Ernst Knam

Born in Germany in 1963 but by now an adopted Milanese, Ernst Knam is known to all simply as the king of chocolate. He came to Italy in the late eighties after a long pilgrimage of the major European cities (and their Michelin-starred restaurants); he was a student of Gualtiero Marchesi before starting up his own business and developing his art, eventually becoming one of the top pastry chefs in Milan and in the world.

 

It was in 1992 that he opened his now-legendary pastry shop at number 10 Via Anfossi in Milan; his artistry immediately distinguishing itself thanks to its sophistication and unusual combinations. His creations respect the seasonal nature of food, and his interpretations of chocolate, spices and fruit make his pastries unmistakable.

With his longstanding fascination for the world of creativity, whatever its nature, his productions are often the result of influences and fusions from the world of design, fashion, architecture and art. Knam was responsible for designing and handling the catering for various stylists, from John Richmond to Cesare Paciotti, during fashion week; taking his inspiration from fabrics, colours and accessories which he combined with forms and tastes. But he has also collaborated with numerous artists and designers, including Lorenzo Palmeri, with whom he created Home (is where I want to be), a chocolate praline dedicated to the 2015 Expo.

 

It’s no surprise, therefore, that Ernst Knam is the only pastry chef to have been appointed as an Expo Ambassador, joining the ranks of the international network of opinion leaders ready to transmit the principles linked to the key theme of the Universal Exposition: Feed the Planet, Energy for Life.

His celebrity is now added to, as has often happened in recent years, by his very own TV programme, ‘Il re del cioccolato’ (The King of Chocolate), on which he can be seen hard at work delighting and astounding his customers, which even include some VIPs.

He is also a judge on two Real Time programmes, starting in 2013 with ‘Bake Off Italia’ and, since 2015, ‘Junior Bake Off Italia’, while in 2015 he was also the star of ‘Che Diavolo di Pasticceria!’ (A Hell of a Pastry Shop!), in which he gave advice to help struggling pastry shops all over Italy to improve.

 

Ernst Knam has received numerous international awards, including: first prize in the Pastry category of the Toque d’Or in Lucerne in 1988 and 1990; third place in the Chef of the Year category of the Toque d’Or in Lucerne in 1994; and Italy’s Best Pastry Shop of the Year in 2004 in Brussels. Transcending borders in the kitchen, as is his habit, he won the Italian Sandwich Championship in Rimini, the grand finale in Cancun and the jury’s prize in the European Championship in Lyon in 2005. Moreover, he was declared Italian Champion of Chocolate 2009/2010, Italian Champion of Finger Food in 2011, and World Champion of Ice Cream in the World Ice Cream Cup in 2012 as Captain of the Italian Team and Chocolate Sculptor.

 

To date Chef Knam has published 19 books, which deal both with pastry-making and with cooking as a whole. The Chef’s latest publication is ‘La Versione di Knam — Il Giro d’Italia in 80 dolci’ (Knam’s Version — Around Italy in 80 Desserts), published by Giunti. 

The other Chefs

Harald Wohlfahrt
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Kevin Fehling
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Carlo Cracco
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Yannick Tranchant
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Ferran Adrià
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Massimo Bottura
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