Arts and Culture
6:00 am
Fri February 7, 2014

Chocolatiers And Chefs Compete At Annual Festival

Logan’s 27th annual chocolate festival is where amateur and professional chefs put their chocolate skills to the test.

In 1987, the Logan Planned Parenthood Advisory board created the chocolate festival as a way to raise money and interact with the community.

Over the last 26 years, the number of entries has ranged from 30 to 75. But one constant group of professionals emerge- the pastry chefs of Crumb Brothers Artisan Bread. Why? Well, because it's tradition.

"Crumb Brothers has done this since Crumb Brothers has been around. It's a fun tradition. It involves the whole community," said chef Samantha Powell.

Powell is joined by chefs Jen Rudd and Kanako Arnold in this year's competition team. With a history of winning, they say the pressure to do well is on.

"There is some pressure. It's fun and it's exciting. Really, I get so many ideas from the amateur division. They are so creative. But yes, there's a little pressure. You think you have to do something better and something more creative every year," Powell said.

"If it doesn't win, what does that say about it?" Rudd said.

"Did we fail the person before us? Things like that," Powell said.

The chefs are competing in a blind competition, meaning judges don't know who made the chocolate they are tasting. So the Crumb Brothers team's design is super-secret. But we do know about the chefs themselves.

"I like getting to make new things. But if there's any time we can do something that's not a regular, it's fun. Whether that be a cupcake or we do some kind of tart," Powell said.

Rudd said she enjoys the process.

"I like making beautiful products that people like to eat, that people enjoy. And knowing how it went from a handful of flour and some water to a beautiful pastry that people love to eat and enjoy and are amazed by is a really cool process," Rudd said.

It's Rudd's first time on the team, and she says she has liked the challenge of creating something new.

"It kind of stretches our limits in that way. We get to see what our boundaries are, if we can cross them, what things we can change about the rules of baking and cooking and what things we just can't," she said.

Arnold says she loves what the competition does to her team, as well as what others bring to the table at the competition.

"By doing this, I think each of us get to develop our skills a little bit higher, kind of challenge ourselves. Each of us in different ways or stage. That's why I usually involve everybody to make it and decide and then we get to be a better team too," she said. "When we bring the cake to enter, it’s fun to see what other people have done every year, and see on the professional table, this is our competition. Every year, they bring their best too. So we try to do that too."

The festival is held at Four Seasons in Logan. Tasting begins at 6:30 and an auction is at 8:45. Tickets are $10 a person. For more information, visit thechocolatefest.com