"The Enfant Terrible of the chocolate world!" - Steve DeVries

In the 5th grade I decided to make my own chocolate from beans.

I told my teacher, Mrs. Karpowich that this would be my independent study project. After writing to the big chocolate companies for advice, I was told -

Sorry but this really can't be done at home. It needs a factory with powerful machines that do things like break down the beans into microscopic particles.

They wanted to spare me the disappointment of a gritty, bad-tasting result. But I decided to try it anyway and see if I could prove them wrong.

My motto was: "What people say you cannot do, you try and find that you can."  —Henry David Thoreau

I next met Maricel Presilla, the author of my favorite chocolate book. She was a little skeptical but extremely supportive. She gave me some great Venezuelan beans to experiment with. And because she took me so seriously, I knew that I wasn't going to stop trying until I succeeded.

After many months of attempts, I was able to construct machines in my own kitchen that duplicated those in the factory. My biggest breakthrough occurred when I adapted a pasta rolling machine to create smooth particles, just like the big factory roller-refiners.

After I molded my first bar, I was ready to ask Maricel for her opinion. Expecting the worst, I waited quietly for her verdict. She loved it! Adding to my excitement, Robert Linxe, the famous Parisian chocolatier, asked to meet with me. After carefully tasting my chocolate, he said "Extraordinaire, you must have had a factory help you with this." When I told him I made it in my kitchen, he laughed and told me that I should continue to follow my passion.

Then, thanks to Pierrick Chouard, I was then invited to be the youngest guest speaker at the 2003 NY Chocolate Show where I showed exactly how I made my chocolate.