Robin Autorino


Robin Chocolates

Robin Chocolates came about almost by accident. While in the US Navy, Robin used pretzel dipping in chocolate to keep her son busy while she could cook a holiday meal for other single moms and dads in the military. This became a tradition and the types of confections grew. Years later, a financially rewarding career in the IT world, left a void, a void for passion. Robin landed at a local culinary school where she studied classic French cooking techniques using locally produced, seasonally available ingredients. Her last month of culinary coursework was spent in Avignon, France where she had the honor of studying with master chefs from Michelin starred restaurants and working at a local pâtisserie. Robin’s experience at the pâtisserie inspired her to become a pastry chef. Over the next several years Robin worked to develop her craft in the pastry kitchens of a number of landmark restaurants. Among these are Flagstaff House and Dushanbe Tea House in Boulder as well as The Brown Palace Hotel in Denver. During this time she also interned at Tru in Chicago.

In her spare time, Robin began to make molded chocolates for friends and family, experimenting with flavors and artistry. Just before Valentine’s Day in 2008, a local florist needed chocolates and asked Robin to provide them. She jumped at the opportunity to transform from chocolate enthusiast to chocolate entrepreneur. And thus, Robin Chocolates was born.

Carlo Figarella


Art Institute of Washington

Chef Carlo Figarella graduated from the Culinary Institute of America and honed his cake decorating techniques while working at the Hotel du Pont in Wilmington, Delaware. He then moved on to become the Assistant Pastry Chef at the Ritz Carlton in Tysons Corner, Virginia for three years. In 2008, Chef Figarella began to pursue a career in education working at the Art Institute of Washington. At the Art Institute of Washington he has discovered a passion for guiding the future chefs of tomorrow through the wonderful world of Baking and Pastry.

2013 Chocolatier of the Year Finalists Announced

Pastry Live is excited to announce the finalists for the 2013 Chocolatier of the Year. Carefully selected for their expertise and abilities, each competitor will be required to produce two different chocolates sold in their shop. As both taste and appearance are key criteria to be evaluated, each chocolatier will have to meticulously handcraft their creations in order to obtain the title of Chocolatier of the Year. Competing on Sunday, August 25th, here are this year’s finalists:

  • Robin Autorino, Robin Chocolates, Longmont, CO
  • Jose Luis Castellanos, Barry Callebaut Chocolate Academy Center, Chicago, IL
  • Melissa Coppel, Jean-Marie Auboine Chocolates, Las Vegas, NV
  • Robyn Dochterman, St. Croix Chocolate Company, Marine on St. Croix, MN
  • Ross Evans, Stars Restaurant Rooftop and Grill Room, Charleston, SC
  • Brandon Lee, Modern Chocolatier, Charlotte, NC
  • Gene Leiterman, CocoFlow Chocolate Café, Oklahoma City, OK
  • Maura Metheny, Norman Love Confections, Fort Myers, FL
  • Karen Neugebauer, Forte Chocolates, Mount Vernon, WA
  • Luis Robledo-Richards, Tout Chocolat, Mexico City, Mexico
  • Evan Sheridan, Inn at Little Washington, Washington, VA
  • Andrea Smith, diAmano Chocolate, Atlanta, GA
  • Amy Stankus, Chocolate South, Atlanta, GA
  • Santosh Tiptur, Co Co. Sala, Washington, DC
  • Emma Kate Veader, The Hess Collection, Napa, CA

Check out the Chocolatier of the Year page for more info!

Jerome Jacob


Assistant Pastry Chef

Bellagio Resort and Hotel, Las Vegas

Jerome Jacob joined the Bellagio Resort Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas, Nevada in 2010 as the newest Assistant Pastry Chef. Born in Paris, France, Jerome started studying the art of pastry at the young age of 16. He enjoyed pastry making, but was more drawn to the art of chocolate. His talent and determination soon secured him several coveted spots in some pretty prestigious pastry houses: The Trianon Palace Hotel, the famous Pierre Herme Paris, and Frank Daubos Chocolatier, just to name a few.Continue reading