Sylvain Bortolini, assistant executive pastry chef at the Bellagio hotel and casino in Las Vegas, won the U.S. national selections for the World Chocolate Masters competition.

Bortolini beat out five other pastry chefs and chocolatiers to be named U.S. National Chocolate Master 2010 following the two-day chocolate showpiece and chocolate dessert competition at the International Baking Industry Exposition, organized by Barry Callebaut. Bortolini will represent the United States at the 2011 World Chocolate Masters competition in Paris next fall.

Chef Sylvain Bortolini's winning chocolate showpiece, inspired by the ancient Aztec legend surrounding the origins of cocoa in South America

The runners-up were: Frederic Loraschi, chocolatier and owner of Chocolat Frederic Loraschi, Hummelstown, Pa., won second place and a special award for "Best Tasting"; and Stephen Durfee, pastry chef-instructor at the Culinary Institute of America at Greystone, St. Helena, Calif., won third place.