Blog: A Cup of Chocolate, Hawks Style | The French Pastry School

Blog: A Cup of Chocolate, Hawks Style

A Cup of Chocolate, Hawks Style
The French Pastry School |
September 23, 2010

As we walked into The French Pastry School offices on Thursday, our typical greetings of “Good Morning” were replaced by celebratory shouts of “Go Hawks!” Everyone in the 8th floor office was a little bleary-eyed from staying up the night before to watch the Chicago Blackhawks win The Stanley Cup in one of the most exciting games I’ve ever seen. The school’s staff is made up of some of the best pastry chefs in the world who also happen to be some of the most devoted hockey fans.

What do pastry chefs know about hockey? More than you think. Chefs Jacquy Pfeiffer and Sébastian Canonne, M.O.F. were so sure that the Chicago Blackhawks were going to win the last match that they constructed a larger than life sculpture of the Stanley Cup, complete with hockey sticks, pucks and the team’s well-known logo, all made of 100% Cocoa Barry Chocolate and decorated with colored cocoa butter. Just like the Hawks in game six, the chefs had to work overtime to get the job done.

On my frequent trips down to the chocolate cooler, I was able to track the trophy’s progress. What started as pure tempered chocolate was molded into two perfect, dark-brown replicas of the cup; they were carefully painted with shiny silver cocoa butter, adorned with life size pucks and flanked by two chocolate hockey sticks, which rested beside the gleaming trophies, awaiting the outcome of the final game.

It was a close one all throughout the three periods and everyone at FPS had something to say. The Assistant Admission Director, Brigitte Lermen, who spent a good deal of time in Vancouver working as Assistant Pastry Chef at the Hyatt Regency, learned to love the game in Canadian kitchens. I overheard her and Chef Instructor Jonathan Dendauw discussing the game with excitement and relief, “It felt like just heart attack after heart attack watching that game.”

Among the biggest of hockey fans is Franco Pacini, the director of the school. “Being a true Chicagoan, we’re instilled with the expectation that our teams won’t pull through in the end. The Chicago Blackhawks are truly a superior team to the Philadelphia Flyers and they proved it last night,” Franco beamed as he spoke, explaining that he still had nightmares about one time when “Da Hawks” lost a chance of winning the Stanley Cup in 1971; after Wednesday, they had finally been put to rest.

“Our school presenting this sculpture to the City of Chicago and the Blackhawks organization is one great Chicago institution celebrating another great Chicago institution,” Franco explained, “The excellence the Blackhawks achieved over the past season is just the kind of excellence our students and instructors strive to achieve every day.”

A group of intrigued onlookers gathered around Chefs Jacquy, Sébastian and Joshua Johnson as they loaded the car with the sculpture, piece by piece, on their way to assemble it in City Hall. Their envoy was greeted by Cheryl Hyman, Chancellor of City Colleges of Chicago, local press and Mayor Richard Daley who donned one of Chef Sébastian’s toques for the occasion.

Instead of champagne, the cup was filled with fine chocolate candies made by FPS students; they disappeared just as quickly as Wednesday night’s bubbly.

The sculpture now rests with the city in the lobby of 121 North LaSalle Street where it is on display for the public as long as the chocolate lasts. By the time the Chefs and the Director of the school left the building, a large crowd had gathered around the sculpture gawking, asking questions and taking pictures.

“The team is a pure joy to watch,” Franco said. “Now that hockey has been brought back to life in Chicago by the Wirtz family, I hope more people will be able to learn what a truly great sport hockey is.”

From everyone at The French Pastry School, “GO HAWKS!”