After three days of competition between 19 international chocolate masters, Shigeo Hirai, sous chef of the Grand Hyatt Tokyo, was selected as the 2009 World Chocolate Master. Hirai also won a prize package worth approximately $37,500.
Grand Hyatt Tokyo sous chef Shigeo Hirai

Lionel Clement, chef chocolatier at the Wynn Hotel in Las Vegas, was awarded second place; and Michaela Karg, employee at Café am Kreuzgang in Feuchtwangen, Germany, was awarded third place. The event, sponsored by Barry Callebaut, took place at the Salon du Chocolat Professionnel exhibition at Porte de Versailles in Paris. This year's theme was Haute Couture. For more information about the 2009 World Chocolate Masters, visit