Press release: For the Love of Chocolate Gala Filled with Foodie Festivities | The French Pastry School

Press release: For the Love of Chocolate Gala Filled with Foodie Festivities

For the Love of Chocolate Gala Filled with Foodie Festivities
The French Pastry School |
March 2, 2012
The French Pastry School’s Scholarship Foundation Raises $100,000 for Students

See more images on Facebook Chicago, Illinois (March 2, 2012) – On February 25th, the halls of one of the biggest buildings in the world brimmed with activity as the best in the food industry came together to support the 7th Annual For the Love of Chocolate Foundation Gala.  As star chefs served delicious morsels in the myriad showrooms of The Merchandise Mart, models strutted in edible couture, a dance party gained momentum, and crowds gathered around a 9.5’ x 6’ x 5’ replica of Chicago’s Cloud Gate covered entirely in Jelly Belly® Jelly Beans and Chocolate Dips ®.  The foundation’s biggest event of the year, which raises scholarships for students of The French Pastry School of Kennedy-King Colleges at City Colleges of Chicago, drew over 1,500 guests from all over the country.  It was attended by local personalities and celebrity pastry chefs Chris Hanmer, Johnny Iuzzini, and Keegan Gerhard.  Over $100,000 in scholarships were earned with style and fun for students of L’Art de la Pâtisserie and L’Art du Gâteau thanks to a host of sweet and savory chefs, performers, and volunteers. 

The gala was composed of six different areas each with their own theme: Cocoa Venetian Carnival, Chocolate Spa, Cocoa Sutra, Confectiatory, Cocoa Candy Land, and Sweet as Sin where the DJ was a devil and skeletons from Redmoon Theater haunted the dance floor.  Each room and hallway was filled with friends and graduates of The French Pastry School supporting the school’s scholarship foundation by serving guests tastes of their well-known restaurants, cafes, bakeries, candy stores, and ice cream shops. 

Over 65 chefs spent their Saturday night with For the Love of Chocolate including Rick Bayless of Topolobampo and Frontera Grill; Meg Galus of NoMI; Patrick Fahy of Hotel Sofitel Chicago Water Tower; Paul Kahan and David Posey of Blackbird; Takashi Yagahashi of Takashi and Slurping Turtle; Dominque Tounge of Chez Moi; and many more.

The guests, foodies from all over the world, were enthralled by the elegant, festival-like atmosphere and drawn to the event’s glittering centerpiece: a replica of Anish Kapoor’s Cloud Gate covered entirely in Jelly Belly® Jelly Beans.   For the Love of Chocolate, The French Pastry School, After School Matters, and Jelly Belly knew that covering the sculpture – lovingly called “The Bean” by most Chicagoans – in Jelly Belly® Jelly Beans would be the perfect gourmet tribute to their great city. 

“The Bean” was flanked by students of After School Matters, a program that enables teens in the Chicago Public School system to realize their potential and gain career skills through a variety of opportunities.   The high school students were dressed in their chef jackets and ready to answer questions about the process of making the sculpture.  The final Chocolate Dip® had been placed only the afternoon before the gala and their chef instructor, the dynamic local legend, Gloria Hafer, stood by beaming with pride for her students and the incredible feat they had accomplished together.   After over 400 hours of work and over 120,000 jelly beans and Chocolate Dips®, it stood on a stage surrounded by admirers all evening.

A few steps away, Cocoa Venetian Carnival treated guests to a fashion show of 32 food-based designs.  Keegan Gerhard, owner of D Bar Desserts and host of Food Network Challenges, emceed the show which abounded with modern versions of classic Renaissance dress.  There were masks molded of gumpaste; harlequin patterns created with chocolate plaquettes; gold accents sparkling with luster dust; fascinators assembled from coffee cups and saucers; ruffles constructed of sugar bags, coffee filters, and corn husks; bustles sewn out of Flexi-pans; and elegant damask designs piped on chocolate bodices in colorful royal icing.  Seven year-old, Abigail Wodrich, for whom the fundraiser was originally founded when she was in dire need of a kidney transplant seven years ago, was the show’s closer dressed as Princess Lollipop. The diverse team of designers included architects, students, chefs from restaurants, hotels, catering companies, coffee houses, and bakeries, and a recipient of a For the Love of Chocolate Scholarship. 

The foundation and gala could not exist without the many generous sponsors and donors that make these grants possible for future students of the pastry arts. The eighth annual For the Love of Chocolate Gala, already in the planning process, will take place in February of 2013: keep current with details on next year’s amazing event and the work of the eponymous foundation by visiting  The next For the Love of Chocolate scholarships will be awarded to students who start L’Art de la Pâtisserie on July 9th and L’Art du Gâteau on September 4th, the deadline to apply is in May.  Stay tuned for news of the progress of the many scholarship recipients, students, and alumni of The French Pastry School.

About For the Love of Chocolate Foundation
For the Love of Chocolate Foundation provides scholarships for qualified students in the specialized training of the pastry arts, specifically in the full-time programs taught by The French Pastry School of Kennedy-King College at the City Colleges of Chicago. For the Love of Chocolate Foundation promotes commitment in pastry arts education for individuals looking to change careers, as well as individuals who have shown potential in the culinary field but who have no formal pastry education. For more information, see

About The French Pastry School
The French Pastry School is a premier international institution of pastry arts education. Superb instruction, superior equipment, and top quality ingredients enable the co-founders and Academic Deans, Chefs Jacquy Pfeiffer, and Sébastien Canonne, M.O.F., to uphold an exceptional educational facility for pastry and baking. The French Pastry School’s team of award-winning instructors has grown to a faculty of many renowned chefs, including Master Baker Jonathan Dendauw, Pastry World Champion Dimitri Fayard, Della Gossett, Scott Green, Pastry World Champion En-Ming Hsu, Joshua Johnson, Master Cake Artist Nicholas Lodge, Kristen Ryan, Master Cake Artist Mark Seaman, and World Baking Champion Pierre Zimmermann. 

The French Pastry School offers the rare opportunity for students to learn the art of pastry in an intimate setting, being personally mentored by masters in their field. Students’ skills are finely honed through hands-on practice and repeated exposure to the best pastry techniques, tools, and ingredients. Our programs are ideal for anyone from the career changer to the professional to the novice. For more information on The French Pastry School, please visit


For more information on For The Love of Chocolate Scholarship Foundation or The French Pastry School please visit, or contact
Anne Kauffmann
The French Pastry School
312.726.2419 ext.207