William Dean Brown

William Dean Brown

William Dean Chocolates

William Dean Brown, founder and Chief Chocolate Officer (CCO) at William Dean Chocolates, began exploring his artistic talents at an early age. Although trained as an educator, William became involved in the dot.com world where he co-founded a software company and later joined an emerging technology company. After the dot.com bubble burst, he reinvented himself by moving to Tampa, Florida. He joined Ceridian Corporation and worked his way into upper management. After watching an episode on “The Food Network,” he made chocolates for his employees and knew he had found the perfect medium to express his creativity.

As William learned to airbrush and paint chocolates, the artistic passion from his youth returned. Artisan chocolates offered the opportunity to create a beautiful, outward appearance with amazing flavor combinations hidden within. He began his journey of learning by reading every book he could get his hands on about chocolate. He then began to take classes and spend time with other chocolatiers to learn even more. Within two years, he learned firsthand from some of the top chocolatiers in the world including Jean-Pierre Wybauw, Stephane Glacier, Andrew Shotts, Anil Rohira, Vincent Pilon, and Ewald Notter.

Since founding the company in 2007, William Dean Chocolates has won numerous awards including “Best of Show” at the NY Chocolate show and “People’s Choice” at the Next Generation Chocolatier competition. His Salted Caramel was picked by the NY Times as one of the 10 best in the United States. William’s chocolates have also been featured in magazines as well as “The View” with Whoopi Goldberg and the motion pictures, “The Hunger Games” as well as “Catching Fire”.

Cesar Barachina

Cesar Barachina

Chef Cesar Barachina started his career at an early age. When he was able to walk and talk, he was in the kitchen with his parents helping them cook the next family meal. As he grew up, the culinary arts was in his blood with his grandfather, father and brother being executive chefs. It was destined that he was to follow into the family tradition and take the culinary path.

So after graduating high school he attended the Florida Culinary Institute of West Palm Beach and enrolled in there International Baking and Pastry program where he discovered his love and passion for pastries. Studying under Chef Jack Marshall and Chef Manfred Schmitcke, Cesar honed his pastry and bread making skills. After graduating and earning his Associates degree, he decided to travel and learn from other great pastry chefs around the world. He traveled to Europe, Asia, and Australia to name a few, while staging in hotels, restaurants and anywhere he could, to learn and work with some of the great pastry chefs of the world.

When he finished traveling he settled down and started to work for companies such as The Ritz Carlton Hotels, Norwegian Cruise Lines, and Hilton Hotels. Most recently he has worked for L’Auberge Casino Resort in Lake Charles, Louisiana as the Pastry Sous Chef and was the assistant to Pastry Chef Bill Foltz, one of the top 10 sugar artist in the US. Now Cesar has taken a bigger role in his career as he has assumed the role of the Pastry Chef at Turning Stone Resort & Casino in Verona, New York.

Cesar is asked all the time why do you like pastry so much? His response “It’s not that I like it. It’s that I love it. It is my passion and my love to create great works of art and to put great flavor into them.” Cesar doesn’t see being a Pastry Chef as a career, but he sees it has his life and an adventure. Even with his new role, he never stops learning by attending pastry classes, keeping abreast with the latest pastry literature, competitions and pastry trends, he continually push himself forward. His very good friend Chef Rudy Van Veen once said, “Pastry will consume you and take over you and just enjoy the ride.”

Most recently Chef Cesar has competed in Pastry Live 2014 in Atlanta,GA in the categories of Chocolatier of the Year; Signature plated Dessert, and The Verrine competition. Chef Cesar also competed on The Food Network’s show called Sugar Dome in the episode “Cops and Robbers” in which he won 1st place and $15,000 in prize money. and he also competed in the 24th Annual US Pastry Competition for Pastry Chef of the Year in New York.

Rodrigo Romo

Rodrigo Romo

Tout Chocolat

After graduating from Culinary School in May of 2005, Chef Romo joined the prestigious Tout Chocolat team.
Chef Romo has always been passionate about pastry and chocolate since his family owns a restaurant and a bakery in Mexico City where he acts as a consulting pastry chef. Chef Romo has over 5 years of experience as a teacher in prestigious cooking schools such as Le Cordon Bleu in Mexico City and the University Claustro de Sor Juana.

Besides working as a chocolatier and teaching his craft in various schools as a guest teacher, Chef Romo enjoys the challenge of culinary competitions. In 2009, after winning the national selection for the Mondial des Arts Sucrées, he represented Mexico in the world finals in Paris, France where they were awarded 3rd place in the tasting category and 5th place overall. During preparation for the competition he worked closely with Christophe Rhedon. (MOF) During this time he developed a close relationship with the acclaimed chef and the result was the highest finish for a Latin American team in a Pastry World Championship.

He is in charge of the production of pastries, confisseries & chocolates and plays a big role in the developing of new products for Tout Chocolat.

Chef Romo has appeared in a number of publications and TV appearances during the past few years including “Cadena 3” and “cannel 22”.

Karen Neugebauer


Forte Chocolates


Master Chocolatier, Karen Neugebauer is a true Artisan who is at the forefront of the Seattle artisan chocolate scene. She has continually wowed customers with both traditional pieces and her cutting-edge confections. Her passion for the craft and cunningly balanced flavor profiles have led to being ranked among the world’s best chocolatiers.

Chef Karen found her passion when she entered the Art Institute of Seattle’s Baking & Pastry program. She was immediately drawn to chocolate, especially the crisp, clean snap of a beautifully tempered bar, and chocolate’s innate ability to enhance lives – both as a food and an art – appealed to her immensely. Soon after graduating, she started Forte Chocolates (2006).

Believing in the philosophy that to celebrate chocolate is to celebrate life, Chef Karen chose to follow the artisan mindset rather than manufacturing large quantities. Her team of artisans craft every piece entirely by hand; including hand tempering, pouring, dipping, and packaging all of the chocolates. With meticulous dedication to quality, she brings to life the remarkably diverse variety of flavors found naturally within chocolate. She also creates stunning flavor combinations by blending chocolates with the finest ingredients available in the marketplace, including savory elements such as organic herbs, honeys, and spices.

Chef Karen has won numerous national and international awards, most notably Gold (2013) and Silver (2011), from the Academy of Chocolate in London, UK. Nationally, she has earned more than 50 Golds and Silvers in four short years (2009-2012), including Taste TV’s Masters Award (2012) and the Six-star rating from the International Chocolate Salons (2013), their highest possible rating in the United States. Chef Karen’s chocolates are carried throughout the Pacific Northwest, available online, and available at her showroom in Mt. Vernon. Please visit us at www.ForteChocolates.com