How do two men, one born in rural Illinois and the other in northern Argentina, form a chocolate connection?
“We met at a pastry forum, and six months later Gonzo called me to be his partner in a chocolate showpiece competition, where we took Best Artistic Award,” explains David Lewis, who, upon graduating with a degree in culinary arts, worked for restaurants and hotels in Las Vegas before heading to sea with Norwegian Cruise Lines.
Realizing life on land was pretty tempting, Lewis returned to Las Vegas and served as pastry chef for Paris, Bally’s and Planet Hollywood. With a simpler lifestyle in mind, he moved to Colorado with his wife and daughter and was appointed executive pastry chef at The Brown Palace Hotel and Spa in Denver. Already, at a young age, he has been named American Culinary Foundation (ACF) Western Region Pastry Chef of the Year and runner up for National Pastry Chef of the Year in 2015 and served as president of ACF Colorado Chefs Association in 2016.
Gonzo Jimenez attended pastry and culinary school in Buenos Aires before traveling around Argentina working for Five Star hotels and celebrity chefs. From 2009 to 2013, he was employed by St Julien Hotel & Spa in Boulder and Hyatt Corporation in New Orleans and New York and launched a line of chocolates sold to Manhattan hotels. Grand Hyatt Santiago de Chile lured Jimenez back to South America, where he was hired soon after by Barry Callebaut Group as corporate chef for the South American Region and director of the Chocolate Academy Chile.
“While Gonzo was in Chile, we came up with the concept of Miette et Chocolat, and he applied to come back to the United States,” Lewis explains. Jimenez and his wife returned to Boulder.
Together, the gifted pastry chefs and chocolatiers established their “French patisserie with a modern twist” to offer everything from traditional bon bons and unique candy bars to beautiful desserts and chocolate showpieces. Miette et Chocolat has worked with several corporate clients, creating beautiful holiday gift boxes and setting up VIP functions for Gaylord Rockies Resort & Convention Center, set to open in late 2018.
Much of their inspiration comes from art. “The way we garnish everything is very artistic in design,” Lewis explains. “We also both have hotel backgrounds, so we know how to put on a show if clients want something high-end that will impress.”