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.
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 was on a mission to share joy with the world through deliciously engaging chocolate experiences. With Michael’s European chocolate-making techniques and culinary creativity, he had a recipe for success. He and his brother Richard founded Chuao Chocolatier in 2002, naming it Chuao as a nod to the legendary cacao-growing region as a reflection of their heritage and commitment to quality. They opened the first chocolate café and boutique in Encinitas, Calif., adding locations in Del Mar and Carlsbad, as well as a wholesale business nationwide.
Some of their bestselling flavors include the Firecracker with dark chocolate, popping candy, sea salt and chipotle, and the Potato Chip bar, made with crushed kettle-cooked potato chips and creamy milk chocolate. Chef Michael has been named Top Ten Chocolatier in North America by Dessert Professional Magazine and has received international acclaim for his chocolate creations, with TV appearances on the Food Network, Cooking Channel, Dr. Phil, and CNN en Espanol.