World Chocolate Masters
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Four contestants of UK and Ireland preslection announced

Cacao Barry® has the pleasure to announce the four contestants of the World Chocolate Masters UK and Ireland pre selection

The World Chocolate Masters, the premium international competition solely dedicated to the Art of chocolate, have started in October 2014 with a series of national selections, which will be held around the globe. The UK and Ireland national pre selection of the World Chocolate Masters will take place at Westminster Kingsway College, London on the 18th February 2015

During the UK and Ireland national pre selection, chocolate talents from all of the United Kingdom and Ireland will have to compete to be awarded the coveted title of “UK and Irish Chocolate Master”, before having the great chance to represent their country at the 2015 grand international final in Paris.

During this one day contest only dedicated to the creative use of chocolate and “Inspiration from Nature”, each contestant will have to make one chocolate showpiece and one moulded praline. All new this year, the “Patisserie of the day” assignment will be prepared with daily fresh ingredients and the “Chocolate to go” will be another new task in which participants will create a whole concept of chocolate snack.

The four contestants competing for the coveted title of UK and Ireland Chocolate Master are:

  • Alistair Birt, Head Chocolatier at William Curley
  • Mary Reid, Pastry Lecturer at Galway-Mayo Institute of Technology
  • Norma Kelly, Pastry Lecturer  at Dublin Institute of Technology
  • Richie Heppell, Head Chef at RAF Leuchars


Alistair - Whilst studying at university, Alistair fell in love with all things sweet and chocolate. Under the tutorage of Yolande Stanley MCA he travelled across the UK and America visiting  top industry names, which cumulated in him representing the UK in pastry at Worldskills in Canada 2009. He has been at William Curley for over five years and is responsible for all production, which includes chocolates, patisserie, baked goods, plated desserts and much more. Alistair has competed in many competitions, including the last UK selection of World Chocolate Masters where he came second and won the awards for Best Showpiece and Best Cake.  Alistair has also visited China on a British council tour- demonstrating and lecturing on the benefits of skilled labour and has also been a guest lecturer at Westminster Kingsway College several times. In 2013 Alistair received the  coveted Acorn Award, which acknowledges people under 30 who have made a significant contribution in their field.


Mary - Mary is an outstanding patissier and gifted pastry chef of note. As a lecturer at Galway-Mayo Institute of Technology (GMIT) since 1995, she has coached several of the most sought after pastry chefs in Ireland to national and international competition success. Her current advanced pastry, chocolate and sugar work courses are much in demand. Mary’s passion for sustained excellence has made her a by-word for professionalism in her craft. Such is her reputation, that in 2009 she was chosen as lecturer of the year in GMIT. Mary is a judge at both national and international competitions, including the prestigious Mondial des Arts Sucrés held in Paris.


Norma - Norma is a Lecturer in Pastry at the Dublin Institute of Technology (D.I.T.) in Dublin. Before becoming a pastry chef Norma studied the degree in Culinary Arts at D.I.T. Norma worked as a pastry chef both at home and abroad before returning to D.I.T. to complete a Masters degree in Food Product Development and Culinary Innovation. Norma has taken part in many culinary competitions both nationally and internationally as a student and continues to do so now as a lecturer. As well as competing herself, Norma now helps train students for competitions along with her colleagues at D.I.T.


Richie - Richie is currently the Head Chef in the Officers Mess at RAF Leuchars and he has been a chef for the RAF for 17 years. Throughout his career he has worked in a wide variety of kitchens ranging from cooking for 3000 troops in the Falkland Islands & Saudi Arabia to a fine dining Officers Mess, assisting in banquets for Her Majesty the Queen, VVIP visitors and the former Prime Minister John Major. Recently Richie has also started an online presence known as “Heppell’s” where he sells handmade artisan chocolates and gifts. Over the last 10 years Richie has won a number of Gold and silver medals as well as Best in Class awards at competitions representing the RAF and also the Combined Services Culinary Arts Team competing at the Tri-Service Competition, Hotelympia, and preparing for the Culinary Olympics & Culinary World Cup. He has also previously competed at the World Chocolate Masters UK Final and gained 3rd place.