workshops designed to inspire artisans and culinary professionals, including pastry chefs, confectioners, bakers and caterers, from around the globe. Award-winning French pastry chef, Jerome Landrieu, will serve as technical advisor for the Academy.

“We are pleased to welcome Barry Callebaut, and its first U.S. Chocolate Academy to our distinguished list of international companies that call Chicago home,” said Rita Athas, executive director of World Business Chicago. “We look forward to welcoming culinary professionals from around the world with Chicago’s dynamic spirit, and to engaging Barry Callebaut in our international business community.”

Barry Callebaut Chocolate Academies worldwide host approximately 500 chocolatiers, confectioners and chefs each week. In total there are 12 Academies located around the world. Locations include: Wieze, Belgium; Meulan, France; Lodz, Poland; St. Hyacinthe, Quebec; Singapore; Zurich, Switzerland; Banbury, United Kingdom; Suzhou, China; Mumbai, India; Zundert, Netherlands; Chekhov, Russia.

World Business Chicago (WBC) is a not-for-profit economic development organization promoting metropolitan Chicago. WBC markets Chicago’s competitive advantages, coordinates business retention and attraction efforts, and seeks to enhance Chicago’s business-friendly environment. WBC’s Board of C-level corporate executives is chaired by Chicago Mayor Richard M. Daley.

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

With annual sales of more than CHF 4 billion (approximately USD 3.6 billion) for fiscal year 2006/2007, Zurich-based Barry Callebaut is the world’s leading manufacturer of high-quality cocoaand chocolate – from the cocoa bean to the finished product on the store shelf. Barry Callebaut is present in 24 countries, operates more than 40 production facilities and employs approximately 8,000 people. The company serves the entire food industry, from food manufacturers to professional users of chocolate to global retailers. The company’s Callebaut, Cacao Barry and Carma products are specifically designed to meet the special needs of artisan customers, including bakers, pastry chefs, hotels, restaurants and caterers. Barry Callebaut also provides a comprehensive range of services in the fields of product development, processing, training and marketing.