Most chefs will tell you that chocolate is difficult to work with. So to make sculptured desserts that look like everyday objects or artworks out of chocolate is impressive and awesome. That is why when I saw School of Chocolate on Netflix, I was hooked.
School of Chocolate is a reality TV, baking competition on Netflix. Its first season was released last 26 November 2021 with 7 episodes that feature Amaury Guichon, a famous Swiss-French pastry chef and chocolatier who has been in the pastry industry for 17 years and has founded his own Pastry Academy. It also features 8 diverse contestants vying for a cash prize plus an opportunity to teach in the Pastry Academy in Las Vegas.
Similar to reality-based TV shows and cooking competitions, each episode features two challenges: a pastry challenge and a chocolate challenge. Chef Guichon would demonstrate how the chocolate pastry art was done. Then he would let the participants create their own and at the end, he also acts as their judge. However, instead of being eliminated until there is one man left standing, the persons who finish the bottom two will get a one-on-one session with Guichon and will not participate in the second challenge.
Unlike other cooking competitions where there was shouting and bickering between contestants, this show focuses on positive messages and role models. It seems that the contestants are there to learn instead of winning. There is also a diverse representation among contestants in terms of gender, ethnicity, and professional backgrounds. As soon as I recognized that Daniel is of Filipino descent, I started to root for him. He is the youngest among the contestants but he surely showed his skills as a chocolatier.
However, as the season draws to the end, it felt that the idea of not eliminating a contestant is the same characteristic that would make it boring. Because the drama and challenge that goes with the elimination rounds or face-offs have gone. Not only that, Guichon is the only judge in the competition, there were no other insights from other culinary experts. It loses its edge over other shows like The Great British Bake-Off, or Zumbo’s Just Desserts. So I’m rating this show 4 out of 5 stars.