Benjamin Kallenbach

Benjamin Kallenbach

Ballantyne Hotel & Lodge

With more than 13 years of global culinary experience, Chef Ben Kallenbach brings an extensive culinary skillset and fresh talent to the role of executive pastry chef at The Ballantyne Hotel & Lodge, a Starwood Luxury Collection Hotel in Charlotte, NC. He oversees the hotel’s pastry team and creation of all desserts, including the dessert menus and artisan breads served at Gallery Restaurant.

Prior to joining The Ballantyne, Chef Ben spent many years with The Ritz-Carlton Hotel Company. Most recently, he was executive pastry chef at The Ritz-Carlton, Grand Cayman. In addition, he worked in pastry at The Ritz-Carlton, Bahrain and at The Ritz-Carlton Lodge at Reynolds Plantation in Georgia.

Originally from Fulton, Illinois, Chef Ben discovered his passion for pastry and bakery arts while attending Kendall College in Chicago. Throughout his career, Chef Ben has studied with some of the world’s best pastry chefs.

Ayaka Yamamoto

Ayaka Yamamoto

The Ritz Carlton Orlando Grande

A native of Tokyo, Japan, Ayaka Yamamoto decided to go to a sweet route because her father is an executive chef in Tokyo and she had a dream that to be a pastry chef.

She graduating from pastry school 2008 in Tokyo. Straight out of school she landed a position at 1 star Michelin, Chez Matsuo French restaurant where she worked every station—from plated dessert, wedding cake, basic of pastry and chocolate artistic work.

After two years Ayaka joined the team at the Grand Hyatt Tokyo Hotel where she acted as a pastry lead cook for three years. She worked under 4 world pastry champions including executive Chef Goto, especially she learnt highly skills of sugar work, boutique pastries and baking pastries.

Her next move to took her to the Ritz Carlton Orlanod Grande Lakes in Florida, There she creates pastries with a clean modern aesthetic, incorporating specialty Japanese products to share her culture with a wider American audience.

John Walsh

John Walsh

Tampa Bay Times

Ohio Native, Chef John graduated from Pennsylvania culinary Arts 1991.

After graduated he work at 4 star resorts ( The Renaissances Resort ) and private country clubs. Works at the Tampa Bay Times forums ( Home of National Hockey Team Tampa bay Lighting) And cooks for Musicians Act Like Jimmy Buffet, Cool Play and work two National Convection ( Demarcate 2008 and Republic 2013 ) and two Stanley Cup Finals 2004 and 2013 .In 2008 John started to learn about pastry and chocolate from Chef Rob Sobkowski. Then in 2013 he immanent a pastry shop and chocolate shop ate The Tampa Bay Times forum. And Designed 30 assorted desserts and 10 different flavor of chocolate for the season ticket members. John then expand To retail store for Pasty and chocolate At the Tampa Bay Times forum .In 2010 He earn a Bronze medley in the super challenge in Orlando Florida.

Laurent Vals

Laurent Vals

Laurent Vals Handcrafted Chocolates

Born in Paris and raised in the town of Perpignan, located in the south of France, Laurent Vals was 16 years old when he began his professional education at “l’Ecole Hoteliere du Moulin a Vent”. He received his diploma as a chef, and then going on to receive a second diploma, as a pastry chef.

At the age 20, Laurent began an international career as a chef, traveling to the United States to work in Charleston, South Carolina. By age 25, Laurent was working in restaurants in Paris and New York City. Then, five years later, at age 30, Laurent returned to the east coast of the United States. In 2001, he settled in Newport, Rhode Island, where he started a “second” career as the pastry chef of the Chanler hotel and spiced pear restaurant Then, in January of 2008, he started a small on line retail store for bonbons only : Laurent Vals chocolates also nicknamed “lava confections” by the locals.