When Chef Sarah and Chef Mallory, our Confections Manager whom we’ve dubbed “Cocoa Spice,” touched down in Vegas last month, they had one thing on their minds. (Hint: It was chocolate.)
As a part of PL&C’s continuing education, our team regularly travels to expos, trade shows, classes and the like to learn the latest technologies and methods emerging in the chocolate world. For this particular trip, Chef Sarah and Chef Mallory spent two days with Las Vegas chocolate goddess, Jin Caldwell of JinJu Chocolates, for an advanced techniques intensive. Jin, a master chocolatier, award-winning pastry chef and native Korean, channels her creativity and diligence through chocolate. Known for her painstaking attention to detail, one of Jin’s most popular signature items is her chocolate jewelry, like necklaces and matching earrings, which she’s made for plenty of A-list Vegas visitors.
In Jin’s two-day intensive, Chef Sarah and Chef Mallory honed their skills in cocoa butter airbrushing and other proprietary methodologies. (What happens in Vegas, stays in Vegas, chocoholics.) They also learned about the fast-and-furious life of pastry and chocolate in bustling Sin City.
Jin’s history is both esteemed and colorful, having served as Chocolatier and Pastry Chef at the Bellagio Hotel and Wynn Resort. Before that, Jin served as Master Chocolatier for Ethel’s chocolates, and provided product innovation direction to MARS Chocolate. During that time, she won numerous awards and was honored to be the only female on the 2009 “One of the Top 10 Chocolatiers” in North America by Pastry Arts and Design Publication. In addition, she led the only all-female team to a silver medal in the 2007 National Pastry Team Championship.
In 2011, Jin left the corporate world behind and launched her own business, which is founded on a simple and heartfelt philosophy: “Exceptional chocolate should be an experience of all five senses and treasured for simplicity of ingredients.” Jin is a small boutique chocolatier who ensures the quality, taste, and design of every piece she makes, using the best ingredients possible. “I felt like I made a good friend,” Chef Sarah beamed after her return to Boulder, “She and I have so much in common!”
Jin’s retail shop is located in downtown Las Vegas at the offbeat and hip Container Park—a new shopping center constructed entirely of repurposed shipping containers. In addition to her retail space, Jin sells wholesale to the likes of Caesar’s Palace, The Wynn, and other big names in Vegas hotels and casinos. “She is so warm, friendly, generous, and giving—there wasn’t anything she wasn’t willing to share with us,” Chef Sarah smiled, “She even took us to the airport!”
With new friends and new skills under our belts, we’re looking forward to rolling up our sleeves and putting our new knowledge to use. Jin, thank you for providing our team with such a valuable and memorable experience. We’re ready for your visit to Boulder when you are!