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South African born Ruth Hinks began her love affair with chocolate at the tender age of 14. Whilst still at school, she began making and selling chocolate Easter eggs as a means of raising money to buy a tape deck radio. Twenty five years later and her passion for working with chocolate and pastry remains as strong as ever.

Ruth began her formal training at the Cacao Barry Chocolate School in Meulan near Paris, before working with renowned Michelin starred chef, Albert Roux. In 2000, she was invited to join the Australian Culinary Team and won silver and bronze medals at the International Exhibition of Culinary Art (Culinary Olympics.) In 2002, Ruth was named ‘Australian Pastry Chef of the Year’ and went on to win Gold and Silver medals at the 2004 Culinary Olympics.

During her career, Ruth has held Head Pastry Chef positions at prestigious five star hotels. She has also trained many apprentices; most notably George Calombaris who is now one of Australia’s most celebrated chefs and judge on Australian Masterchef.

In 2008, Ruth left the hotel industry to launch the Cocoa Black Chocolate & Pastry School in Peebles, near Edinburgh. A 4-star visitor attraction, the school offers chocolate making and pastry chef courses for beginners to professional chefs. Over the past two years, Cocoa Black has welcomed over 2000 participants from around the World and was recently awarded ‘New Business of the Year’.
Ruth was runner up in the 2010 UK Chocolate Masters and was named ‘UK Confectioner of the Year 2011.’ Through winning UK Chocolate Masters she is the UK’s first female entrant into the WCM finals!