Chocolatier Melissa Coppel has chartered new territory in her journey from bean to bonbon, molding her love of chocolate with her training in plated desserts to create a unique and exciting range, from her base in Las Vegas, Nevada.
A Columbian native, Coppel left her home country after high school to study classic pastry at The French Pastry school in Chicago. Soon after, she moved to Las Vegas to work at Joel Robuchon at the Mansion, a three Michelin Star Restaurant where she ran the pastry kitchen of L’Atelier de Joel Robuchon.
When she realized that her true passion was chocolate, she pursued experience in the field working in Casinos like Caesar’s Palace and The Bellagio, where she was dedicated to working only with chocolate. In 2012 she co-founded Jean-Marie Auboine Chocolates, a wholesale chocolate company.
Coppel's great obsession is the integration of the flavours and textures of plated desserts into chocolatier.
Desserts have always seduced me,’ she says. 'Imagine a bonbon replacing a dessert! Playing with the concepts for a plated dessert, bonbon or bar of chocolate seems like a great idea! I believe the Imagination and sensitivity of restaurant pastry is missing in chocolaterie. With a dessert, immediacy is present, and the components cannot wait long before being consumed, as happens in the sautéed apples, fruit granita, ice cream quenelles, etc. When a bonbon is offered, the diner does not expect anything more than a chocolate ganache with some sort of infusion. Always the same. I like to play around with the techniques, flavours and compositions. I believe in a real synergy between plated desserts and chocolate-making.'
In 2013 Coppel won the title of 'Chocolatier of the Year' at the Pastry Live Competition in Atlanta. In 2016 she was named one of the Top Ten Chocolatiers in North America by Dessert Professional Magazine. She is widely recognised for her exceptional chocolate artistry.