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Series / School of Chocolate

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School of Chocolate is a Netflix show that sees eight pastry chefs learn, collaborate, and improve their skills under renowned professional pastry chef Amaury Guichon. Unlike most food reality shows, the contestants are not eliminated after every episode. Each episode consists of two parts: the individual Pastry Challenge, and the teamwork Chocolate Showpiece Challenge. At the end of an episode, Guichon chooses one contestant as the "Best in Class". The final winner's prize is $50,000 in cash and assorted opportunities to set them up with the beginnings of a pastry business.

School of Chocolate contains these tropes:

  • Audible Sharpness: The knives used for cake-cutting during the rap session make "shing!" sounds when drawn out of their blocks.
  • Bragging Rights Reward: Being chosen (or voted) best in class for each individual episode doesn't guarantee winning the final prize.
  • Call-Back: Following up on a challenge by Chef Guichon, Thiago makes a brand-new crayon box with a hinge (where he previously made an used, scuffed-up box) and a crayon cake that can be colored with (similar to Guichon's pencil cake from episode 1).
  • Epic Fail:
    • The dolphin showpiece breaking and falling off after time was up in "Dessert Deception". Juan manages to catch it, but it was already unsalvageable.
    • During "Make It Ooze"'s pastry challenge, Daniel forgot to put sugar in his cream, and Stephanie left the acetate paper on her cup of coffee. Stephanie's reveal is particularly dramatic: The Chef cuts into the cup and it oozes as expected, but he looks displeased. The contestants were confused until he peels the paper off and chides gently, "Stephanie..."
    • Amanda and Cedrick forgot to install the lightbulb in their light fixture showpiece.
  • Fingore: Thiago cut his finger during the chocolate showcase of "Dessert Deception" and had to go to the hospital. He describes it as "dangling".
  • Food Porn: Long, loving closeups of both the Chef and contestants' creations are utilized extensively.
  • French Cuisine Is Haughty: Amaury Guichon is a French-speaking Swiss chef trained in France. He's not very stuck-up as a person, but he has exacting gold standards and deals with expensive, finicky recipes and techniques.
  • Golden Snitch: Although the contestants aren't eliminated per episode, the Chef will pick two top students to lead two teams for the final Chocolate Showpiece challenge. Only the leader of the winning team wins the grand prize.
  • Gosh Dang It to Heck!: Juan says "Jam it." instead of "Damn it."
  • Reasonable Authority Figure: Chef Guichon. He's polite, encouraging, and mild-mannered. Even though the show is a competition, he makes sure everyone has a learning opportunity and become better pastry chefs. He doesn't yell, swear, or get angry with the contestants when they screw up, and delivers bad news with gentle empathy while being honest. This also applies to his assistants Devin and Carolyn, who walk around interacting with contestants, offering and giving them assistance in a no-nonsense but kindly way. Both of them are pastry chefs in their own rights, and are referred to by the contestants as "Chef", equal to Guichon.
  • Sadistic Choice: For the final Chocolate Showpiece challenge, the team leaders are forced to remove members of their team (previously handpicked for strategic reasons) one by one until only the leaders remain to finish the showpiece alone. This is intended to prepare the chefs to handle every real life situation: people need to be fired, take time off, get sick, etc.
    • When Amaury declares the second Best Chef challenge a tie, he makes the contestants vote for who the winner should be. Daniel votes for his opponent, and Melissa votes for herself, which causes some contention.
  • Sequel Hook: Guichon pops a bottle of champagne and announces, "This concludes the first School of Chocolate." at the end of episode 8.
  • Shout-Out: Juan's oozing pastry is The Little Prince's moon and rose.
  • Sunny Sunflower Disposition: Tasked to make a flower in the Pastry Challenge for "Bittersweet Surprises", Stephanie chooses a sunflower to represent her own sunny personality.
  • Tall Poppy Syndrome: Even though the show emphasizes teamwork and learning more than traditional elimination-based reality shows, people who win Best In Class are said to have targets on their backs, and some contestants are more competitive than others.