The Chocolate Mad Scientist
Chloe Stemler came to Marou as perhaps the most qualified intern ever—a trained pastry chef with degrees in zoology and sustainable agronomy. A few months after joining, she found herself running our production, and hatching brilliant new recipes for our chocolate.
WHERE ARE YOU FROM?
I grew up in a little university town in California called Davis. The streets were bicycle-safe and the public schools were just hardcore—lots of pressure.
WAS THAT YOUR FIRST MEMORY OF CHOCOLATE?
Maybe it was my grandmother’s house in Brittany.
She kept a big stash of dark chocolate bars under her TV; every night after dinner we’d pull them all out and pick one. My mom and I loved the ones filled with Marzipan.
DID YOU STUDY AGRONOMY FROM THE BEGINNING?
I studied zoology in Montreal and ended up doing a semester abroad in Panama to explore sustainable forms of agriculture.
That’s where I saw my first cacao farm. The owner’s name was Orlando and his family fermented and ground their cacao into these pucks for drinks.
As we were leaving in the bus, I couldn’t help but think what an amazing place it was and how much I wanted to go back. But I didn’t.
WHAT DID YOU DO?
Instead I graduated and went to Le Cordon Bleu in Paris for ten months to follow a dream of becoming a pastry chef.
After, I did a two-month internship with MOF Pastry Chef Arnaud Larher.
I learned a lot about how a professional pastry kitchen works and a few skills along the way.
WHAT DID YOU DO NEXT?
I felt bad for giving up on all that I had studied during undergrad, and I found this exciting master’s program that focused on agriculture in developing countries. I did my final internship in Ivory Coast studying the results of cacao fertilizer trials. I learned about the realities of cacao farming in West Africa.
WHAT ABOUT ALL THE AGRONOMY STUFF?
Well, after I got my advanced degree I spent two and a half years working for UTZ in Amsterdam. The job focused on certifying sustainable cacao farms and gave me a lot of exposure to cacao farmers all over the world and the main issues that they and the industry face. Don’t worry, I put the agronomy stuff to good use.
AND NOW YOU WORK AS A MAD SCIENTIST IN THE MAROU KITCHEN?
Now I dedicate my time as R&D manager working on new products and fine tuning our chocolate making process. Occasionally I help select beans- it’s a great way to explore how the taste evolves from the bean through each step the chocolate making process.