Monday, May 2, 2016

Two Cowboys: Master Chocolat - Bernard Callebaut, Calgary - Alberta

Obsessed With What You Do...

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What will you do if you lose your business of thirty years, your recipes, your trademarks and even the right to use your own name? You do what you've always done. Passionately, you start again and make the things you love. Every time you work on it, you strive to make it even better! With a name such as Callebaut, one cannot help but have chocolate in your veins. 



Chocolaterie Callebut’ was established in 1911 by Octaaf Callebaut in the small Belgian village of Wieze. His chocolate company took up the same factory building his grandfather Eugène Callebaut, which was founded as a family-run brewing and milling company called ‘De Ploeg’ in 1850. Not far from this location, young Bernard grew up into a world of chocolate.

Bernard wanted to explore the world, and Calgary benefitted as a result. The far west of Canada was introduced to the finer art of flavour when he fell in love with the mountains and the prairie. Here at the foothills of the Rocky Mountains of Alberta, Bernard Callebaut established his Chocolaterie Bernard Callebaut three decades ago.

He was once Calgary’s king of chocolate. He led a small empire of confection retail stores, a vast distribution network and a well-loved brand. As a fifth generation Belgian chocolatier his 53,000 square foot chocolate factory absorbed a full building, and everybody had Callebaut chocolate for weddings, birthdays, and Christmas in western Canada. 

In 2010 things went wrong. Bernard's bids to hold on to his company failed. Not only did he lose recipes, trademarks and a brand he spent most of his life to build, he even lost the right to use his own name. While you can take everything away from a Producer, the one thing no one can take from him is his Passion. 

Bernard still has the same great love for the product than he's been making as a young entrepreneur chocolatier. He still has the same drive to show, tell and inspire people to taste his chocolate creations. Most of all, he still has his knowledge and skill to make chocolate taste great. No one can trademark, copyright, tax, permit, or take this away from him: Passion and knowledge are his, for good.

Bernard Callebaut is a renowned Master Chocolatier, with five generations of experience behind him. He is always focused on the balance of taste and style. Fellow chocolatiers, chefs and gastronomes around the world revere him. Having brought worldwide recognition to his craft, many accolades have been bestowed upon him, such as:

  • Winner for ‘Best Milk Chocolate Bar’ – 2013 International Chocolate Salon Awards in Los Angeles.
  • Winner for ‘Best Chocolate Boutique’ – 2013 Top Choice Awards in Calgary.
  • Silver Award – 2015 International Academy of Chocolate Awards in London.
  • Bernard was the first North American to be bestowed the honour of “l’Ordre  Internationale  de la  Gastronomie  Francaise”, recognized by the French Government for outstanding contribution to the culinary arts.
  • As the  founder of  Chocolaterie  Bernard  Callebaut,  he ran  the organization  for over  27  years. Today, the company doesn't even credit its heritage, or him as the founder. 
As  Calgary’s very own father of chocolate, Bernard is still proud to present his offerings and newest creations. He does it now as Master Chocolat with a small stall at the market. He is a Producer at heart. He is still driven to make something of value, make it better, and share it with people that are interested in his creations.

Impressions


We find Bernard where he is most comfortable, at the counter of his little chocolate shop at the Calgary Farmers' Market, where he tells his customers about his greatest passion and shares it with anyone willing to stay a moment to listen and taste Bernard's Artisan Chocolate.

"Starting over is a great opportunity to reinvent," Bernard affirmed. "It gives you a chance to try new things. I get to talk to my customers again, and try new recipes." Bernard shared his secret: The pleasure of seeing a person enjoy his chocolate is one of the biggest drivers that motivates Bernard to keep doing what he does."

When we visited his small factory nearby, we found the same passion with his staff. Bernard shared a piece of chocolate with us that is a new recipe he's been working on. "This one is going to a competition in London. Who knows, maybe they'll like it?" Bernard exclaimed.

It is almost unbelievable to meet a person with Bernard's lineage, background and stature in the world of chocolate. His story is even more amazing. To think that you can lose all you've accomplished, but still hang on to your passion and be proud of who you are and what you've accomplished. It is a privilege to know Bernard and tell a little bit of this phenomenal story.

It is even more amazing to get to know a little more of the person of Bernard Callebaut. Not his chocolate, but the man with a passion for making good chocolate.

This opportunity affirmed for us our own goal of why we should tell the world of our makers and the people that are creating our world: Our Producers. Not the Government. Not the Corporation. Not the Bank. But, these are the people that ultimately create our word. Governments come and go. Banks change and disappear. Some of them can even take your rights away to use their own name. But the one thing they can never take from you the producer is passion! This, Bernard has in spades.

Thank you for this amazing opportunity, Bernard.

Hendrik van Wyk
Producer

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Photos


Master

Passion

Master Chocolat

At the Market

Sweet

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