Clay Gordon, the founder of TheChocolateLife, has over 20 years experience in cocoa and chocolate working from the farm to the factory and in consumer education.
He has been professionally involved in the chocolate industry since 1998 and has been consulting, writing, lecturing, and teaching classes internationally on the subjects of chocolate and cocoa professionally since May, 2001 when he started his first chocolate blog, chocophile.com.
Clay’s network is comprised of cocoa and chocolate professionals around the globe who possess diverse backgrounds and skill sets, and can be engaged as individuals or in teams assembled to meet your specific needs, from educational programs for cocoa farmers to ingredient and equipment sourcing, kitchen design, recipe development, training, marketing, tasting/pairing events of any size, and more.
His first book on chocolate, Discover Chocolate, was published by Gotham Books (Penguin USA). A finalist in the technical/reference category in the 2008 IACP Cookbook of the Year Awards, Discover Chocolate is the first book to talk about chocolate from the same perspective as a book about wine appreciation and connoisseurship.
Consulting Practice Areas of Expertise
Since 2003, Clay has made his extensive knowledge, experience, and network available on a consulting basis and has worked closely with a number of chocolatiers and chocolate companies, including many startups. The projects Clay has undertaken on behalf of his clients have been varied but have included:
- Business plan development
- Product development
- Ingredient sourcing
- Facilities design and equipment sourcing
- Market positioning
- Packaging design and brand development
- Copywriting, publicity, and promotion
- Conference program development
- Sales channel development
- Sales training
- Developing incentive travel programming
- Developing and delivering educational programming
- Design and development of chocolate processing equipment
Select List of Consulting Clients
- Askinosie Chocolate (USA)
- Chocolates Wolter (Mexico)
- Ciao Imports (USA)
- CHOCOA Conference (The Netherlands)
- Delani Trading Company (Peru)
- FBM S.r.l. (Italy)
- Frontier Ventures (Bolivia)
- Government Ministries (SEDAFOP, SDET) of Tabasco (Mexico)
- Ingemann Fine Cocoa (Nicaragua)
- Mahogany Chocolate (Belize)
- Origin Chocolate event (The Netherlands)
- REACH Grenada (USA/Grenada)
- The Big Events Group / The Big Chocolate Show (USA)
- Carymax :: World and National Pastry Team Championships / World Pastry Forum (2002-2010)
- Reed Exhibition Group :: MILIA International Multimedia Market, program development (Cannes, FR; 1994-1996)
Select list of lectures, presentations, tastings, and other events
- Roots of Cocoa :: Invited speaker (Institute of Culinary Education; February 2018)
- CHOCOA :: Moderator The Chocolate Maker's Forum, tastings and pairings (Amsterdam; 2014, 2015, 2016, 2017, 2018)
- Origin Chocolate event :: Invited international guest, presenter (Amsterdam; 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015, 2016, 2017)
- The Big Chocolate Show / Legends of Chocolate :: Co-organizer (2016, 2017)
- Chocolat Bahia :: Invited international guest, presenter (Ilhéus, Bahia, 2017)
- Salon del Cacao y Chocolate :: Invited international guest, presenter (Lima, PE; 2013, 2014, 2015, 2017)
- 2Beans NYC :: Chocolate and wine educational events (various dates, 2014, 2015, 2016, 2017)
- Festival del Chocolate :: Co-creator/organizer/head judge Mini-Foro (Villahermosa, Tabasco, MX; 2016)
- Academia de Cacao :: Co-creator, co-host (Ingemann Cacao Fino, Nicaragua; 2015, 2016)
- NYU Experimental Cuisine Collective :: Invited speaker "How Chocolate Gets Its Taste (NYC; 2013)
- 2nd International Conference on Fine Flavor Cocoa in the Andean Region/Segundo Congreso Internacional de Cacaos Finos y de Aroma en la Region Andina :: Invited international guest, presenter (La Paz, Bolivia; Nov 2010)
- Discover Chocolate in Paris :: four-day group tour (Oct, 2010)
- Chocolate Unwrapped :: (London; 2009, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015)
- Google :: Author Talk in support of the release of Discover Chocolate (2008).
- Discover Chocolate in Belize :: Eco-tours (2007, 2008, 2010)
- NYU School of Continuing and Professional Studies / James Beard Foundation :: Advanced Wine and Chocolate Pairings (NYC; Mar 2006, Nov 2006, Mar 2007, Oct 2007)
- Les Dames d'Escoffier, New York Chapter :: Wine/Chocolate pairing at the Harriet Lembeck School of Wine (NYC; Feb 2007)
- 92nd St Y :: The World Chocolate Tasting (NYC; 2005, 2006) — The Chocolate Collection: An Evening of Tasting (NYC; Dec 2006, Jun 2007, 2014, 2015, 2016)
- The Chocolate Show (NYC; Nov 2004 - 2007)
- NY Metro Discover Chocolate Meetup :: Monthly chocolate meetup (NYC; Apr 2006 - May 2008; grew the group to 1000+ members)
Check out Clay’s media cv here.
DM Clay Gordon – @DiscoverChoc – for information on how to engage with TheChocolateLife.