To get the annual 100 tons of he needs, Torres hedges his cocoa needs with a broker, and he also hunts for rare beans grown in far-flung places like Venezuela, Trinidad and Madagascar.
Torres has steadily grown his business to an 80-employee operation. Torres says he has close to $10 million in annual sales, with an expected gain between 10 and 15 percent in 2011. That exceeds total U.S. retail chocolate sales growth of 6.6 percent in the 52 weeks through Jan. 22 to $8.07 billion, according to data from Chicago-based market researcher SymphonyIRI.
acques Torres sells to both the wholesale and retail markets. The chocolates offered by the company are all-natural and have no preservatives or artificial flavours. Unlike many competitors, Jacques has decades of experience and his custom factory floor has top-of-the-line and innovative features. Jacques first factory is located in Brooklyn. A second location was unveiled in 2004; the Jacques Torres Chocolate Haven can be found in Manhattan. At this location, the public can view the entire chocolate-making process from start to finish- from bean to bar.
The 80s were a whirlwind of success for Jacques. He participated in several public events, including the rededication of the Statue of Liberty where he had the chance to shine for American president Ronald Reagan. He also won several other awards, including the Japanese Pastry Chef Association’s gold medal and the French Championship of Desserts.
Jacques makes his home in New York City and is married to Hasty Torres, a fellow chocolatier.
Jacques hosted a 52-episode public television series, Dessert Circus with Jacques Torres, along with two companion cookbooks, Dessert Circus: Extraordinary Desserts You Can Make At Home (William Morrow), which earned a 1999 James Beard Award nomination, and Dessert Circus At Home (William Morrow). Jacques’ third cookbook, A Year in Chocolate (Stewart, Tabori and Chang) was released in 2008.
In 1980, on a bet with a friend, Jacques approached the Michelin two-star chef Jacques Maximin at the Hotel Negresco and asked for a job. Maximin gave him an hour to return with a chef's coat. An eight-year association with the Negresco began which took him around the globe. At the Negresco, he refined the skills and nurtured an intuitive sense of confectionary artistry, which has been the cornerstone of his career.
Jacques entered the world of baking in his hometown of Bandol in the southern region of Provence at the tender age of 15. After two years as an apprentice at a small pastry shop, he completed his apprenticeship requirements and graduated first in his class.
Currently there are seven Jacques Torres shops, including Chocolate Haven, his Manhattan chocolate factory, and Jacques Torres Ice Cream Shop, located right next door to the original chocolate shop in Brooklyn.
The youngest Meilleur Ouvrier de France (Best Pastry Chef of France) in history, he spent 11 inspired years as executive pastry chef at Le Cirque before leaving to open his renowned wholesale, retail, and e-commerce chocolate company, Jacques Torres Chocolate, in New York City.