Callebaut 'chocolate legend' passes away

Jean-Pierre Wybauw, a chocolatier with Callebaut, has passed away. Picture courtesy of Uyttebroeck - Verschueren Fotost.
Jean-Pierre Wybauw, a chocolatier with Callebaut, has passed away. Picture courtesy of Uyttebroeck - Verschueren Fotost.

A Banbury chocolate firm has paid tribute to one of their long-standing employees.

Jean-Pierre Wybauw, who passed away this week, worked for Callebaut, which is based in Banbury, for 35 years.

Paying tribute to 'JP' on their Facebook page, Callebaut said: "There are chocolate heroes. And there are chocolate legends – and it is with great sadness, that today we have to announce the loss of one of those legends.

"Long standing employee, friend and respected Callebaut craftsman Jean-Pierre Wybauw has passed away.

"For more than 35 years ‘JP’ worked in our Callebaut kitchens, building an incredible knowledge of chocolate. He had boundless passion that he shared with everyone he met.

"JP inspired people to start working with chocolate, start up their businesses and was always there to offer a helping hand when they were faced with a challenge or problem.

"Rest in peace Jean-Pierre. A friend, colleague and inspiration, we will never forget you. Thank you for everything you did for us, and a generation of chefs and chocolatiers.

"Our thoughts go to Nelly – your beloved wife, always at your side and to your family and loved ones."

Mr Wybauw grew up in Belgium in the 1940s and originally didn't want to become a chocolatier. His parents owned a Michelin-starred restaurant and Jean-Pierre had dreams of becoming a doctor until, at the age of 17, his father sent him to culinary school in Brussels.

After finishing his training, he worked at pastry and chocolate shops in Belgium such as L Willems in Antwerp. After owning a pastry shop with his wife for a number of years, he became an instructor, teaching chocolate and sugar work. He started working for Callebaut in 1972 and has trained people in Banbury as well as writing a number of chocolate and pastry books and articles.