2013 Speaker Bios

  • Aaron Barthel Aaron Barthel
    Aaron Barthel, founder and chocolatier of Intrigue Chocolate Co., may be a mad scientist of flavor. From the dairy farm to botany to brewing to baking to chocolate-truffle making, his life has been an exploration of the fine and simple things we enjoy the most.

  • AJ Wentworth AJ Wentworth
    AJ received his training to practice Holistic Health Counseling at the Institute for Integrative Nutrition, the world’s largest nutrition school, which is the only nutrition school integrating all the different dietary theories— combining the knowledge of traditional philosophies with modern concepts like the USDA food pyramid,the glycemic index, the Zone diet, and raw foods. He also received certification as a Live-Foods Instructor, which he earned after completing a hands on educational apprenticeship at The Tree of Life Rejuvenation Center, known world wide for its foundation in spirituality and living foods, and as a leading fasting and detoxification center. Founded by Dr.Gabriel Cousens, M.D., diplomat of the American Board of Holistic Medicine. At The Tree of Life, AJ developed an insatiable love of raw vegan desserts. He had an especially strong attraction to raw cacao. The beginnings of all chocolate. This led him to develop his business, learning to manufacture chocolate with old traditions, in a new way.
  • Alex Whitmore of Taza Chocolates Alex Whitmore
    Alex Whitmore is the founder of Taza Chocolate, a bean to bar chocolate company, inspired by Oaxacan tradition in Somerville, MA. Taza Chocolate is a direct-trade certified, mission-driven company with positive impacts on the livelihood and welfare of their cacao producer partners.
  • Alice Medrich Alice Medrich
    Award winning author, pastry chef, and teacher, Alice Medrich is one of the country’s foremost experts on chocolate and chocolate desserts. Since 1976, when her renowned dessert shop, Cocolat, opened and her first dessert feature appeared in a national publication, Alice’s innovative ideas and recipes and her insistence on quality ingredients have influenced a generation of confectioners, pastry chefs, and home cooks. Alice is credited with popularizing chocolate truffles in the US and (accidentally!) introducing the larger “American” chocolate truffle in Berkeley’s “gourmet ghetto”. Since the sale of Cocolat, Alice has continued to write, teach, and consult with venerable and emerging chocolate companies, including Scharffen Berger Chocolate Maker. Her book, Bittersweet (Artisan 2003), named IACP cookbook of the Year, was the first book to decode the use of different percentage chocolates in recipes and to feature cacao nibs. A revised and updated edition, Seriously Bittersweet, is out next month.
  • Amanda White Amanda White
    Amanda White is the National Account Manager for Divine Chocolate, a pioneering Fairtrade chocolate company co-owned by the 65,000 farmers of Kuapa Kokoo in Ghana.

  • Chef Antoine Rondenet Chef Antoine Rondenet
    Chef Antoine Rondenet is a Pastry Instructor with Seattle Art Institute. He specializes in chocolate work, sugar work and advanced pâtisserie.

  • Audrey McManus Audrey McManus
    Audrey McManus has been a Sexuality Educator since 2001 and has had the pleasure of working for Babeland since 2003. Babeland is a woman owned sexuality boutique with 3 stores in New York, a flagship store in Seattle and a vibrant website at www.babeland.com. We teach a plethora of workshops including flirting with food, painting the body with chocolate and how to have sweet sexual encounters. Babeland supports a more passionate world for all of us.
  • Autumn Martin Autumn Martin
    Founder of Hotcakes Molten Chocolate Cakery, and formerly Head Chocolatier at Theo Chocolate, Autumn Martin has put the Pacific Northwest on the dessert map, with her molten chocolate cakes in a mason jar, salted caramel sauces, boozy milkshakes, smoked chocolate, and more.
  • Bill Fredericks Bill Fredericks
    Bill Fredericks, Chocolate Man, has been educating and consulting on all things chocolate for three decades. Few chocolatiers in the Pacific Northwest have not benefited at some point from his expertise. His shop, Chocolate Man, opened in 2012 in Lake Forest Park, where Bill teaches classes on truffles, desserts, tempering, molding, and more.
  • Bliss Wunders Brother Bliss
    Bliss Wunders makes his chocolates one at a time, using all organic ingredients with nothing artificial. He imports his chocolate from Columbia, fairly traded and organically grown.

  • Carla Martin Carla Martin
    Carla D. Martin is a Postdoctoral College Fellow in the Department of African and African American Studies at Harvard University. A social anthropologist with interdisciplinary interests that include history, ethnomusicology, and linguistics, she received her Ph.D. in African and African American Studies from Harvard University in 2012. Martin’s current research projects focus on the politics of cacao and chocolate in global perspective and language, music, and digital media in the former Portuguese colonies. She teaches a large class called Chocolate, Culture, and the Politics of Food and blogs about chocolate at her website BittersweetNotes.com. 
  • Chloé Doutre-Roussel Chloé Doutre-Roussel
    Chloé Doutre-Roussel is perhaps best known for having been hired out of more than 3000 applicants as a Chocolate Taster for Fortnum & Mason in Britain. Based in Paris, Chloe is author of the book, The Chocolate Connoisseur, and brings her unparalled chocolate expertise to makers around the world through her consulting company, Chloe Chocolat.
  • Colin J. Gasko Colin J. Gasko
    Colin Gasko is founder of Rogue Chocolatier, a self-taught chocolate maker who has risen to the top of the artisanal industry with his single origin bars. His complex flavors and masterful textures have made him a recipient of the Good Food Awards for two years running.
  • Dan Corson Dan Corson
    Dan Corson is a cacao farmer in Hawaii who also creates “tree-to-bar” chocolate from cacao grown along the Hamakua Coast: the “Napa Valley” of Hawaiian Cacao.

  • Dan and Jael Rattigan Dan and Jael Rattigan
    Husband and wife team, Dan and Jael Rattigan lived and worked in the cacao-rich rainforest of Costa Rica for two years. At the restaurant they opened, Bread and Chocolate, they were able to source local chocolate for their handmade desserts, sparking a passion for cacao and all things chocolate. They moved to Asheville, NC in 2006 to pursue their chocolate path, and opened French Broad Chocolates in 2007. What started as a farmers market stand, has grown to include a web store (frenchbroadchocolates.com), a three-story chocolate temple, French Broad Chocolate Lounge (est. 2008) and a Chocolate Factory & Tasting Room (est. 2012), where they import cacao, roast, winnow, grind and temper it into bean-to-bar chocolate. The chocolate is sculpted into their collection of craft chocolate bars, and is used as an ingredient in their pastries and confections at the Chocolate Lounge. They have two sons – Max, who eats chocolate on his toast for breakfast, and Sam, who prefers vanilla.
  • Dave Elliott Dave Elliott
    Dave Elliott is a chocolate-maker and social entrepreneur with ten years of experience working on tropical conservation and development issues in the Amazon rainforest. Dave turned to the dark side in 2010 and co-founded Madre Chocolate, the first bean-to-bar chocolate company on the Hawaiian island of Oahu. Currently, he works to hone Madre’s artisan chocolate-making process and to grow the company into a successful social enterprise that engages and inspires farmers and chocophiles alike.
  • Chef David Wynne Chef David Wynne
    Chef Wynne has been an Instructor at the Art Institute International Culinary School of Seattle for over 10 years. He is a graduate of the Culinary Institute of America in Hyde Park, NY and has a Masters in Education from Argosy University in Seattle. Chef Wynne emphasizes fresh ingredients with a concentration towards sustainable regional sources and the diverse bounty that the Northwest has to offer. He is proud and honored to support the efforts of the Seattle NW Chocolate Festival for the third year running.
  • Debra Music Debra Music
    In 2004, Debra took a 3,000 mile leap of faith and moved to Seattle from the northeast to help launch Theo Chocolate. With her rich background as a strategic brand and cause-related marketing consultant for Fortune 100 companies and public health care systems worldwide, Debra has created a business model that demonstrates the intersection of artisan chocolate making and sustainable business practices. Over the years, she has helped Theo become the fastest growing brand in its category (natural and Organic chocolate) nationally, while showing chocolate-lovers how Organic, Fair Trade chocolate can positively impact the world. Theo’s brand values reflect Debra’s own core belief that doing well in the world is inextricably linked with doing good.
  • Dominica Falcon Dominica Falcon
    Dominica Falcon received her Associates Degree in Baking & Pastry Arts & Management from the Culinary Institute of America in Hyde Park, NY. She worked as an intern at the Herb Farm in 2009 and served as a Pastry Cook at Canlis from 2010-2011. Dominica joined Chocolopolis full time in November 2011 as the Chocolatier.
  • Edmond BrownEdmond Brown
    Edmond Brown has been the head chocolate maker for The Grenada Chocolate Co. since their first chocolate bar produced by solar power in 1999. Edmond is one of three original founders of the company and the Grenada Organic Cocoa Farmer Cooperative on the Caribbean island of Grenada. The chocolate grown on the island and made into organic dark chocolate bars continues to win international chocolate competitions annually while using solar power to run the factory and organic methods to sustain the cocoa trees.
  • Erin AndrewsErin Andrews
    Erin Andrews started her chocolate making adventure six years ago while showing her daughters how chocolate grows on trees, on vacation in Belize. Now, she directly sources the beans and makes small-batch, artisan chocolate for indi chocolate.  Erin believes there are more ways to enjoy chocolate and also makes chocolate body care (chocolate lotions, lip balms and sugar scrub exfoliants).  Come on over to indi chocolate and get your chocolate on!  This has been a great year for indi chocolate, with the opening of the first retail location in Pike Place Market. Moving into Pike Place Market carries on the local tradition of meeting the producer and Erin always enjoys “talking chocolate” with other chocolate enthusiasts.
  • Erin GormanErin Gorman
    Erin Gorman is the CEO of Divine Chocolate in the USA. She joined Divine because bringing cocoa farmers and chocolate lovers together to make the chocolate industry better was a simply irresistible idea. Prior to Divine she served as Strategic Programs Director for Green America. She is mom to a very active three year old and lives in DC.
  • Fran Bigelow Fran Bigelow
    Fran Bigelow is the pioneer of sumptuous chocolate desserts and confections in the Pacific Northwest. More than a decade ago, her sea salted caramels revolutionized the marriage of savory and sweet; today, Fran’s Chocolates continues to be a leader in fine chocolate experiences.
  • Greg D’Alesandre Greg D’Alesandre
    Greg has been working with chocolate for over fifteen years, and making chocolate for the last few. His background is in electrical engineering and project management and he is currently the cacao sourcer (and part time machinist) for Dandelion Chocolate.

  • Ian Lazarus Ian Lazarus
    Ian Lazarus is the Vice President of Sales & Marketing for the ChocoVision Corporation, manufacturers of state-of-the-art chocolate tempering machines and related equipment. ChocoVision’s machines replace complex culinary skill with precise automation, leading the industry in ease of use and production of high-quality, finished chocolates. Their clients range from at-home hobbyist to some of the most well-know chocolate franchises and pastry chefs throughout the world.
  • Jeff Shepherd of Lillie Belle Farms Chocolates Jeff Shepherd
    Jeff Shepherd is the dynamic and irreverent chocolatier of Lillie Belle Farms, whose award winning chocolates and bean to bar creations have swept the nation for the last ten years. Voted one of “America’s Top 10 Chocolatiers” by Pastry Arts and Design magazine, Jeff’s “Out of the Chocolate Box” creations exemplify a visionary approach to chocolate that truly embraces a life lived through cacao.
  • Jim Bottarini Jim Bottarini
    Jim Bottarini is the managing partner for Pacari and has a passion for creating healthy chocolate delicacies. As a former owner of the Chocolatree Raw Cafe in Sedona, Arizona, Jim also co-founded Sedona Chocolate Superfoods and began experimenting with chocolate back in 2005. After many enjoyable learning experiences and worldwide journeys, Jim is comfortable with the fact that he will always discover more about cacao. The journey will never be complete, so ENJOY!
  • Joe Whinney Joe Whinney
    As a conservation volunteer in Central America working alongside Mayan cocoa farmers, Joe realized that the social, economic and environmental degradation of the chocolate industry was really a business problem. In the early 90’s, Joe combined his love for chocolate and passion for social justice to pioneer the North American organic chocolate industry. Joe expanded his work in 2005 and founded Theo Chocolate, the first Fair Trade and organic bean-to-bar chocolate maker in North America producing a wide variety of award-winning chocolate and confections. Theo is known for being a leader in socially responsible business practices and for its innovative products and packaging.
  • John Scharffenberger John Scharffenberger
    In 1996, John Scharffenberger founded Scharffen Berger Chocolate Maker with friend and business partner Robert Steinberg. Already an accomplished winemaker, Scharffenberger’s entrepreneurial spirit, astute palate and passion for artisanal foods translated perfectly into the production of the finest chocolate. Using the highest quality cacao beans from around the world, Scharffenberger helped to create the first new premium American dark chocolate in decades. Today, John Scharffenberger is known globally as a chocolate expert, leading classes about the history of chocolate and the taste profiles of chocolate varietals, and writing about many aspects of chocolate.
  • Julian Rose Julian Rose
    Imagine a world with chocolate at the center. That’s what life is like for our Master Chocolatier, Chef Julian Rose. Recently named one of the best chocolatiers in North America, Chef Rose is a classically educated pastry chef and confectioner who is recognized the world over as an authority on chocolate. From his earliest days in his parents’ pastry shop and throughout a professional career of more than 25 years, Chef Rose has made it his life’s mission to crack the subtle secrets of chocolate. As Moonstruck’s Master Chocolatier, Chef Rose is responsible for developing new products, refining existing ones and ensuring the utmost quality of our entire product line. Prior to joining Moonstruck, Chef Rose worked for a large European chocolate maker, instructing the world’s best chocolatiers and confectioners how to best work with chocolate. He is now applying all of those lessons in the kitchens of Moonstruck in an effort to share them with you.
  • Kaciann McDonald Kaciann McDonald
    Kaciann assists with chocolate production, promotion, and sales at The Grenada Chocolate Company in the Caribbean. Involved in cocoa since childhood, she’s had many agricultural roles in the industry, including working with organic farmers as a Co-op representative.

  • Karen Neugebauer Karen Neugebauer
    Master Chocolatier, Karen Neugebauer is a true Artisan who is at the forefront of the Seattle artisan chocolate scene. She has continually wowed customers with both traditional pieces and her cutting-edge confections and chocolate bars. Her passion for the craft and cunningly balanced flavor profiles have led to being ranked among the world’s best chocolatiers. Karen currently makes 3 distinct brands: Forte Chocolates (traditional chocolates), Gusto Chocolates (savory chocolate bars), and her newest line, Volta Craft Chocolate (craft chocolate bar blends). Chef Karen has won numerous national and international awards, most notably Gold (2013) and Silver (2011), from the Academy of Chocolate in London, UK. Nationally, she has earned more than 50 Golds and Silvers in four short years (2009-2012), including Taste TV’s Masters Award (2012) and the Six-star rating from the International Chocolate Salons (2013), their highest possible rating in the United States. Chef Karen’s chocolates are carried throughout the Pacific Northwest, available online, and available at her showroom in Mt. Vernon. Please visit us at www.ForteChocolates.com
  • Dr. Kristy Leissle Dr. Kristy Leissle
    Kristy Leissle, aka Dr. Chocolate, earned her PhD at the UW by studying chocolate. She has also eaten chocolate every day that she can recall. Dr. Leissle’s research focuses on the global cocoa-chocolate trade and she is currently writing a book on the US artisanal chocolate renaissance.
  • Lauren Adler Lauren Adler
    Lauren Adler is the Founder & Chief Chocophile of Chocolopolis, a retail chocolate store located in Seattle’s Queen Anne neighborhood. Lauren became a dark chocolate lover later in life, after tasting chocolate made with fine flavor cacao and realizing that not all dark chocolate was unpleasantly bitter. She opened Chocolopolis in 2008 to use her passion for chocolate to help others discover the world of fine chocolate.
  • Martin Christy Martin Christy
    Martin Christy is Founder and Editor of fine chocolate review website Seventy%. He is a leading voice in the fine chocolate industry, passionate about the promotion and preservation of fine chocolate and fine cacao, and supporting those who produce them. Martin runs sensorial workshops and tastings around the world and is Judging Director of the International Chocolate Awards and a founding member of Direct Cacao. www.seventypercent.com
  • Megan Styles Dr. Megan Styles
    Megan Styles, aka Dr. Rose, earned her PhD at the UW by studying flowers – specifically, the rose industry around Kenya’s Lake Naivasha. An environmental anthropologist, Megan is working on a book about the cut-flower industry and is Assistant Professor of Environmental Studies at the University of Illinois.
  • Dr. Nat Bletter Dr. Nat Bletter
    Dr. Nat Bletter has 15 years of experience in botany, documenting exotic fruits and vegetables, gathering food in the wild, herbal and traditional medicine, and exploring Asia, South America, Central America, and Africa. He has a Ph.D. in Ethnobotany from the City University of New York and New York Botanical Garden and was a post-doctoral fellow at University of Hawai’i Manoa, where he researched medicinal plants of Peru, Mali, Thailand, Laos, and the Guatemalan Mayans, ethnobotany, taste-modifying plants, and stimulant plants such as cacao, which has spurred him to start a traditional-ingredient, award-winning, artisinal chocolate company Madre Chocolate based in Kailua, O’ahu.
  • Nathan Hodge Nathan Hodge
    Nathan Hodge is the Head Chocolate Maker for Raaka Chocolate, based in Brooklyn, NY. Earlier in 2013, Hodge received a Good Food Award for Raaka’s Bourbon Cask Aged chocolate bar.

  • Nathan Royston Nathan Royston
    Nathan Royston has been a lifelong admirer of chocolate. In 2006 he postponed his science career and joined Theo Chocolate. He has since worked in every chocolate production department at Theo and understands both the mechanics of chocolate making and the chemistry involved. Currently Nathan is in charge of Cocoa Sourcing and manages all aspects of Theo’s cocoa supply chain. Nathan is still a chocolate lover through and through!
  • Paul Johnson Paul Johnson
    Celebrating 20 years of married Bliss
    Making Artisan Chocolate for 5 years at origin in Puerto Viejo, Limon, Costa Rica
    Owner of Caribeans Coffee & Chocolate
  • Pedro C. Magalhães Neto Pedro C. Magalhães Neto
    Pedro Caetano Magalhães Neto descended from a cocoa grower family, showing in early age his inclination to proceed with the work done by his grandfather and father. Despite the fact of having a degree in business administration and going abroad to study in a post graduate in finance, his love for working in the cocoa field made him return to his family’s property and live his dream of working with cocoa. He began to develop some innovative ideas such as: To plant cocoa in a mono-varietal bloc, harvest, ferment and dry a single cocoa variety.
  • Rebecca Roebber Rebecca Roebber
    Rebecca Roebber, Kallari L3C Representative, has lived and worked with Kichwa farmers in the Upper Rio Napo regions to produce one of the only farmer-owned chocolate bars in the world.

  • Rob Anderson Rob Anderson
    Rob Anderson started his chocolate making journey in 2003 with one bag of cocoa and a small stone grinder. A lifelong love of chocolate evolved into a passion for chocolate making as Rob’s Engineering and business background enabled the development of new equipment and analytical methods around his newfound passion.
  • Santiago Peralta Santiago Peralta
    Santiago Peralta is the founder of Pacari Chocolate, an award-winning Ecuadorian company considered the best of Latin America. Pacari is a pioneer in the “Raw” chocolate movement and a leader in the production of fine flavor organic and biodynamic chocolates, now sold worldwide in 26 countries.
  • Sarah Bharath Sarah Bharath
    Sarah Bharath is a native Trinidadian who has worked with the Cocoa Research Centre for twelve years. She will soon pursue graduate work in cacao fermentation science and the importance of the fermentation microbes in final cocoa flavour.

  • Sebastian Falcon Sebastian Falcon
    Sebastian Falcon received his Associates Degree in Baking & Pastry Arts & Management from the Culinary Institute of America in Hyde Park, NY. He worked as a Pastry and Prep Cook at Cantinetta Bellevue from 2010-2011 before joining Canlis as a Pastry Cook in 2011. Sebastian joined Chocolopolis full time in July 2012, where he works as a Chocolatier with his wife, Dominica.
  • Seneca Klassen Seneca Klassen
    Seneca is a cacao grower and chocolate maker working on the island of Oahu, Hawaii. He spends his days feeding, pruning, picking, fermenting, drying, roasting, winnowing, refining, conching, tempering and molding chocolate. (And very occasionally goes swimming.)

  • Sunita de Tourreil Sunita de Tourreil
    Sunita de Tourreil left prion disease in search of work that would engage her mind, heart and palate. Happy Chocolate does just that and has proven to be an even bigger challenge than expected! Sunita is committed to working in partnership with craft chocolate makers to transform the way we value cacao and fine chocolate.
  • Suzann Vaughn Suzann Vaughn
    Suzann Vaughn has been working at Theo Chocolate for six years in the Confections Department, where she has mastered the skill of high-end ganache making, caramel production, and artisan chocolate hand-tempering. She is also responsible for introducing a number of specialty products and flavor combinations to the Theo Chocolate product portfolio. Outside of her chocolate wizardry Suzann is also a talented baker and has a passion for world travel. She studied pastry at South Seattle Community College.