A fine confectionery legacy left by the late Sara Jayne Stanes

A fine confectionery legacy left by the late Sara Jayne Stanes

This week’s column is dedicated to the late Sara Jayne Stanes, founder of the UK’s Academy of Chocolate, who had been a great friend to Confectionery Production and major ambassador for the industry.

I had the pleasure of getting to know her a little during the past few years in my post, and she was never too busy to assist with some words or an interview as a member of our editorial board – she will indeed be much missed.

Possessing a dry sense of humour and generous spirit, she learned from the best – Michel Roux, who opened her eyes to a world of chocolate making from which she never looked back. She gained recognition as an author and chocolatier, so there could be few better placed to help spread the word on the merits of crafting genuine premium chocolate.

Indeed, as the tributes continue to come in for her from all areas of the culinary and confectionery world, her contribution to the sector is surely undoubted. As she explained in a relatively recent conversation, creating the annual awards for the Academy of Chocolate stands as one of her most memorable achievements – with just a handful of entries on its first occasion in 2005. It has since gone on to attract a wealth of artisan chocolate contenders from around the globe.

Not even the pandemic stopped it in its tracks, with judging for the event, which has previously included Confectionery Production, continuing behind the scenes, and serving as a valuable reminder that there is still plenty of creativity out there in the sector being shown by small businesses going about their work the right way in sustainably sourcing ingredients to create some of the finest ranges possible.

As her colleagues have pointed out, Sara leaves behind a fine legacy with the academy she helped form, and its work to offer up a slice of inspiration and education within the sector continues to remain incredibly valuable.

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