The GODIVA global team of Chefs and Chocolatiers keep the Belgian tradition alive – and delicious. GODIVA Chefs and Chocolatiers are passionate about continuing the vision of our company’s founder Joseph Draps. Monsieur Draps believed in creating complex, yet always balanced notes of super-premium chocolates, an ode to the Belgian tradition. Today our global team of Chefs and Chocolatiers has the pleasure of creating extraordinary Belgian chocolates that are available in over 80 countries.
Thierry Muret, Executive Chef Chocolatier
A native Belgian, Chef Thierry studied the art of chocolate, pastries, and confections through an apprenticeship with Master Rene Gossens in Antwerp, Belgium. Chef Thierry credits Gossens for “bringing him into food.”
“He opened up the full scope of taste and flavor to me,” explains Chef Thierry. “He used to say, ‘Taste this strawberry – now explain what those flavors are.’ I learned a lot.”
After moving to the United States, Chef Thierry opened a chocolate shop with his sister in Chicago called Le Caraque. Five years later, Thierry left the family business and joined GODIVA.
Over the last 23 years, Chef Thierry’s chocolate expertise, sophisticated palate, and global vision have been integral to innovation at GODIVA. His background in chemistry and science has proven to be a large asset in understanding the inner workings of ingredients and the complexity of chocolate. Signature truffles, classic chocolates, proprietary caramels, and handcrafted bark are just a few of his many successes that have delighted Godiva customers.
Despite working with chocolate every day, Chef Thierry says it remains his comfort food. “Sometimes at the weekend, when the day is over, I like to sit down in the garden and have a glass of port or red wine with 67 or 72 percent cocoa chocolate,” he says. “That to me is comfort. It is nice to view the product you work with every day in another light.”
David Funaro Senior Chef Chocolatier
Chef David joined GODIVA as a Chef Chocolatier in 2007. At Godiva, Chef David’s primary focus is the development of new chocolate and pastry products for the Japan and Pacific Rim markets. Prior to Godiva, he was the Director of Operations at Norman Love Confections. David also owned and operated a family pastry business, Café Biscotti, in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania for seven years.
David is a graduate of the International Culinary Academy in Pittsburgh, PA, with an Associate Degree in Specialized Technology of Pastry Arts. He continued his culinary education in Paris. He is accredited as a Certified Executive Pastry Chef, Certified Culinary Educator, and Chocolatier.
Yannick Chevolleau, Chief Pâtissier Chocolatier Glacier
Chef Yannick started his career as a pâtissier in France, working in several Michelin-starred restaurants. When he moved to England, he met his wife, who was visiting England from Japan. “Naturally I followed her back to Japan!” he says. When Chef Yannick first arrived in Japan, he joined a French restaurant called The Georgian Club in Roppongi where everyone else on staff was Japanese. Having lived in Japan for eight years, Chef Yannick says he really enjoys it. So, too, does he love his work at GODVIA. Every morning when I go to work, I feel a sense of fulfillment,” he says. “I think that I was born to be a pâtissier, and I love what I do.”
“I’m really hungry to know what customers think about our products. I want to develop products that make our customers feel happy and satisfied. I’m always looking for feedback.” – Chef Yannick Chevolleau
Patrick Peeters, Chef Chocolatier
As a member of Godiva’s Research & Development team, Chef Patrick is responsible for recipe development and innovation.
Chef Patrick got his diploma with high honors from the Confectionary, Pastry and Bread apprentice school in Leuven, Belgium. He then worked for five years at various locations in Belgium before opening his own pastry shop in Leuven.
When he first moved to the United States in 1981, he operated and owned Peeters Belgian Pastries in Louisiana. Patrick also held the Executive Pastry Chef position at the New Orleans Marriott Hotel, and was the Pastry Chef at L’Enfant Restaurant in New Orleans.
For 11 years, Patrick was the Executive Pastry Chef at Marriott’s Camelback Inn Resort in Phoenix, where he created desserts, wedding cakes, and holiday and buffet centerpieces out of sugar, chocolate, and marzipan.
Patrick was also Technical Advisor for Barry-Callebaut, the largest manufacturer of chocolate in the world. Chef Patrick taught at the Chocolate Academies and gave demonstrations worldwide.
Now Chef Patrick has been selected as one of 12 leading pastry chefs and confectioners in the United States to serve as an ambassador for Barry Callebaut’s leading French, Belgian, and American chocolate brands. Barry Callebaut’s Chocolate Ambassadors Club is a one-of-a-kind organization designed to educate other gourmet artisans about the fine art of chocolate.
The chefs selected have transformed the industry, and are now sharing their knowledge and expertise with the next generation of culinary artisans.
Wilmots Ilse, Chef Chocolatier
After studying at the Coovi-Ceria school in Anderlecht, Chef Ilse worked as Chocolatier in a pastry shop and then as Chocolatier at Valentino. In 1991, she joined GODIVA and eventually found her way onto the Research & Development team.
Together with our American colleagues we create and develop the finest, most delicious, delightful, and wonderful chocolates,” she says proudly.