These guys are cocoa nuts

for The Brooklyn Paper
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Amateur cooking contests — think last year’s Mac Off or last month’s chili contest — are all the rage. But now it’s time for dessert.

Fortunately, the increasingly eclectic Bell House will host a massive cook-off of all things cocoa: soufflés, ganache, cookies, drinks and moles cooked up by 15 to 25 cocoa-loving amateurs.

Spots are still available for competitors, but beware.

“Not everyone can handle the pressure,” warned Nick Suarez who co-organized the so-called Brooklyn Chocolate Experiment.

Stakes are high; the top chef will receive $150 and a $600 chocolate of the month subscription. The judge’s panel even has its own Simon Cowell: Andrew Knowlton, restaurant editor for Bon Appetit.

“He can be intimidati­ng,” said Suarez, “but we feel that adds to the competitive spirit.”

Suarez and co-organizer Theo Peck savor the competition along with the food. In fact, they were once cookoff rivals.

“Eventually he asked me if I wanted to start our own cookoff,” Suarez said. “We wanted bigger, better, more organization and larger prizes.”

The Brooklyn Chocolate Experiment is their third cookoff, but it won’t be the last.

Brooklyn Chocolate Experiment at the Bell House [149 Seventh St. at Third Avenue in Gowanus, (718) 643-6510], 1-5 pm, Nov. 15. Tickets: $25 (at the door). For info, visit

Updated 5:15 pm, July 9, 2018
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