Kakaw Museo & Chocolatería Cultural México
Proudly Mexican, a very active woman who grew up within her family's cultural and tourist businesses. She studied archeology and gastronomy, two passions that shaped her life, enriched her education and allowed her to know and live in different parts of Mexico and the world. She is a Level II certified chocolate taster by the International Institute of Chocolate & Cacao Tasting, and a Master trainer in cocoa sensory evaluation by the Cocoa Research Center. He is also a member of the International Scientific Committee on Chocolate Flavors in the World.
As CEO of KAKAW Museum - Chocolate Factory - Plantations, Mayari has represented Mexico since 2010 on different national and international stages, such as the Salon du Chocolat, Eurochocolat, spreading the history of cacao, the evolution of the cocoa bean to chocolate and with the Kakaw Museum's chocolate bar collection has won 21 awards at the International Chocolate Awards. She has been a CocoaTown Instructor in courses in India, the United States and Mexico. It should be added that at "Hands on Workshop Atlanta 2018", Mayari together with Christian Martinez and his students created a chocolate bar that won a Bronze medal at the Americas International Chocolate Awards; With this they showed that it is possible to create excellent chocolates, big dreams and even if a mountain is high, there is always a way to reach the top.
Castellanos wants to show the enormous historical and cultural legacy of cacao, the importance of this sacred fruit for pre-Hispanic indigenous peoples, the qualities and great traceability of cacao, as well as the enormous potential of good cultivation practices and the correct transformation of cacao beans into chocolate.
Chitra'm Craft Chocolates
Dr. Arun Viswanathan S.K, is the founder and CEO of Chitra'm Craft Chocolates. He did a Masters in Food Science and Technology from the Cornell University, New York and underwent training to be a chocolate maker at "The Chocolate Line", Bruges, Belgium. He interned at Dandelion Chocolates, San Francisco and is a Second Level Certified Chocolate Taster from the International Institute of Chocolate & Cacao Tasting. He also has a Ph.D. in Agriculture Business Management from TNAU and an executive certification from Cornell University in Food Retail Management.
Arun has conducted various chocolate-making workshops in partnership with renowned brands around the world and represented Indian chocolates in various international forums. He doesn’t wear a toque and flip things in a pan, he wields a palette knife over the chocolate canvas. The ingredients that most people scrunch their faces at to mix together, he takes pleasure in ceremoniously whipping up into the most enticing products. Bon-bons with fillings that range from homemade wheat halwa to wasabi and products like cacao-pesto and cacao-molagapodi are the brain-children of Arun Viswanathan, the chocolatier who doesn’t shy away from diving into the deep end of the chocolate pool.
He is the participant of CocoaTown's first Bean to Bar workshop in India. Within 6 months of starting his business, he received 3 international awards for his chocolates that he made with Indian beans and CocoaTown machines. He is the first Indian chocolatemaker of Indian origin, making chocolates in India with Indian beans to win international awards.
Dr. Balu Balasubramanian
Dr. Balu Balasubramanian is highly knowledgeable in various processes involved in the Bean to Bar small-batch chocolate making, such as roasting, cracking/winnowing and grinding/refining. In the business side, he is responsible for strategic business development and operations of CocoaTown.
By closely working with CocoaTown customers, Dr. Balu understands the questions from those who want to start "bean to bar" business and provides business and technical support. He understands craft chocolate makers’ pinch points and develops simple and effective tools and solutions to customers’ needs and also for the craft chocolate industry.
He travels around the world to help customers. In Feb. & Mar. 2020, he trained the technicians at Cocoa Research Institute of Ghana in Accra Ghana, and CNRA in Abidjan, Ivory Coast (Cote d’Ivoire) both projects under World Cocoa Foundation.
He also teaches as part of the CocoaTown Bean to Bar workshops, a three-day intensive course to empower chocopreneurs (chocolate entrepreneurs).
Andal Balu, President and Co-founder of CocoaTown, is a visionary leader whose contributions to the world of chocolate have been transformative. Through CocoaTown, she has played a pivotal role in the global bean-to-bar revolution. CocoaTown's impact extends to over 100 countries, where it has empowered countless chocopreneurs through Equipment, Education, Exposure, and Expertise.
Her dedication to sharing knowledge extends to international chocolate festivals and events, where she has presented seminars and workshops since 2012, spreading her expertise and passion for chocolate worldwide. She came up with the idea of Empowering Chocopreneurs webinar series during the 2020 pandemic to help all the stakeholders in the cocoa value chain. In the past 3 years, more than 5000 participants from 60 countries have benefited from these webinars.
She has also been a key educator as part of the CocoaTown Bean to Bar workshops since their inception in 2014.
At CocoaTown she oversees customer service, accounting, sales and marketing functions.
To learn more or register - Bean to Bar Bootcamp 2023 - India