As a part of our next webinar in the Empowering Chocopreneurs© series Cocoa Is More Than Chocolate we are proud to introduce you to Wayne Cezair of Cocoa Pod Products in Trinidad.
Wayne Cezair has worked extensively in Canada and the Caribbean as a chef and restaurant/bar owner. He has been owner and executive chef at his various restaurants: Cita in Montreal; Tam’s Wok, the Carajay, the Upper Deck and the MaiTai bar and bistro in Barbados. He has also operated a colour separation service bureau in Barbados, published a Caribbean magazine and was co-founder and co-producer of Yolk Productions, a successful record label and music production studio in Trinidad. He has been twice nominated for the Barbados Entrepreneur of the Year award and has been a semi-finalist in the Barbados National Innovation competition. He is currently based in Trinidad but has started a smaller operation in Barbados as well.
His interest in cooking started at a very early age when he would experiment in his parents kitchen whilst still in his early teens. His interest was piqued when he found out in chemistry class that the reason onions become translucent during cooking, was because of the conversion of starches to sugar. The connection between chemistry and food opened up an entirely new interest in food and continues to influence his culinary experiments to this day. His interest in chocolate came about when, in one of his restaurants in Montreal, Canada, he introduced the cuisine of South America and the Caribbean to the city. The cuisine of Mexico, especially the chocolate based moles, was the beginning of his interest in chocolate based cuisine, that eventually led to his current foray into the world of chocolate, but he soon discovered that cocoa was much more than chocolate.
A quintessential exponent of the medicinal value of food, he soon discovered the hidden potential of the cocoa plant and began investigating the other properties of the cocoa fruit that are often overlooked, when only the culinary aspects are exploited in the production of edible chocolate. Delving into the hundreds of studies done on the properties of the chemical makeup of the cocoa, he changed his entire focus from simply producing great tasting chocolate products, to retaining as much of the precious medicinal value of the plant, whilst maintaining the flavour profiles of the beans. As such he has been working with unroasted cocoa beans to make chocolate products, has created an entire line of skincare products and is working to produce other products that exploit the antimicrobial and antibiotic properties of the cocoa bean shell, that is generally only used for fertilizer or discarded after beans are roasted and winnowed.
His business, Cocoa Pod Products, produces an extensive range of chocolate bars, as would be expected, using both roasted and unroasted beans; chocolate nut butters; chocolate and fruit pulp dips and spreads; a cocoa liqueur to rival any other; chocolate bitters; cocoa and chocolate syrups; cocoa flour; a cookie line using the aforementioned cocoa flour and a range of teas utilizing cocoa bean shell combined with various herbs and spices.
He works extensively with the farmers who supply his beans, helping them to improve their post harvest operations to coax the best flavour out of their beans, using the information gleaned from the many studies he has read on the subject. His latest ambition is the franchising of his brand and product lines across the Caribbean and producing premium chocolate base for other chocolatiers and chefs, using the beans from the four estates he currently works exclusively with. Beans from two of these estates were rated among the top 50 in the world at the Salon du Chocolat in Paris, France in 2019, with one of them, the Grand Riviere estate of Leroy and Geeta Peters being voted number one in the world.
As he continues to innovate, he hopes to help make the Caribbean the Mecca of chocolate, where the world would come to taste and enjoy the best chocolate products in the world.
Join Chef Wayne Cezair for this exciting webinar as he shares with us the long list of products he creates from cocoa and the impact this has had on his business. He will talk about how he built his business around this idea.
We will also hear from CocoaTown co-founder Andal Balu who has traveled the globe learning how people use cocoa tree and its different parts. She has interviewed 100s of passionate and innovative chocopreneurs over the years and shares what she has learned.
Register to get webinar recording - https://forms.gle/hFATB5smGxSZnozb7