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FCIA Winter Chocolaterie Symposium: Fine Chocolate in the Chocolatier & Pastry Shop
1/20/2024 - 1/20/2024
9:00 AM - 5:30 PM PST
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Event Description

FCIA Winter Chocolaterie Symposium:
Fine Chocolate in the Chocolatier & Pastry Shop 

Calling all chocolatiers and pastry chefs. FCIA is hosting a winter chocolate symposium at the Melissa Coppel Chocolate and Confectionery School in Las Vegas on January 20 from 9:00am to 5:30pm. Guest speakers including Luis Robledo, Melissa Coppel, Stephen Durfee, and more will be demonstrating fine chocolate applications in pastry and confectionery, sharing tips and answering questions. There are a limited number of spaces available. Don't miss this opportunity to learn from top chocolatiers and chefs!

Early-bird pricing and access is open to FCIA members only until November 17. Prices increase after November 17.

FCIA Winter Chocolaterie Symposium: Fine Chocolate in the Chocolatier & Pastry Shop 

Date: Saturday January 20, 2024 
Time: 9:00 AM - 5:30 PM PT
Place: Melissa Coppel Chocolate and Confectionery School
Address: 9001 W Sahara Ave, Las Vegas, NV 89117

  • FCIA Member Exclusive Early Bird: $299 (until November 17, 2023)
  • FCIA Member: $399 (from November 18, 2023) 
  • Nonmember: $699 (from November 18, 2023) 

Highlighted speakers: Luis Robledo, Melissa Coppel, Stephen Durfee, and more. 

Limited Space Available!

Luis Robledo RichardsLuis Robledo - Keynote Speaker: 

Luis Robledo Richards has over 15 years of experience as a Pastry Chef and is the owner and creator of Tout Chocolat, a chocolate shop that specializes in high quality products including bonbons, bars, pastries and several other confections.

After graduating form the French Culinary Institute’s “Classic Pastry Arts” program where he was awarded “Outstanding Alumni Award”, Luis joined the pastry department of Restaurant Daniel in Manhattan’s Upper East Side, working alongside Pastry Chef Thomas Haas.

In the summer of 1999 Luis moved to Paris to attend the prestigious École Lenôtre where he apprenticed under chefs Jean-Louis Clément, Stéphane Glacier, Frédéric Anton and Philippe Gobet, all winners of the coveted MOF title.

During his stint in France, Luis worked in Michelin starred establishments such as Le Pré Catelàn and attended chocolate classes at Valrhona’s École du Grand Chocolat in Tain l’Hermitage.

In the fall of 2001 owner Sirio Maccioni named Luis Executive Pastry Chef of his acclaimed restaurant Le Cirque, where his dessert Red Fruit and Vanilla Napoleon was named “one of the five best dishes around the world” by food writer Alan Richman.

After two years as Le Cirque’s pastry chef, Luis was named Executive Pastry Chef of the Four Seasons Hotel New York. In addition to the Hotel’s day-to-day responsibilities, Luis created a line of high-end chocolates that became an immediate success among the Hotel’s VIP and celebrity guests.

In February 2006, Luis moved to Mexico City where he opened his anticipated first chocolate shop “Tout Chocolat”, achieving much success in Mexico and abroad.

Since then he’s been recognized as “One of the Top ten Chocolatiers in North America” by Dessert Professional Magazine and “Chef of the Year” by Vatel Club Mexico.

As a competitor Luis has won numerous competitions including the World Chocolate Masters Mexico in 2010 and 2012, as well as the Mondial des Arts Sucrées as a coach in 2009.

Throughout his career, Luis has appeared in numerous TV segments including Today Show, Good Morning America, Food Network, Latin America’s Gourmet Channel, Mexico’s Channel 11, Utilísima, Televisa and TV Azteca among others.

In addition, Luis has participated in several events such as “City Meals on Wheels”, The Chocolate Show, The Chocolate fashion Show and The James Beard Foundation Gala dinner.

Melissa CoppelMelissa Coppel

World-renowned Chocolatier, Melissa Coppel, left her home in Cali, Colombia to study pastry in Argentina before moving to Chicago to attend The French Pastry School in 2006. One of the few women at the top of her field, Coppel worked at Joel Robuchon at the Mansion, a three-star Michelin restaurant and ran the pastry kitchen at L’Atelier de Joel Robuchon in Las Vegas.

She later mastered her talent with chocolate at casinos like Caesars Palace and the Bellagio, where she exclusively focused on chocolate. She co-founded a wholesale chocolate company in Las Vegas before starting her own school in 2016.

Coppel's passion stems from her childhood memories of watching her parents cook side by side in the kitchen and later testing out new recipes on her grandmother when she started to study in the culinary field. Her creations earned her several accolades, including Chocolatier of the Year at the Pastry Live Competition in Atlanta 2013, and she was also named one of the Top Ten Chocolatiers in North America by Dessert Professional in 2016.

She has been a Cacao Barry Ambassador since 2015. Coppel teaches classes at her Chocolate and Pastry School throughout the year as well as around the world. Her school and her chocolate are an extension of this passion and her desire to share it. “Knowledge doesn’t belong to you, it passes through you,” Coppel said. “This profession has given me so much joy, for me it’s really about giving back and growing together, which brings meaning to my life.”

Stephen Durfee

Stephen Durfee is the Director of Chocolate Curriculum for Dandelion Chocolate in San Francisco, where he works with the Education team to craft exquisite chocolate experiences. Chef Durfee was a Professor of Baking and Pastry Arts at the Culinary Institute of America, Greystone, in Napa Valley, CA for twenty years, teaching courses in chocolate,  confectionery, cakes, and plated desserts. Previously, as Executive Pastry Chef of The French Laundry in Yountville, CA, he won the 1998 James Beard Foundation’s Award for “Pastry Chef of the Year” and was named one of the “10 Best Pastry Chefs in America” in 1999 by Pastry Art & Design and Chocolatier magazines.

His six-part video series “The Everyday Gourmet: Baking Pastries and Desserts” was commissioned by The Teaching  Company and featured in their series, “The Great Courses”, and he is a Senior Advisor to the Fine Cacao and Chocolate Institute.

Chef Durfee has participated in multiple individual and team pastry competitions and has earned top honors in dessert tastings and chocolate centerpieces. He was awarded a bronze medal for the 2010 World Chocolate Masters National Selection. In 2012, he was selected to join the “USA Pastry Team”, to compete in the prestigious Coupe de Monde de la Patisserie in Lyon, France. As Chocolatier and Plated Dessert specialist, his team finished in fourth place in the 2013 Pastry World Championships.

Michikio Tanaka: 

Chef Michiko Tanaka, is a pastry chef from CACAO HUNTERS® JAPAN. Chef Tanaka’s long career dedicated to chocolate started in 2003. She enrolled the Le Cordon Bleu Paris and obtained Diplôme de patisserie (Pâtisserie Diploma). After training at the Pierre Hermé in Paris, Chef Tanaka worked at Pierre Hermé Salon de Thé in Tokyo for seven years. She was in charge of developing new product concepts and recipes at an ingredient importer specialized in baking and confectionery. In August 2018, she joined CACAO HUNTERS® JAPAN and is currently responsible for product development and marketing for retail stores, including a brand new store at Tokyo Station.

Jennifer Yee

James Beard-recognized pastry chef Jennifer Yee recently joined Wynn Las Vegas as the resort's new Executive Pastry Chef. Yee brings two decades of pastry experience to her new role, in which she oversees the pastry programs at more than 20 venues across Wynn and Encore Las Vegas.

As the executive pastry chef of Wynn Las Vegas, Yee now leads the resort's pastry operations for in-room dining and guest amenities, the cake and chocolate workshops, and a selection of the resort's fine dining outlets and casual eateries.

Yee began her pastry career in 2001 as a dessert plater at a local restaurant in her hometown of San Francisco. Shortly after, she graduated with distinction with a patisserie diploma from Le Cordon Bleu in London and remained in the UK to begin her training at Gordon Ramsay's Menu at the Connaught. In 2006, Yee ventured to New York where she honed her skills as a pastry sous chef, then joined the team at Charlie Palmer's Aureole as the pastry chef. There, she was awarded the Rising Star Pastry Chef award in 2010, before taking her talents to the two Michelin-starred SHO Shaun Hergatt. Three years later, Yee helmed the pastry kitchen and bakery of the French spirited Lafayette Grand Café & Bakery where her whimsical takes on traditional patisserie earned her three nods from the James Beard Foundation for Outstanding Pastry Chef. Most recently, Yee served as the executive pastry chef for the notable Linton Hopkins and his hospitality group, Hopkins & Company, in Atlanta Georgia, garnering her a fourth James Beard Award nomination.

Exclusive FCIA Lodging Options: 

La Quinta Red Rock by Wyndham (3 min drive)
9570 W. Sahara  Las Vegas, NV 89117 
Book with Reservation ID “FCIA Winter”  via email groups@lqredrock.com or call 702-243-0356 

Suncoast Hotel and Casino (6 min drive) 
9090 Alta Dr, Las Vegas, NV 89145
Book with Reservation ID “CHOA24C” via www.SuncoastCasino.com/Groups or call 888-402-6287