Hey, who does over the top better than Vegas? No one, of course, which is why Chocolate Fleury should be of no surprise to anyone.
Bellagio President and COO Randy Morton cooked up the idea of having a chocolate representation of Vegas Golden Knights goalie Marc-Andre Fleury constructed and erected in the iconic hotel's patisserie. Morton whispered his concept to Executive Pastry Chef Patrick Lassaque who then assembled his team of Yamilet Hiller (Assistant Executive Pastry Chef) and Jerome Jacob (Assistant Executive Pastry Chef) and fun/work began.
Ninety pounds of chocolate and five weeks later - Chocolate Fleury was unveiled.
"I have been a lifelong hockey fan so to witness all of the success the Vegas Golden Knights have achieved is truly remarkable," said Bellagio President and COO Randy Morton. "From Marc-Andre Fleury's 400+ wins to Karlsson's hat trick to many other team highlights, the players have had an amazing inaugural season. The Bellagio Patisserie chocolate sculpture pays tribute to all they have accomplished."
Morton added, "Las Vegas has been hungry for a professional sports team for quite some time. The anticipation for hockey was at an all-time high and already in their NHL debut, they have made a tremendous impact. From charitable efforts to community partnerships, the team is a first-class organization. It is an honor to have Bill Foley and the Vegas Golden Knights represent our fine city."
My first thought was, 'oh this is crazy.' I didn't understand. Now, I see it turned out to be a genius idea of Randy Morton's," said Hiller. It's just going through the idea of how we were going to execute it. A big challenge for us was how we were going to put it together and then display it. So, I initially thought it was crazy."
Lassaque and his team put their heads together and began looking at goalies and putting together sketches. Soon, Chocolate Fleury went from an idea to a plan. Five weeks later - it was a reality.
"We started out by pulling different pictures of the stance of a hockey goalie. It would have been a lot easier to have him standing, but we really wanted to capture the position so that people would recognize the goalie. Looking at different images, we pulled not just him, but hockey goalies in general so that we could get different angles of the stance," said Hiller. "Our biggest challenge was, because of the location that it was going to be lifted to, it's very hard to fit many people to get it up there. It was the weight, we couldn't do the solid chocolate structure because of the weight and the support of the legs for where it was going. Then we started figuring out ways to make him lighter and have an internal structure that wasn't going to topple over and that sort of thing."
Three types of chocolate were used and the inner structure employs Styrofoam and Rice Krispy kernels. Ten pounds of fondant and a few pounds of sugar paper were used to complete the external package.
Being immortalized in chocolate is not an everyday experience.
"I saw pictures of it. it looks awesome. I want to stop by and go check it out and bring my kids so they can see. I think it's pretty impressive," said Fleury.
Hiller says the final product is better than she expected.
"I think it turned out great. We weren't sure at the beginning. We were like 'oh no, how is this going to work out.' The mask, I was really worried about. I didn't know we were going to replicate his mask as well. So that was pretty challenging. Looking at pictures now with his real mask, this edible form got pretty close."
The reaction on social media and from media outlets as far away as Pittsburgh has been impressive.
"Honestly, we thought it was just going to be for the display. We had no idea so many people were going to be this interested," said Hiller. "Had we known, we would have liked to have captured early on moments of us constructing it. We didn't realize it was going to be so popular, I guess. I think with the way the Golden Knights are doing, it helped it out a million times more."