CHRIS ELBOW

CHRIS ELBOW

Owner, Christopher Elbow Chocolates
I always had an interest in pastry so I knew someday I would eventually find myself somewhere in the pastry world.

MEET THE CHEF

After pursuing a career as a savory chef, Christopher Elbow discovered all things sweet when he went to work in the Las Vegas restaurant industry. While in Vegas, Christopher had the opportunity to work in pastry kitchens of hotels and restaurants....and never looked back. Upon returning to his hometown of Kansas City, Christopher began experimenting with making chocolate bonbons while working as a pastry chef in a local restaurant. A passion was ignited, and in 2003, Christopher Elbow Chocolates was born. Immediate accolades and press fueled the rapid growth of Christopher Elbow Chocolates, leading to the opening of retail stores in Kansas City and San Francisco.

KALAMANSI AND VANILLA BEAN BONBON

Valrhona: What inspired you to enter the world of pastry?
I always had an interest in pastry so I knew someday I would eventually find myself somewhere in the pastry world.

Valrhona: From where do your inspirations for new creations come?
Traveling, eating in restaurants, staff, peers and watching what is happening in the industry.

Valrhona: Who in your life has been the biggest mentor/inspiration in your career?
Andrew Shotts. I took a bonbon class taught by Andrew very early on in my career and it was an invaluable experience in helping me refine my chocolate making skills.

Valrhona: What is your most famous dish?
Our Chocolate Pecan Caramels. It is our take on the classic “turtle” but with some modern updates. Ours includes a soft buttery caramel, toasted pecans and our signature chocolate topped with a bit of Fleur de Sel.

Valrhona: What is your earliest dessert memory?
Warm chocolate chip cookies and a cold glass of milk.

Valrhona: What is your favorite type of pastry to make? To eat?
I love eating and making ice creams. It doesn’t get any better than fresh homemade ice cream!

Valrhona: If you could pass one bit of insight down to another chef, what would it be?
Surround yourself with talented and passionate employees. They are just as instrumental to the success of your business as you are.

Valrhona: What is your favorite Valrhona Chocolate?
This changes often but I find myself eating a LOT of CARAMELIA 36% lately.

Valrhona: When pairing with chocolate, what is your favorite flavor combination?
Milk chocolate paired with citrus fruits (lime, yuzu, kalamansi) has always been one of my favorite combinations.

Valrhona: What is the Corporate Social Responsibility initiative you’ve implemented and are the proudest of?
We are in the process of creating the Christopher Elbow Chocolates Foundation. The mission of this is to help the farmers, their families and the workers of the farms where we purchase cacao.

Valrhona: When & how did you hear about Valrhona for the first time?
I first heard of Valrhona over 20 years ago very early on in my career but didn’t have a chance to work with it for several years. I started using Valrhona chocolate in my company around 2007/2008.

Valrhona: Who do you follow on social media?
valrhonausa (of course); krissharv3ypierrehermeofficial

Valrhona: What is your favorite perk of the CercleV program?
Access to Valrhona’s top-level pastry chefs and technical team and being among the first to see what innovative products they are working on.

QuickFire

Nickname?
In the factory it’s El Jefe.

Celsius or Fahrenheit?
Celsius.

Cake or Tart?
Tart.

Favorite restaurant?
Too many to name.

Go-to snack?
I’m a sucker for salty chips.

Wine or Cheese?
Do I have to choose between the two?

Coffee or Tea?
Coffee.

Favorite kitchen tool?
Small offset spatula….you can do a lot of heavy lifting with one of these!

Craziest delicious flavor combination?
Apricot, olive oil and yuzu.