TheChocolateLifeLIVE – The 15th Anniversary Show

TheChocolateLifeLIVE – The 15th Anniversary Show

Episode 82 of #TheChocolateLifeLIVE will be a celebration of the fifteen years of the history of TheChocolateLife. Streaming live from 12:00~13:00 EST on Tues, Jan 17th.

In this episode of TheChocolateLifeLIVE it’s going to be all about my ChocolateLife – how I got to the 15th anniversary and what I plan to do for the next fifteen years.

There is a special membership offer to help celebrate the 15th Anniversary of TheChocolateLife. It is available only through the end of January.

Get a 10% discount when you become a new Premium Member or upgrade your existing membership to an annual Team TCL Champion or Guru level for the length of your membership, not just the first year. PLUS get extra consulting hours for each block of ten hours you purchase (at the discounted TCL Premium member rate) for as long as you are a member with no limit on the number of blocks you can purchase each year.

To take advantage of these special discounts, email member support.

An Abbreviated Pre-History of TheChocolateLife

  • 1973~1976 – Lived in New Zealand. Finished high school.First jobs in printing, advertising, and photography. Tried to start a New Zealand Frisbee Association.
  • 1976~1977 – Attended The Evergreen State College.
  • 1977~1980 – Worked at KBOO-FM in Portland, OR.
  • 1980~1983 – Attended and graduated RISD with a BFA in Photography. Interned at the Robert Freidus gallery in NYC. First assistant to Wolfgang Hoyt / Esto Studio. Took the first ever computing class offered at RISD.
  • 1983 – Moved to NYC to pursue my dream of a career as a commercial photographer. First assistant to Wolfgang Hoyt & Ezra Stoller / Esto Studio as well as Bodi Studio.
  • 1983~1988 – Worked at my first high-tech startup (employee No 12).
  • 1984 – First article published in a trade magazine.
  • 1984~1998 – Attended every SIGGRAPH conference and several NAB conferences.
  • 1986 – First trip to Europe. Worked at Photokina at the Köln Messe. Then traveled in Switzerland (Geneva, Lucerne), Italy (Milan–where I attended the Salon du Mobil), Venice, Florence, Genoa), France (Nice, Aix, St Remy, Avignon, Carcasoone, Paris), Andorra, Spain (Barcelona), and the UK (London). While not looking for chocolate, I did enjoy quite a bit of it along the way.
  • 1988~2006 – Independent technology consultant with clients in information management, interactive video, website development, place-based media, electronic prepress systems. Met Doug Engelbart and Ted Nelson.
  • 1989 – Returned to New Zealand. First trip to Australia.
  • 1990 — Attended Ted2. Met Jane Metcalfe and Louis Rossetto, co-founders of Wired and the first outside investors in TCHO. Met Rick Smolan. Met Richard Saul Wurman and Harry Marks.
  • 1991~1992 – Worked for the first HDTV production company in North America.
  • 1993 – Attended the launch party for Wired in SF. Co-founded Enfish Technology. Downloaded NCSA Mosaic – the first web browser – on my Mac Powerbook 140.
  • 1994 – First taste of single-origin chocolate. Entrepreneurial epiphany: Become the world’s first professional chocolate critic.
  • 1995 – Assisted in the production of a high-def adaptation of Rick Smolan’s book From Alice to Ocean. Assisted on a high-def project with Julie Taymor. Produced the first of three week-long classes in HDTV production for the Taiwan government. Assisted in the first HDTV shoot with a portable digital camera on a Steadicam.
  • 1996 – Publication of my book on HDTV production, High Definition Video Production: Preparing for a Widesreen World, the first such book in the world. Co-founded an interactive advertising agency. First meeting with Michael Coe. First NY Chocolate Show.
  • 1997 – Discovered Michel Cluizel Nuancier collections.
  • 1998 – First visit to a from-the-bean chocolate factory. Returned to Australia. First attempt at to independently import chocolate from Europe. Registered the domain names and
  • 1999 – First job in chocolate working for Vintage Chocolates selling Cluizel and Domori to high-end restaurants and venues in NYC. First started corresponding via Usenet with others about chocolate.
  • 2001 – Spun up in May. First Summer Fancy Food Show where I met Gary Guittard and Frederick Schilling. Joined my last high-tech startup as CTO/CIO. Started writing a newsletter insert in Chocolatier magazine.
  • 2002 – First chocolate consulting client.
  • 2003~2010 – First attended the World Pastry Forum and the Pastry Team Championships as press in 2003. Worked for the organizers from 2004~2010 in various capacities. Took classes from notable luminaries including Albert Adria.
  • 2003 – First trip to a producing country, where I met John Kehoe. Appeared on the Oprah Winfrey Show.
  • 2005 – Attended Hawaii Cacao 2005 in Hilo. Return trip to Ecuador where I met Shawn Askinosie.
  • 2006 – Signed the book deal for Discover Chocolate. First bean-buying trip (to Chiapas, Mexico and Barlovento, Venezuela with Shawn.) First started teaching chocolate making courses. Built my first DIY winnower. First visit to the original Mast Bros workshop in Williamsburg, NYC.
  • 2007 – Consulted on the first Askinose Chocolate bars. First time in Paris – with a connection through London where I met Kate Johns, the founder of London Chocolate Week. Discover Chocolate published. First trip to Belize. Wrote my first article about TCHO / reconnected with Jane Metcalfe and Louis Rossetto but now in chocolate.
  • was spun up on January 16th. Traveled to Switzerland to participate in the 100th anniversary celebration of Felchlin (Schwyz). Returned to Belize for the Punta Gorda chocolate festival. Head judge of the first Next Generation Chocolatier Competition.

A Shortlist of Post-2008 Highlights

  • 2009 – Chocolate Unwrapped in London. First visit to Rome. Only visit to Eurochocolate in Perugia. Visited Pralus factory in Roanne.
  • 2010 – First visit to Bolivia. First visit to Grenada. Disover Chocolate in Paris during the Salon du Chocolat. Return visit to Bolivia to speak at the 2nd International Congress on Fine and Flavor Cocoa in the Andean Region. Scouted the purchase of a cacao farm in Bocas del Toro, Panama. Organized a tour group to Belize.
  • 2011 – Consulted to Cacao Prieto and brokered my first Selmi bar depositing line sale to them. First visit to Brussels on my way to Luxembourg to teach a class to international students at the Miami (Ohio) University campus there.
  • 2011~2017 – Joined New World Spirits as a member of the Solbeso startup team. In charge of sourcing juice in Peru and Ecuador and involed in sales and marketing support in the US and UK.
  • 2012 – First started representing FBM. Spoke at Academy of Chocolate meeting and presented on the $100 Chocolate Bar for the first time. First time I was a judge for an International Chocolate Awards.
  • 2013 – Introduction of FBM’s craft chocolate upgrade and the KLEEGO conche.
  • 2013~2015 – Attended the Salon del Cacao y Chocolate in Lima.
  • 2014~2017 – Worked in Nicaragua with Ingemann. For APEN I guided the development of a country brand for cacao.
  • 2014~2018 – Origin Chocolate Conference.
  • 2014~2022 – Chocoa. I physically attended and/or participated in Chocoa in every year it has been held. Moderated the first five Chocolate Makers’s Forums.
  • 2015 – Migrated TheChocolateLife from Ning to Jamroom. Was a source for the exposé on the Mast Bros.
  • 2015~2019 – Attended the Festival del Chocolate in Tabasco, MX. Consulted to various state and federal ministries. Organized the first concurso for the best cacao in Tabasco.
  • 2016~2018 – Consulted to the organizers of The Big Chocolate Show.
  • 2017 – Attended the Salon del Cacao y Chocolate in Lima. Last time I was a judge for the ICAs. Attended Chocolat Bahia in Ilhéus. Attended the global launch for Ruby in Shanghai. Migrated TheChocolateLife from Jamroom to Maven. First visit to Japan to teach classes on chocolate making in Tokyo and Osaka.
  • 2018 – Attended the global launch for Hidden Persuaders in Cocoa and Chocolate at ISM in Köln.
  • 2019 – Attended World Chocolate Day in Trinidad. Attended the global launch for Wholefruit in San Francisco.
  • 2020 – Returned to Tokyo for the Valentine’s Day Ruby press event. Final in-person Chocoa. First visit to Finland. First return to Voiron to visit Bonnat since 2008. Return to the US via Brussels and Rotterdam. Return to Brazil for Chocolat São Paulo.
  • 2021 – First vist to W Africa – Nigeria. Migrated TheChocolateLife from Maven to Ghost.
  • 2022 – Returned to Brazil for Chocolat Xingu and Chocolat Bahia. First visit to Colombia. Returned to Ecuador for the first time since 2005. First visit to Porto and Lisbon. First visit to Venice since 1986 for the global launch of G2 chocolate.

Unfortunately, there are no good captures of TheChocolateLife on Ning or Jamroom or Maven (!) on the Wayback Machines. For some reason they are all missing all of the header and background graphics and are weirdly formatted.

So here are some fun images I created. All of the indivudal letter images were taken in the NYC subway system.

TheChocolateLife Today (on Ghost)

I don’t think there’s any need to take a screenshot of what TheChocolateLife looks like today.

My Future ChocolateLife

My Bucket List

2023 Projects

  • The $100 Chocolate Bar
  • Finish Discovering Chocolate

2023 Goals

  • Growing TheChocolateLife community and the base of financial support.
  • Passing 1000 YouTube subscribers (TheChocolateWire channel)
  • Passing 5000 Instagram subscribers (@discoverchoc, @chocolate.wire
  • Passing 12,500 members in the Facebook group Salones Internacionales de Cacao y Chocolate.

Watch/Participate on YouTube, Facebook, or LinkedIn.

Visit TheChocolateWire Channel on YouTube

My LinkedIn profile
TheChocolateLife page on Facebook live event


#chocolate #cacao #cocoa #cacau
#TheChocolateLife #LaVidaCocoa

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