Maura Metheny – Chef Chocolatier/Head of Design and Innovation at Norman Love Confections
Featured Chef in the 2014 Vanilla Vine, Issue #1
At Nielsen-Massey, we are best loved for our vanilla, but we can’t resist chocolate! So we took some time to talk to Pastry Chef and Chocolatier, Maura Metheny, who shared a bit about her and how she uses Nielsen-Massey products.
Maura Metheny is the Chef Chocolatier/Head of Design and Innovation at Norman Love Confections, a well-known chocolate shop with locations in Fort Myers and Naples, Florida. Norman Love Confections also offers classes, wedding cakes and fine desserts. Online ordering is available on their website, normanloveconfections.com.
A typical day on the job for Chef Metheny is a combination of project management, creative design and experimentation. She works closely with Chef Norman Love and her fellow co-workers on new and existing projects, allowing them to inspire and challenge each other each every day. With more than 35,000 chocolate pieces being created on a daily basis, their collaboration and support is a key ingredient to getting the job done.
Chef Metheny began her journey with a degree in fine arts, which led her to her current passion in confectionary design. “The fact that a beautiful and sculptural plated dessert had to also be delicious and perfectly executed inside and out, was the challenge and draw for me to this industry; it was bringing art up to another level by incorporating all the senses.”
After receiving an A.A.S. in Baking and Pastry Arts from Johnson and Wales University, Chef Metheny moved to Switzerland to further study the art of pastry and chocolate making. Soon after, she took a position at The Ritz-Carlton Naples in Florida as a Pastry Cook in the Fine Dinning Outlets. It was in Naples where she had the opportunity to meet Chef Norman Love and attend many international competitions and classes.
“I was able to travel all over the world to competitions and get VIP passes to see them up close. Watching the Coupe du Monde from the front row and being escorted by Chef Norman Love right in front of the booths at the World Pastry Championship in Las Vegas while they competed – it was those experiences that raised all my expectations of what pastry and chocolate should be,” said Chef Metheny.
These experiences are what prepared her for her own competitions. Chef Metheny competed in the Florida Showpiece Challenge in 2008 and 2009, receiving silver medals both years. She also received a bronze medal at the 24th Annual U.S. Pastry Competition for Pastry Chef of the Year. Chef Metheny also won the National Showpiece Competition with Chef Dan Forgey at the 2013 Pastry Live Show where they were awarded best chocolate showpiece. It was there, Chef Metheny also received second place for Chocolatier of the Year.
Along with her techniques and talents, she also credits her success to using fine ingredients, like Nielsen-Massey’s Madagascar Bourbon Pure Vanilla Bean Paste and Powder. Chef Metheny explained, “I have been using Nielsen-Massey since I started in the industry, and it’s all we use at my job now.”
Tips from Chef Metheny