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Chef Ann’s Chocolate Journey

Chef Ann Kirsebom, a successful boutique caterer since 1986, made a name for herself with her award-winning handcrafted, small batch alcohol-based sauces, but her passion has always been for French cuisine and chocolate, inherited she says, from her mother. Chef Ann’s journey to a career in the kitchen was organic. After one of many trips to France, she enrolled at The Dubrulle French Culinary School.

A self-proclaimed chocolate fanatic since childhood, she says, and credits her early days of cooking aboard the luxury cruise ship “The Crystal Symphony” for her even greater love of chocolate. The memories of exquisite creations stayed with her, as did the experiences and influences of sailing through the Orient, Europe and the South Pacific.

When presented with an opportunity in 2008 to enter into a Licensing Agreement with Grand Marnier, her favorite Liqueur, Chef Ann toured the Grand Marnier® Liqueur distillery in Bourge Charente in the Cognac region of France, and signed. She also entered into a Licensing Agreement with Callebaut Chocolate/Cacao Barry, and studied at their chocolate Academy in Quebec. “I’ve always followed my dreams,” says Chef Ann, “And I believed it wasn’t too late to create a unique chocolate.” She now wishes she had become a Chocolatier rather than a Chef de Cuisine.

Inspired by Alain Ducasse, who is always on the lookout for new discoveries, Chef Ann adopted his philosophy that one must overcome any obstacles, as well as one’s own limitations, and continue to move forward. After years of producing and promoting her “Ooh-La-La” Grand Marnier® Sauce and her decadent Callebaut Chocolate and Grand Marnier® Truffle Sauce and other Grand Marnier® flavoured products, opportunity struck again. An iconic Grand Marnier® red wax seal sat beside her computer and one day inspiration struck. Her latest creation, “PARIS IN A CHOCOLATE”™, is an actual replica of the authentic Marnier- Lapostolle family seal which adorns the red moiré ribbon. This exquisite chocolate is filled with creamy ganache infused with the delectable orange and Cognac flavours of Grand Marnier® Liqueur and debuted at the New York Fancy Food Show in 2014.

Today, Chef Ann, a collector of exquisite limited edition Grand Marnier® Bottles and a Member of Les Dames d’Escoffier, divides her time between Vancouver, British Columbia and Paris…