Tom Neuhaus, our banquet speaker, will give a presentation on growing and making chocolate.
Pursuing his lifelong love of chocolate, Tom opened Mama Ganache Artisan Chocolates in San Luis Obispo in 2004. He began by using only organic, fair trade chocolate. But in his travels to West Africa, he realized that the certification schemes provide few guarantees for the farmers. To improve on that he began transitioning to a bean-to-bar business, which has made it possible to reward farmers directly for their production of high quality chocolate. In addition, through an organization he created, Project Hope and Fairness, he has been able to help chocolate farmers in Africa and their communities.
Tom trained as a cook and baker in restaurants and bakeries in France and Austria, then worked as a chef in high-end restaurants, including Quo Vadis and Tartuffo, in New York and Washington, D.C. During that time he wrote a column for the Washington Post and earned a Ph.D. in food science from Cornell. He has taught cooking and baking for 33 years at Cornell and Cal Poly, San Luis Obispo.