Personality Cafe banner

1 - 1 of 1 Posts

3,960 Posts
Discussion Starter #1
Do you think about whether people you meet, or the profile of others demonstrate that they could be INFPs in real life? I find these people fascinating. There is no right, or wrong in one's path in life, but to continually to try is also okay too ! :)



Katrina Markoff is an American native, raised in Chicago. Despite her distinctly American roots, however, she has culinary influences that span the globe. As far as formal education, she attended the Le Cordon Bleu culinary school located in Paris and earned a degree. Unlike many of her chocolatier colleagues, Katrina did not immediately take a job in a restaurant or go to work in her field. Instead, she spent some time globe-trotting and apprenticing, focusing specifically on local street food where she travelled. She paid close attention to flavour combinations, ingredients and traditions, fully immersing herself in the food of the locales she visited. In 1997, after eight months of eating bliss, Katrina returned home and got to work.

Katrina Markoff opened her first retail location in 2008, in her hometown of Chicago, with the assistance of a Small Business Administration loan. Playing off her traditional French culinary education, she christened her company Vosges Haut-Chocolat and began her venture with a strong focus on exotic truffles.


After the initial success of her premiere chocolate line, Markoff began the slow and steady process of building her business. In the early days, she leased a commercial kitchen for manufacturing. After successfully pitching her truffle line to the department store Neiman Marcus, Katrina was soon aware that the demand for her product was becoming more than her current abilities could match. Despite the fact that Markoff hadn’t fully developed her branding, marketing or packaging designs, she felt confident enough to risk more and larger loans to open her own manufacturing plant in 2002.

By 2006, Katrina boasted sales that exceeded $7 million and was able to pay herself a healthy salary of $80,000 per year. In reality, the company generated enough revenues for a higher salary, but the desire for strong and sustainable growth led the CEO to invest the majority of the company’s profit back into her dream.

Today, Kristina still maintains a close and hands-on control of Vosges Haut-Chocolat. The company employs a mere 30 people. In addition to the Chicago storefront, Markoff now oversees two successful locations in New York and Las Vegas, with an international shop set to launch in Japan.

Katrina Markoff Breaks the Mould - Vosges Chocolatiers Of The World


While there are many chocolate makers that pride themselves of working closely with growers of quality cacao beans, few have gotten as close to the source as California native Jeffrey Stern. Like most chocolate manufacturers, Jeffrey didn’t start his life path mixing chocolate. When you follow his history, however, it certainly makes sense how he ended up where he is today.

Jeffrey Stern first attended the University of the Pacific in 1989 where he spent one year there before moving on to New York University, where he graduated with a Bachelor degree in Latin American Studies. In truth, the love of the area led Jeff to chocolate making and not the other way around. After completing his initial degree, Stern moved to the University of Texas at Austin and obtained a Master of Science in Community and Regional Planning, graduating in 1995. During this period of study, however, Jeffrey was working simultaneously for the US Agency for International Development as well as working in Ecuador, Colombia, and Nicaragua in a variety of sectors including housing and urban development, as well as family planning logistics. After graduation, Jeffrey Stern became employed full-time for USAID and spent until late 2001 dealing with the financial and planning side of the recovery projects the agency was responsible for.

While the culture and community certainly appealed to Stern, there was a reason for staying that hit closer to home. While working with USAID, Jeff met and married his Ecuadorian wife Maria. They didn’t, however, make their home in Ecuador and jump into chocolate making right away. Instead, the couple moved back state-side in 2007 and then ended up in Washington DC, where Stern commenced his education as a chocolatier and with their small kids in mind – they’re now five and seven. Jeffrey studied at L’Academie de Cuisine for a full year. He then went on to work sometimes menial jobs that allowed him to grow in his craft. At Restaurant 7, for example, he worked for a full year a mere line cook. He spent the two subsequent years dipping his elbows deep into his love of chocolate as a production assistant at Kingsbury Chocolate. Finally, two different catering opportunities sealed his trade-specific education, lasting from 2003 to 2007.

In 2007, Jeff and Maria felt that it was time to return to her hometown and jump into chocolate making full-force. Jeffrey Stern founded the Gianduja Chocolate company and began to produce chocolate using native Ecuadorian beans. While many chocolate companies make a point to source quality beans from a single location and even work exclusively and closely with specific growers, Jeff has the advantage of being truly close to the source and understanding both the cultural impacts and growing practices of his cacao farmers. In fact, Jeff is a strong advocate for traceability and authenticity, and is a frequent online and real-world contributor to the debate over origin beans, particularly in Ecuador and the problems with mixing of Nacional and CCN-51 varieties. Because the bean is the main source of the flavour profile of any particular type of chocolate, this would be an extremely important change, benefiting both chocolate makers and growers who could then charge more for higher quality beans.

Jeffrey Stern actually runs two different companies on the same factory floor in Quito. The Gianduja brand name is mainly marketed to the local Ecuadorian population. Customers in Ecuador prefer a creamier milk chocolate, despite that fact, Jeff works mainly in dark chocolate.
Jeff Stern - Aequare Chocolate - Ecuador

I adore this man ! For his sustainability efforts and his impact on the S. American economy.. Things will change. :)

I love the fact that these people ride waves upon waves of passion.
Can you find more? I wanna be inspired ! :happy:

I ain't no corporate monkey... At the heart of an NF is foood... Food is indeed the language of Love. :D
1 - 1 of 1 Posts