Class of 2018
Class of 2018
Craig Sams was born on a farm in Nebraska. In 1967 he and his brother Gregory founded Whole Earth Foods, expanding from Seed, an organic macrobiotic restaurant, into retail, wholesaling, publishing and manufacturing. In 1991, in partnership with Josephine Fairley, founded Green & Black's Organic Chocolate, the first product to carry the Fairtrade Mark. He is a director of Duchy Originals, Soil Association Certification, Carbon Gold and Larry Smart Art. Founded Carbon Gold in 2008 to establish biochar as a means to restore degraded soils, enhance organic farming and cacao farming while sequestering carbon dioxide to reverse climate change.
A journalist and Britain’s youngest-ever magazine editor, Jo Fairley co-founded Green & Black's with her husband Craig Sams in 1991. She remains a 'Chocolate Ambassador' with an enduring passion for the brand she created, and has gone on to become a serial entrepreneur with her husband, opening Judges Bakery (a one-stop organic and natural foodstore in their home town of Hastings, followed by a nine-room boutique wellbeing centre, The Wellington Centre. Jo has written 25 books (including co-authoring the bestselling Beauty Bible series) and her most recent venture is The Perfume Society (perfumesociety.org), the world's only networking organisation for fragrance-lovers. What links all her ventures is an interest in the senses.
John Nanci, aka Alchemist John, aka The Alchemist, founded Chocolate Alchemy in 2004 supplying people with all the knowledge, equipment and cocoa beans needed to make chocolate and igniting the current Bean to Bar Chocolate movement. He is 13 parts scientist, 8 parts teacher, 5 parts innovator, 3 parts brewer, baker & chocolate maker, 2 parts puzzle solver, 1 part maths spotter, who loves a Fibonacci sequence and, last but not least, his daughter.
Dr. Maricel E. Presilla, a descendant of cacao farmers from the eastern mountains of her native Cuba, has been working on fine cacao and chocolate for the last thirty years, combining the high academic standards of a professionally trained historian with a cultural anthropologist’s focus on rigorous field work. Her seminal book The New Taste of Chocolate: A Cultural and Natural History of Cacao with Recipes (Ten Speed Press) in its 2000 and 2009 editions, inspired countless chocolate lovers, makers, and farmers to look deeper into fine cacao from Latin America. It was the first book of it’s kind to visually present a thorough overview of cacao varieties and their individual flavor profiles from a first-hand perspective and within a serious historical framework. Her work in Venezuela in the early 90’s and her involvement in heirloom cacao sourcing at the helm of her Gran Cacao Company helped popularize the single-origin movement in the US. She continues to educate and energize fine cacao and chocolate around the world from her platform as a founder and Americas Director of the International Chocolate Awards, the largest independent fine chocolate competition in the world, and the International Institute of Chocolate and Cacao Tasting which focuses on sensory analysis. Dr. Presilla is the James Beard award-winning chef of Cucharamama and Zafra restaurants in Hoboken, NJ. Her magnum opus Gran Cocina Latina: The Food of Latin America (WW. Norton, 2012) was selected as Cookbook of the Year by the James Beard Foundation, which also inducted her in its Who’s Who of Food and Beverage in America, a select cadre of outstanding food professionals. Her most recent book Peppers of the Americas: The Remarkable Capsicums that Forever Changed Flavor (Lorena Jones Books/Ten Speed Press, 2017) was the winner of the reference and technical category award of the International Association of Culinary Professionals in 2018.
Michael Rogak as the inaugural New Yorker Legend of Chocolate in recognition of his 44 years as a candy maker and chocolatier.
The son of a son of a candy maker, Michael’s father Martin started JoMart Chocolates in April of 1946 in Brooklyn, New York. It’s said that he entered into the family business because it catered to celebrating the good things in life. And so Michael continued to celebrate the good things; he even used the same stove and copper kettles his father did to make their fresh chocolates and confections. A fountain of chocolate and business wisdom, in addition to having taught the craft to his children and grandchildren, Michael has shared his knowledge and experience teaching introductory classes in the new culinary program at Kingsborough Community College in Brooklyn and has mentored many New York City chocolatiers, and in some cases made their chocolate for them. “The key to world peace is chocolate. Think about it,” says Michael.