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The legendary king of chocolate

A deep dive into Ernst Knam's fabulous career of haute cuisine, design and television.

By Lavazza Team 2/3 minutes

Known to everyone simply as the King of Chocolate. Ernst Knam was born in Germany in 1963 but is now an adopted Milanese citizen. With a long-standing fascination for creativity, in its many forms, he is much more than one of the top pastry chefs in Milan and in the world.

Let’s explore his life!

Knam moved to Italy in the late eighties after living in several major European cities and working in their Michelin-starred restaurants. He studied under Gualtiero Marchesi before starting up his own business and developing his art.


In 1992, he founded his now-legendary pastry shop at number 10 Via Anfossi in Milan, where his artistry immediately stood out, thanks to its sophistication and unusual combinations. His creations not only respect the seasonal nature of food, but his interpretations of chocolate, spices and fruit make his pastries unlike any other. 

However, Knam’s interests do not end with food. Knam was responsible for designing and handling the catering for various designers, from John Richmond to Cesare Paciotti, during Fashion Week. He also collaborated with numerous artists and designers, including Lorenzo Palmeri, an art director who has followed various national and international projects, both personal and collective, and has won numerous international prizes, including the "Italian Design Ambassador" nomination.


Knam is now also a famous TV celebrity. He hosts or is featured on several popular TV shows, including Il re del cioccolatoBake Off ItaliaJunior Bake Off Italia, and Che Diavolo di Pasticceria! To date, Chef Knam has published 19 books, where he discusses both pastry-making and the art of cooking as a whole.

Considering his long list of accomplishments, it comes as no surprise that Ernst Knam is the only pastry chef to have been appointed as an Expo Ambassador, joining the key theme of the Universal Exposition: “Feed the Planet, Energy for Life”.

Furthermore, 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. Not to mention, he was also 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.

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