First came LOL. Then TMI, IMHO, BRB, and many, many more. So when someone said MOF in a conversation, I thought it was just more texting slang come to life.
MOF stands for Meilleur Ouvrier de France. My BFF Google Translate says this means “France Best Worker,” but it really signifies Best Craftsman of France. Or, as I would prefer, Best Craftsperson of France.
While this designation can be given to a laundry list of around 180 professions—from engraver to stylist to shoemaker—it’s particularly important in the world of baking. And chocolate. That’s when my ears perked up.
It turns out that becoming an MOF is not easy. At all. From what I can tell, there are only 19 MOF chocolatiers in the world. Opportunities to compete for the title, which is awarded by none other than the President of France, do not happen every year. I couldn’t find much information in English, but I believe the chocolatier competition happens every 4 years, and there was a huge upset when no one attained the designation in the 2015 chocolatier round.
The competition involves candidates creating a masterpiece based on a designated theme. “They must show their dexterity, knowledge of modern techniques and trends, creativity, good taste and use of both modern and traditional techniques.”
The MOF originated early in the 20th century to encourage people to stay in the trades. An MOF organization was established to provide a network to those with the title and have their status recognized. The organization’s charter emphasizes 10 principles, which range from pursuing “progress and perfection” to leading by example to encouraging and supporting others.
My ears perked even more when I learned that there is an MOF chocolatier right here in Dijon: Fabrice Gillotte. Of course, I visited the store. I couldn’t trust those three little letters—I had to test the quality for myself.
I’m pleased to report that the chocolates are excellent—well, the chocolates that I’ve tasted so far. I’ve only had a handful. Clearly more tasting is needed. Lots more. It’s a tough job, but someone’s got to do it.