Jacques Torres
Larry Busacca/WireImage for New York Magazine

Specialty: Chocolate

Born and raised in southern France, chef Jacques Torres owes the start of his career to a bet, when he was dared to ask two-star chef Jacques Maximin, chef of the Hotel Negresco and a celebrity within the culinary world, for a job. Surprisingly enough, Maximin agreed, and it was the start of an eight-year relationship during which Torres learned many of the confectionery skills and crafts that he has become known for.

In 1988, Torres came to the United States to open the Ritz Carlton in Palm Springs. Word of his reputation spread like wildfire, and within the year, Le Cirque lured him to New York City with the offer of a $100,000 custom-made and -designed pastry kitchen, where he stayed for more than 10 years, serving dignitaries, presidents, and more.

During this time, Torres launched a public access show, Dessert Circus with Jacques Torres, that aired 52 episodes, and also released two companion cookbooks: Dessert Circus: Extraordinary Desserts You Can Make at Home, which earned a 1999 James Beard nomination, and Dessert Circus at Home.

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His work at Le Cirque, fueled by the success of his show and books, inspired Torres to pursue an even larger dream: opening his own chocolate shop. Debuting to great acclaim in 2000, the Jacques Torres Chocolate in Brooklyn sold a line of hand-crafted chocolate candies and confections.

Like a modern-day Willy Wonka, Torres knew he could do bigger and better: making chocolate itself, straight from the cocoa beans. Accomplishing what many said would be impossible, Jacques Torres Chocolate Haven opened in Manhattan in 2004.

The store incorporates both a café and manufacturing plant, allowing visitors to watch as chocolate is created from beans. Torres is the only New York City chocolatier to create not only his own candy, but his own chocolate.

Fun fact: Chef Torres might love chocolate, but he's also a health fanatic. He's a regular at the NYC Marathon.


Chocolate Bark

Chocolate Mousse

Chocolate Coconut Napoleon

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