Fondly referred to as Mr. Chocolate, Jacques Torres (www.mrchocolate.com) is the authority on all things related to this confectionery delight. Through his early years as a pastry chef, Jacques developed a deep affinity and passion for chocolate. Raised in France, Jacques fulfilled his American dream in 2000 with the opening of his first chocolate factory, Jacques Torres Chocolate in the DUMBO neighborhood of Brooklyn, New York. Jacques was a pioneer—the first artisan chocolatier to start from cocoa beans to make his own chocolate. Jacques prides himself on specializing in fresh, hand-crafted chocolates using premium ingredients free of preservatives and artificial flavors.
Jacques and his chocolate became an instant success attracting fans from all over the country. In 2004, he opened his second chocolate factory and flagship store, Jacques Torres Chocolate, in downtown New York City on Hudson Street. With a retail viewing space surrounded by 5,000 square feet of a chocolate manufacturing plant, at the Hudson St. workshop, visitors can peer into Jacques’ venerated process of turning cocoa beans into chocolate bars. Today, Jacques produces and sells his chocolates and other high-end confectionery products at his two workshops and retail-only boutiques on the Upper West Side, Chelsea Market, and Rockefeller Center, all in Manhattan. Jacques recently signed a lease for a manufacturing space at the Brooklyn Army Terminal in Sunset Park, and plans to move all production to the new facility by the fall of 2013.
Jacques’ story begins in Bandol, France, a small town in the southern region of Provence. At an early age, Jacques was inspired to start a culinary career thanks to his love for food and making people happy. Despite not having extensive prior training, but having 3 years apprenticeship, Jacques considered himself a craftsman and, in 1980, landed a job with Michelin two-star chef Jacques Maximin at the Hotel Negresco, starting a relationship that would last 8 years and take him around the globe. In 1986, Jacques was awarded the prestigious M.O.F. medal, the youngest chef to earn the distinction. Jacques counts his M.O.F. coach, Lou Lou Franchain, as a role model – along with Frank Mars of M&M Mars and Leonardo DaVinci who have served as sources of inspiration throughout his career.
In 1988, he ventured to the U.S. as the Corporate Pastry Chef for Ritz Carlton. It was Jacques’ intention to pursue the American dream. In 1989, the legendary Sirio Maccioni invited Jacques to work at New York City's most famous restaurant, Le Cirque. For 11 years, Jacques served presidents, kings, and celebrities in his every day work at the iconic restaurant.
During his time at Le Cirque, Jacques released a 52 episode public television series, Dessert Circus with Jacques Torres, along with two companion cookbooks, Dessert Circus: Extraordinary Desserts You Can Make At Home (William Morrow), which earned a 1999 James Beard Award nomination, and Dessert Circus At Home (William Morrow). He also hosted a television series, Chocolate with Jacques Torres, on the Food Network for three years. Jacques’ third cookbook, A Year in Chocolate (Stewart, Tabori and Chang) was released in 2008. He continues to participate in culinary events and make guest appearances on television shows such as Top Chef: Just Desserts and Chopped All Stars. Additionally, Jacques proudly serves as Dean of Pastry Arts at New York's International Culinary Center.
Jacques generously donates his time to many national charity organizations including American Red Cross, Meals on Wheels, God’s Love We Deliver, New York’s Hard of Hearing Association, Sloan Kettering Cancer Research Center, the Association to Benefit Children, Make a Wish Foundation, and St. Jude’s Children’s Hospital. He loves children and dedicates himself to causes that support their well-being and happiness.
Jacques makes his home in New York City and is married to Hasty Torres, a fellow chocolatier, who founded her own chocolate business in Beverly Hills called Madame Chocolat.