Norman Love chocolatier named one of nation’s top 10 pastry chefs
Maura Metheny, chef chocolatier for Norman Love Confections, has been named one of America’s Top 10 Pastry Chefs for 2015 by Dessert Professional magazine.
Each year, the New York-based magazine names 10 top pastry chefs from across the country,recognizing them for their talent and vision. This year’s top 10 were honored during the 22nd annual awards in New York City this month. Each honoree created and served a dessert showcasing his or her talents.
Metheny’s dessert was a Peanut Butter, Chocolate and Caramel Crunch bar, composed of flourless chocolate cake, peanut butter chocolate crisp, peanut butter cream with poached candied peanuts, and peanut butter and caramel mousses, served with a dark chocolate peanut butter macaroon and vanilla caramel.
“A talented and dedicated pastry chef is an invaluable asset in any kitchen,” said Editor Matthew Stevens. “Our 2015 Top Ten Pastry Chefs in America have also distinguished themselves as innovators, leaders and mentors in their chosen career paths. It is our honor to recognize them for their many and varied contributions to our industry.”
Metheny, head of design and innovation at Norman Love Confections, has worked with Love since 2001, earning extensive professional accolades along the way. She was the only chef from the Southeast honored by Dessert Professional; five are from New York, two are from California, and the remaining chefs are from Las Vegas and Minneapolis. All 10 chefs will be featured in the August issue of the magazine, the nation’s leading publication for the pastry, baking, cake, ice cream and chocolate industries.
“Maura is a consummate professional – artistic, passionate and meticulous in her approach to work,” said Love. “She personifies our philosophy of coming to work each day to be better than the day before. She is truly deserving of this honor.”
This isn’t the first time Metheny will grace the pages of the prestigious magazine. She was featured on its cover in April 2013 and competed as a team captain in the Pastry Live 2013 National Showpiece Championship, heading one of only eight teams chosen to compete in Atlanta. She and fellow NLC chef/chocolatier Dan Forgey were named National Showpiece Champion for the Best Overall/Most Excellent Showpiece and Best Chocolate Showpiece. She also placed second for Pastry Live 2013 Chocolatier of the Year.
Metheny earned a bronze medal earlier that year in the 24th annual U.S. Pastry Competition for Pastry Chef of the Year, sponsored by Paris Gourmet in New York City.
“It’s so rewarding to be recognized by your peers,” says Metheny. “I am honored to be included in such a talented group of pastry chefs.”
The Massachusetts native was formally trained in ceramic arts and glass before turning her talents to pastry and chocolate. She earned a bachelor’s degree in fine arts in New York then went on to earn an associate degree in pastry arts at Johnson & Wales in Providence, Rhode Island.
At the conclusion of her studies, she moved to Lucerne, Switzerland, where she worked in pastry and chocolate, returning to the United States to join The Ritz-Carlton, Naples, creating desserts and confections for the hotel’s acclaimed fine dining outlets.
That’s where she met Love and, in 2001, began assisting him parttime when he founded his company. She joined the company fulltime in 2003 as chocolate production manager.
She was promoted to her current position in 2011, and is responsible for the development of new products, packaging design and development and execution of all of the Norman Love chocolate lines.
In 2014, Gulfshore Business named her one of its 40 under 40 honorees, she was the recipient of the 2014 National Product Design Award for Love Origins, and she was selected as a judge for the 2014 Pastry Live competition in Atlanta.
Norman Love Confections has Chocolate Salons in Fort Myers, Estero and Naples in Southwest Florida. The chocolatier creates and distributes handcrafted artisanal chocolates from its Fort Myers corporate headquarters that encompasses both production and retail operations. Chocolates, gift baskets, sipping chocolate and Love’s new book, “Artistry in Chocolate, A Story of Love,” can be ordered online at www.normanloveconfections.com. In addition, Norman Love Confections chocolates and desserts are offered on 18 Princess Cruises’ ships through the “Chocolate Journeys” partnership.
The award-winning Fort Myers-based chocolatier has been lauded more than a dozen times by a leading consumer ratings magazine, including recognition six times for producing the best ultra-premium chocolates in the nation. Forbes.com included Norman Love Confections BLACK line on its list of the nation’s top 10 truffles; The Huffington Post listed it among the six best U.S. destinations in its Chocolate Lover’s Travel Guide; and USA Today named Love as one of its top 10 entrepreneurs for 2014.
Love and his wife, Mary, founded the business in 2001 and contribute to more than 250 charitable causes every year.