Master Chocolatier Bernard Callebaut celebrates 40 years of chocolate-making in Calgary
By Bakers JournalNews Profiles chocolate
Calgary – Master Chocolat is celebrating the milestone at its four Calgary locations in the week leading up to March 25. Owner Bernard Callebaut has a rich history of chocolate behind him, growing up outside of a chocolate factory in Wieze, Belgium, where his great grandfather diversified the family brewery by opening a chocolate factory in 1911.
He had noticed chocolate was gaining popularity and sent his two sons to Meunier in Paris to learn the trade.
Bernard’s mother ultimately sold the business in the 1980s, and their original family-owned factory is the largest chocolate factory in the world today.
After completing his electro-mechanical degree in engineering in Belgium and a business management course in Switzerland, Bernard took a leap of faith and started an unpaid internship with one of Europe’s most renowned chocolatiers, Rene Goossens of Antwerp.
In 1982, he had a vision: to offer North Americans the same style of superior chocolates Europe had been enjoying for years. His philosophy is simple. By using the purest ingredients, uncompromising quality, handcrafted precision, and continuous improvements – North America would truly experience “chocolate enlightenment.”
After settling in Calgary, Alberta, he opened his very first chocolate shop on 17th Ave SW on March 25, 1983. Bernard made it his mission to be the one to provide high-quality chocolate.
“The support I received in the city was instantaneous – the first shop on 17th Ave SW had lineups outside around the building, even when it was -20 C. It was then that I knew I was on to something,” he says.
After building up his original business to unparalleled heights, Bernard had a dramatic down in 2010.
“Starting from scratch is a daunting task, to say the least, but I saw it as an opportunity to reinvent myself and raise the bar. When passion is in your blood, you can truly do anything you set your mind to. Because of our longtime loyal customers’ unwavering support of me, I still get to do what I love the most. I will always continue to make your favourite chocolates!” promises Bernard.
2023 marks 40 years in the chocolate industry. Today, he continues to create and innovate in the Master Chocolat factory in Calgary.
Bernard continues to pour his heart and innovation into every original creation with Master Chocolat – with his singular philosophy always top of mind, Master Chocolat is 95 per cent organic, and offers fair-trade certified chocolate bars, accompanied by vegan and gluten-free offerings to choose from.
Master Chocolat is celebrating the milestone at all four Master Chocolat Calgary locations in the week leading up to March 25.
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