Christopher Elbow landed his first cooking job at the Lincoln Country Club in 1992, while attending the University of Nebraska. After graduating in '96 with a Bachelor of Science degree in Restaurant and Business Administration, he returned to Kansas City to head up Shiraz Restaurant.
Three years later Christopher landed in Las Vegas to help celebrity chef Emeril Lagasse open Delmonico Steakhouse at the Venetian. Shortly after that he moved to Paris – as in the Paris Resort and Casino – to help acclaimed chef Jean Joho open the Eiffel Tower Restaurant. Christopher returned to Kansas City the following year and briefly resumed his role at Shiraz before accepting the pastry chef position at the American Restaurant. It was here that he began perfecting his chocolate-making skills. Before long, he was offering limited quantities of his new creations to local markets. Demand swelled, and to satisfy it Christopher started his own company.
Today, Christopher's Artisan Chocolates have been featured across the nation, from magazines like, Oprah, Food & Wine, Fine Cooking and InStyle to syndicated TV programs like Food Network's What Hot, What's Cool. His confectionery creations are available online and at discriminating retailers like CocoaBella Chocolates in San Francisco, Biagio Fine Chocolates in Washington D.C. and Trotters To Go In Chicago.
What makes Kansas City a great place for creativity and innovation?
Kansas City has a really open and collaborative environment that not only promotes creativity, but entrepreneurial spirit as well. It is a city that wants you to succeed.
When and where are you happiest?
At home, cooking dinner and enjoying time with my wife and friends after a long week of work.
What is your favorite place in Kansas City?
The Crossroads Arts District. It has the spirit of a neighborhood that you might find in a city like New York City or San Francisco. I have watched it develop over the last 15 years and am proud to have my business in this neighborhood.
Where's your favorite place outside of Kansas City?
Oregon. I love the laid back, cool vibe of Portland as well as the Oregon coast. I believe that is some of the most beautiful scenery in the country. I can’t spend enough time out there.
What's your most treasured personal possession?
I really don’t have anything I could live without, but the time spent riding my motorcycles is something that would be tough to do without. No cell phone, emails or people talking, it’s therapeutic for me.
Who do you most admire in real-life?
Nelson Mandela. After returning from a recent trip to South Africa and learning about his life, I am inspired how the will and determination of one person can change the world.