The French Pastry School |
November 14, 2013

Chicago, Illinois (November 14, 2013) - If you walked through the doors of Schweppe on Saturday, November 9th, you were instantly hit by the heady aroma of chocolate and coffee floating through their rows and rows of kitchen supplies. Thirty contestants came to the iconic foodservice industry supplier to submit their best and favorite recipes for chocolate and coffee brownies. During the event, Chef Joshua Johnson, a chef instructor from The French Pastry School of Kennedy-King College at City Colleges of Chicago, demonstrated how to make Chocolate Brownies with Sablée, Orange Marmalade and Cocoa Nib Florentine Crisp. After the demo, guests and competitors were treated to a vendor showcase in which they were able to speak one-on-one about the newest products and accessories in the food industry. The professional judges evaluated the brownies and awarded the winners with incredible prizes from KitchenAid, Nielsen-Massey Vanillas, Barry Callebaut Chocolate, John Boos, and Chicago Metallic.

Winner of the Third Annual Brownie Competition, Elise Hazzard, brought home a Candy Apple Red KitchenAid Stand Mixer, a collection of Nielsen-Massey Vanillas, a John Boos cutting board, and a baking kit from Chicago Metallic for her Ultimate Royal Brownies with Kahlua Caramel Sauce. Marija Benson won Second Place with her out-of-the box Twisted Olive-Blood Orange Brownies that included ingredients like dry mustard, olive oil, and chocolate-infused balsamic vinegar. Craig Miller, who counted his wife as one of his fellow, friendly competitors, took home Third Place for his Irish Coffee Brownies. Fourth Place went to Meghan Fiene and her Chocolate-Hazelnut Brownies with Candied Coffee Nuts. Beata Kowalska’s Fifth Place-winning Espresso Brownies were topped with Honey-Chocolate Icing and Pecan Candy.

As the judges tasted thirty entries, Chef Joshua Johnson demonstrated his own unique recipe: a chewy brownie with a crispy layer of sablée cookie dough baked inside was topped off with brightly-flavored orange marmalade and a circle of caramelized, nougatine crisp. Johnson used typical household tools like whisks, rubber spatulas, and sheet pans to make the dessert but also incorporated more specialized equipment like induction stoves, high heat proof spatulas, and silicone molds. Schweppe provided each participant with a special coupon so they could peruse the shelves and add new utensils to their collection. The eighty year-old family business in Lombard showed Pastry Chicago’s guests the same hospitality that has made them a Chicagoland staple for all food lovers for so many years. This included a vendor showcase arranged especially for the attendees: representatives from American Metalcraft, EMI Yoshi, John Boos, KitchenAid, Lodge Cast Iron Cookware, and Mozo Shoes all set up engaging, interactive displays.

While Chef Johnson educated his audience, a panel of six judges was already well into tasting the wide variety of brownies: even though every contestant used identical requirements for the competition, not a single recipe was the same. Nancy Carey, Chef Instructor at College of DuPage; Veronica Giannopoulos, co-owner of Chicago Sweet Connection; Liz Kelly, Social Media Manager of Chicago Metallic Bakeware; Ron Reed of Butterfield Country Club; Bogna Solak, owner of Oak Mill Bakery; and Harold Fremgen all served as judges. They scored the entries with the greatest weight on taste, then texture, creativity, and punctuality and professionalism.

On Sunday, December 8, 2013, Pastry Chicago will hold its Eighth Annual Gingerbread House Competition at The Drake Hotel. The top three winners of the competition will be featured in the hotel’s annual Gingerbread Village and the Grand Prize is a KitchenAid Stand Mixer and a one night stay at The Drake Hotel with tea for two in The Palm Court. Stay tuned for more details on this exciting competition – featuring a demonstration by legendary cake artist, Chef Nicholas Lodge – and the announcement of Pastry Chicago’s schedule of events for 2014. For more information on future Pastry Chicago events, please visit


Download this recipe in PDF format