Chef Michael Antonorsi’s love affair with chocolate began long before he created Chuao Chocolatier. His ancestors owned Aguasanta, a small Venezuelan farm known for its fine cacao, and so a love of chocolate was naturally in his blood.
Michael’s respect for chocolate grew into an appreciation for food. His favorite childhood memories take place in the kitchen, standing by his German mother’s side as she cooked and baked and cooked some more. Between his Venezuelan upbringing and his exposure to European cuisine, flavor and texture became Michael’s best friends.
At the young age of 16, Michael left home to study biomedical engineering at the University of California at San Diego. On his own for the first time, Michael used his mother’s favorite recipes to fend for himself- and many of his friends. Upon graduation, he returned to his homeland to continue studying,taking amateur cooking classes on the weekend. The more he explored the world of food, the more Michael’s curiosity grew.
After completing his MBA, Michael and his brother Richard built a successful career as entrepreneurs in the high tech industry. Yet he still secretly longed to be cooking. So in his mid 30s, Michael, along with his wife and two daughters, decided to follow his passion for food all the way to culinary school in Paris, where he trained as a French Chef at École Supérieure de Cuisine Française Ferrandi, followed by a specialized training in Pastry and Chocolaterie at the École LeNôtre.
Following his Parisian adventure, Michael met up with his brother Richard in San Diego, on a mission to arouse the senses with unusual, unexpected and delicious chocolate experiences. Between Richard’s strategic business skills and Michael’s European chocolate-making techniques and culinary creativity, the Antonorsi brothers had a recipe for success. They opened their first chocolate café & boutique in Encinitas, Calif., in 2002 and named it Chuao as a nod to the legendary cacao-growing region, reflecting both their heritage and their commitment to ethically sourced cacao and all-natural ingredients. Since then, Chuao Chocolatier has added a second chocolate cafe & boutique in Southern California, as well as a wholesale business nationwide.
Chef Michael is Chuao’s President and Master Chocolatier and Richard is the company’s chairman of the board. Some of their bestselling flavors include the Firecracker with dark chocolate, chiles and popping candy, and the Potato Chip bar, made with crushed kettle cooked potato chips and creamy milk chocolate. Chef Michael has received national attention for his chocolate creations, with appearances on TV including Food Network’s Road Tasted with the Neelys, Cooking Channel’s FoodCrafters, Dr. Phil and CNN en Espanol.