The Sweet Life of Chocolateur Katrina Markoff

Imagine you’re sitting in Place de Vosges in Paris, dreamily looking out to the beautiful landscape around you whileKatrina Markoff indulging in the finest cuisine in all of France. This is where Katrina Markoff, founder of Vosges-Haut Chocolat, had her first chocolate experience that would ignite her passion and dream of becoming a chocolatier. “I went to a restaurant called L’Ambroisie and they had taken chocolate ganache, frozen it, dipped it in a beignet batter, and fried it. That experience of eating this donut-crusty exterior and—when you bit down—this molten explosion of chocolate.” Ms. Markoff admits that before this moment she never really cared all that much for chocolate, but that she has always had an interest in baking. At the ripe age of six, Katrina used her Easy Bake Oven to create delicious treats that she sold out of her garage. Her passion for baking followed her into high school when she began a cake company. Her craving to create baked goods grew stronger and she discovered that “creating beautiful food brought a lot of love into my life and that feeling was addicting, so addicting, that as I entered college at Vanderbilt, I continued to cook and bake for my entire sorority every Monday evening. Unbeknownst to me, all of these experiences were fundamental in shaping both my career.”

The love she has for her choco-riffic craft is what makes Katrina Markoff an expert in what she does. By combining her passion for travel and storytelling, she is able to form unique and distinctive chocolate creations with ingredients from all over the globe. In fact, you find quite the exotic variety of chocolate flavors at Vosges-Haut Chocolat. Flavors such as, Blood Orange Caramel, Coconut Ash and Banana, Smoke and Stout, bacon, and even Pink Himalayan Crystal Salt reflect the diversity of Katrina’s chocolate collection.

Katrina and her team “harness the power of storytelling to open minds, spirits, and palates through esteemed chocolate, inspiring people to interact with the world in a new and creative way.” Her team of chocolate experts have perfected this process in 4 simple steps:

1) Fall in love

2) Get inspired

3) Take action

4) Create an experience

Ms. Markoff believes one can find inspiration in everything and how she is constantly in search of discovering new high quality ingredients to add to her chocolate creations. Her and her team travel all over the world looking for ingredients that are non-GMO, Fair Trade, and gluten free. She purposefully partners with what she calls her “perfect vendors” who believe in strong sustainability practices. Katrina advocates “that protecting human rights is the shared responsibility of all parties in the cocoa value chain and we expect our suppliers and business partners to champion and uphold fair labor standards and policies. We source chocolate from carefully selected suppliers, many of whom are organic and Rainforest Alliance Certified.”

Katrina makes it a goal of hers to constantly invent new experiences for herself and those who enjoy her delectable treats, which is why she expanded Vosges-Haut Chocolat and created Wild Ophelia. Ms. Markoff explains her new venture “as a more free-spirited counterpoint to Vosges Haut-Chocolat, at a more accessible price point. When I thought about the second brand, I really wanted to give back – so Wild Ophelia is our social entrepreneurial platform for giving back and supporting women.”

The Wild Ophelia Accelerator Program was created to encourage and educate young women who have entrepreneurship dreams in the food industry. This program provides three ambitious girls who have created a small business with the funds and a mentorship that will help these girls expand and nurture their businesses. Katrina wants to inspire others through her business and found it to be a natural extension of her work. “Any time I would speak and tell my story, a lot of women would come up to me and say, ‘You’re inspiring, you make me feel like I can do it too.’ There’s nothing better than seeing someone follow their heart and passion.”

Katrina Markoff is an exceptional example of a person who harnesses their creativity to bring joy and new experiences to others. When asked, “What’s the sweetest part about being a chocolatier?” Ms. Markoff answers, “I love being able to explore, the globe and ingredients, as well as being able to create on a daily basis.”

Contributor: Ally Massimi

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