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2022 has been a brilliant year for our gastronomy: Dabiz Muñoz, first chef in the world with “DiverXo”; a shower of new Michelin stars; “Disfrutar” in Barcelona, the third restaurant in the world; Paradiso by Giacomo Giannotti, and Sips Bar by Marc Álvarez and Simone Caporale, first and third cocktail bars on the planet; and now another major award, Lluc Crusellas is proclaimed the best chocolatier in the world!

We interviewed Lluc Crusellas, the recently proclaimed best chocolatier in the world.

Horse: What does the word chocolate mean to you?

Lluc: The word chocolate means “company, happiness, sharing, good times, bringing people together and making life more enjoyable”.


Lluc Crusellas during the interview at Pavic’s workshop.

During a 20-minute conversation in the gigantic Pavic bakery (bread and Vic), one of his star projects, other locutions come up that he repeats frequently because they undoubtedly mean a lot to him: “challenges, sharing and sharing efforts, sending messages, craftsmanship, recycling, reusing, sustainability, local products and bicycles”, of course.

Horse: What characteristics does a chocolate have to have for the person who makes it to be given the title of the best chocolatier in the world?

Lluc: In the end it’s not just the chocolate, it’s a question of effort, attitude, perseverance, of moving forward, of believing that we don’t know anything and of arriving at the World Chocolate Masters competition to give it our all. To control all aspects, not only the product itself, but also the staging, how you deal with the pressure and how you withstand the 22 hours of competition.

Lluc, the pastry chef-cyclist

The first surprising thing about Lluc Crusellas is his youth, only 26 years old. Secondly, how clear he is about things, despite his age. And the fact is that this cyclist pastry chef, or the other way around, it doesn’t matter, born in Santa Eulalia de Riuprimer (near Vic, Barcelona), radically changed his life on 31 October 2022. Lluc, after two years of intense training, became the best chocolate maker in the world (and the youngest winner) in the final of the World Chocolate Master held at the Salon du Chocolat in Paris. A year earlier, he had won in the Spanish final “And now that we’ve come this far and since this has gone well and it’s not going to happen again, and I’m very competitive, I’m going to go for the victory in Paris”.


In September 2017, Lluc arrived at Pastisseria del Carme in Vic (Barcelona). And in a very short time he became the boss, to lead from the beginning, a change of trends and modernisation of production, but also with an eye on the good things of the past.

“We have to strike a balance between craftsmanship and the future” and, along the same lines, Lluc Crusellas says: “I think it is important to preserve the classic pastry within the latest trends”.

His enormous desire and ambition have brought him to where he is today.

Regarding the moment when he made the decision:

“It all started in this workshop, slowly but surely. The idea of the prize came two years ago and at first I said no, but interest grew and I am very competitive. Then came the Spanish prize”.

When asked about the people he admires in the world of chocolate, Lluc explains that he doesn’t forget people who have helped me a lot. Names like Ramón Morató, Josep Maria Ribé and Enric Monzonis.

The process for the preparation of the award

Lluc begins to work on the project, which will occupy him more than intensively for more than a year. And especially the last eight months since the competition rules were published. The pastry chef is going to invest more time than he has in marathon days that go from five in the morning to nine at night.

“Last month we rode nine elephants, because we only had three hours to ride during the final and we had to train to do it.

Let’s not forget that it was an elephant weighing 170 kilos and 2 metres tall:

“I have spent a year and a half dedicated almost body and soul to this project, and in fact the last four months without the almost.”


Sketches of the elephant for the “WOW” test and image of the elephant during the contest.

During this very intense time, Lluc worked with a team of between 18 and 20 people, consisting of pastry chefs, cooks, artists, technicians, designers and other pastry chefs who joined the project because they were attracted to it. All that time, all that work, the project, involved a very high investment. Lluc does not reveal the budget, he only says that “it cost a lot of money and that it is a big investment that we have taken on ourselves”. The money obviously went for the personnel for the product for the packaging. For the design, the refrigerated truck that was going to take the elephant to Paris and also for the two vans with their team of eight people for Paris, for the days of travel (they had to go slowly) plus the crane to mount the pachyderm.


To complete a golden team, Lluc did not hesitate to hire Enric Monzonis, a former pastry chef at Tickets in Barcelona, as coach. He even counted on the permanent help of a psychologist. And also, as Crusellas is a pastry chef who gives enormous priority to the aesthetics, visualisation and creativity of his creations, for this, he says without sparing praise, as the Paris juries recognised him.

“I have been working with the Makeat innovation and design centre where a team designed and produced the moulds for the World Chocolate Masters.”

These were the tests for the competition

They had to present 2 tests per day for 3 days.

The first day

It was the big sculpture, the elephant, the most visible part of the competition and it remains static for the three days. The second test was the ‘petit four’ of cherry and bitter almond, lime and a bit of amaretto with the chocolate. In the end it was a bit reminiscent of a black forest cake and was a nod to the classic pastry within the current techniques.

The second day

It was the tasting part, there was the extra virgin olive oil bonbon from Vilafranca del Penedés with an intense green colour with a very refreshing lemon ganache that softened the fat of the oil. And at the same time, it had Mediterranean aromas. The dessert was a seed that sprouted a green shoot to reflect the hope of a green and sustainable future. That we can have a more dignified future. It was made of caramelised apple, toasted almonds, milk chocolate and vanilla. A dessert that reminded us a bit of tarte Tatin.

The third day

It consisted of a sculpture of maximum 5 kilos where he looked for fragility, delicacy and elegance. The sixth and last piece was a snack where he wanted to introduce a new theme that is developing a lot in Barcelona. Enzymes are applied to different structures in the ingredients. In this case, he focused on an ingredient to remove the sugar part and have sugar in the recipe without introducing this ingredient. In this way they achieved a sweet brioix without adding sugar. This brioix was coated with banana skins which, by means of another enzyme, deconstructed the fibres of the skin. And in this way, the banana skin could be eaten, which had quite an impact because of the ‘zero waist’ to have solutions with what we have.


The colossal chocolate elephant

Horse: Where did the idea of the elephant come from? can you explain the work and the dimensions of the animal?

Lluc: The elephant came out because I wanted to reflect the simplicity of big things and in this case it is a big animal but with a simple and calm life.

“The elephant represents “the simplicity of big things”, that’s how we titled it.

“Big but simple”, a “powerful” proposal that arises from “repeating and repeating” “a total project of a year and a half”. Two metres high, one and forty-five metres wide and weighing 170 kilos, it has undoubtedly opened the doors to this well-deserved prize for him and his team (he had to respond to five other proposals).

Lluc Crusellas, durante la celebración del WORLD

Lluc in the process of making the elephant

Horse: What type of chocolate did you use to make the elephant?

Lluc: To make the elephant I had to look for chocolates that were more resistant with 60% cocoa mixed with cocoa butter.

Horse: How long did it take you to make the elephant?

Lluc: In total, from the beginning of the idea of the elephant, the creation of the moulds, etc., it took a year and a half, but the creation of the elephant in Paris took four weeks with two people every day sculpting, painting, creating all the details so that it would be perfect and impecaLlucin the process of elaboration of the elephant. To transport the elephant we made a copy in case anything happened, we made some custom-made boxes with foam, as if it were a work of art.

“I wanted the work to have a balance between nature and technology because the future of the planet has to do with that. I wanted to raise awareness about climate change by putting the dryness of the earth in all the work I presented.

All this has led him to be defined as a pastry chef of a new technical, ecological and advanced generation. After Paris. Crusellas has returned with many ideas, the long preparation, which according to him “is similar to that of elite sportsmen and women before a competition”, has also helped him to draw up plans, such as a new collection of chocolates, and the development of his pastry project:

“We want to grow Eukarya, we want to bring out new products, 2023 has to be the year”.

But in addition to this, the head pastry chef at Pavic (25 bakeries in Vic) recently presented his first book, “Chocolate, desserts d’auteur a tu alcance”, published by Efados, the edition, 2,400 books sold out in a week.

The most famous elephant to be shared’.

And this unique elephant will allow him to realise his dream of “sharing”, first by exhibiting it in his bakery during the Medieval Market, then at Harrod’s in London, and then at Easter 2023 in Vic, with thousands of little pocket elephants so that everyone can have one. And, finally, an immense “sharing”, on display forever: the Chocolate Museum in Barcelona.

Lluc Crusellas never stops, he is also very excited about his next cycling project, becoming a Titan with the “Skoda Titan Desert Morocco 2023”, from 30 April to 5 May, with the KH-7 team and its captain, the Titan Legend Melcior Mauri. Let’s not forget that before being a pastry chef he was a cyclist, although he has never stopped being one, and above all, as he says: “I’m very competitive”.

For the brand new chocolate world champion, cycling and pastry-making have always gone hand in hand, so much so that he has had the rainbow flag embroidered on the collar of his work jacket. A nod to the colours of the jersey worn by the world cycling champions. Lluc Crusellas says he is convinced:

“I believe that sport has given me the values of perseverance, sacrifice and attitude necessary to face all the objectives”.

Where Lluc Crusellas comes from

Crusellas decided to become a pastry chef at the age of 17, when he was finishing high school and the chef Nandu Jubany (they are now close friends) gave him the opportunity to work in his restaurant that summer “I thought that I couldn’t dedicate myself professionally to cycling and it all came naturally. I went to work at Can Jubany, in the dessert section. Lluc, who was (and is) in love with cycling, and who had competed officially with the Catalan national team, says that “the values that this sport brought me of sacrifice, effort and perseverance have been fundamental in winning this world title”.

His training continued at the Espai Sucre dessert school and restaurant, where he learned from head chef Ricard Martínez. Then came the Hofmann school, with the teacher Eric Ortuño; and shortly afterwards he did an internship with Josep Maria Rodríguez at La Pastisseria Barcelona. There he learnt production, organisation and equipment, complements to his knowledge that will be very useful for him.

Lluc Crusellas is a very young man for the maturity he displays. The proclamation as the best chocolate maker in the world, which for many would be a point of arrival, is for him an important point of departure for a new stage in his life. A stage full of projects that he is already beginning to caress, as a pastry chef, as a creative artist and as a person.

Infographics created by Jordi Català

Photographs by Horse and courtesy of Lluc Crusellas.