(CNN) — With nicknames like "Willy Wonka," "Sweet Man," "Mr. Chocolate," and "wizard," Jacques Torres has rightfully earned his place as a legendary pastry chef and chocolatier. At the age of 15 in his hometown of Bandol, France, Torres spent one year loyally going into a local pastry shop every weekend until the owner would take him on as an apprentice. It was there that he found his calling, and after dedicating himself to his craft, went on to become the youngest pastry chef in history to receive the prestigious M.O.F. "Meilleur Ouvrier de France" or "Best Craftsman of France" at the age of 26.
In 1988, Torres came to the US to take on the role of Corporate Pastry Chef for The Ritz-Carlton in Atlanta—only to get poached a year later by his "French Connection" pal, Daniel Boulud, in New York City at Le Cirque. Over a decade later, after earning accolades and recognition as a top pastry chef, he took a gamble and invested his retirement money into opening Jacques Torres Chocolate in 2000. Along with his eight NYC locations, Torres recently opened the first museum dedicated to chocolate called Choco-Story.