Christine Doerr is a certified chef, professional graphics designer, and owner of NeoCocoa, where she creates luxurious, award-winning truffles, chocolates and other delicious treats.
She co-owns Kitchen 519, a shared-use commercial kitchen in the San Francisco Bay Area where she and her co-host Tammy Tan work with an exclusive and hand-picked group of talented food entrepreneurs on the cutting edge of culinary excellence (and record this podcast!).
Christine founded NeoCocoa in 2008, with the help of La Cocina, a non-proﬁt incubation program that helps female food entrepreneurs start and grow their business. In the years since founding NeoCocoa, she has garnered some serious accolades. She was most awarded at the 2011 San Francisco International Chocolate Salon with multiple awards including Best Truﬄe and Most Luxurious Chocolate Experience. In 2011, she was honored with the distinction of being named a top 10 North American Chocolatier by Dessert Professional magazine. In 2016 the Toffee Nib Brittle won a Good Food Award and in 2017 the Black Sesame Seed Brittle won a gold sofi (Specialty Outstanding Food Innovation) from the Specialty Food Association.
Christine continues to expand her product offering beyond her initial “Hearts of Chocolate” line of ganache truﬄes, creating a variety of other chocolate confections including barks, toffees, and chocolate covered marshmallows. She also serves on the Chef’s Council at CCD Inovations Inc and the is on the Pastry Program Advisory Committee (PAC) at the International Culinary Center.
May 11th, 2019 | 41 mins 31 secs
You don’t need passion to start a business, but you do need it to keep one going for a quarter century. Life-long entrepreneur Jack Epstein of Chocolate Covered sells over a thousand artisan chocolates from his store in the Noe Valley neighborhood of San Francisco. Learn how Jack built his unique business, and hear valuable advice from a shopkeeper who’s been in business for 25 years. Plus, Jack shares dozens of chocolate and San Francisco restaurant recommendations! (Check the show notes for links.)
April 27th, 2019 | 48 mins 50 secs
Stuart went from whiskey novice to Certified Bourbon Steward, turning a bad first impression with whisky into a passion he now shares with others in his at-home whiskey tasting and cooking classes. We taste our way through a personalized flight of four ryes, while learning more about whiskey (and whisky!) with Stuart as our guide.
April 13th, 2019 | 47 mins 9 secs
The baobab tree looms large in the life of Nafy Flatley. Its fruit juice nourished her when she was young, and powers her Teranga Juice business today. We discuss the origins of Nafy’s business and learn a lot about the “tree of life”, including its health benefits. Can the juice of the baobab fruit help you be stronger, fall in love, or attain happiness? Listen and find out!
(Recorded October, 2018.)
March 23rd, 2019 | 1 hr 1 min
From an immunology Ph.D to ice cream entrepreneur, learn how a book, a funny name, and a memory of an ice cream taco all came together to form Lori’s delicious desert business. We discuss reasons to remaining artisanal, the argument against franchising, and the power of liquid nitrogen.
March 9th, 2019 | 29 mins 51 secs
Why does Guilianna of Alma Superfoods say “my kitchen is my lab”? And how did a dislike of peanut butter turn into a nut butter business? Guilianna grew up in the Peruvian Andes where she helped her mom run a popular catering business. From her mom, she learned how to mix the flavors and aromas of ancient ingredients and was inspired to created her food business. She leads us through the genesis of Alma Superfoods before taking us on a culinary adventure through Peruvian flavors and ingredients.
February 23rd, 2019 | 18 mins 56 secs
The Good Food Awards Mercantile is the place to taste the future of food, from small, sustainable producers. We discuss the Good Food Foundation that puts it on, and chat with two Good Food Guild members, direct from the show floor.
February 9th, 2019 | 30 mins 10 secs
Lulu runs a cake business, but is her ultimate goal to build a lifestyle brand? A self-taught baker and accidental entrepreneur, Lulu got her start making cakes for friends, who convinced her they were good enough to sell. We learn the value of persistence, the power of social media, and how a beautiful, delicious cake is like an attractive woman with a computer science degree.
January 26th, 2019 | 31 mins 46 secs
Mark has the best job: he tastes award-winning, artisan-crafted olive oils, chocolates and honey, and shares his finds with the world. He leads us through a chocolate tasting, and chats about why he started his business.
January 12th, 2019 | 37 mins 49 secs
We pick our favorite shows, movies and documentaries about food and cooking, from old school classics to new school faves. And a few things we definitely do not like.…
December 29th, 2018 | 29 mins 21 secs
Melanie has a pickle problem, and there’s only one way to solve it: More pickles! Can she pickle anything? We explore the difficulty of starting a food business when you have no experience, and getting hung up on the details that don’t matter (or do they?). There’s value in an enthusiastic partner when starting a business who helps with the heavy lifting (literally and figuratively). In our Wrap-id Fire round, we explore ‘kraut and pickle pairings, some good, some... less good.
December 15th, 2018 | 28 mins 15 secs
Amanda Garcia joins us to explore the value of attending school to get experience—and confidence—vs. getting into the industry early. Amanda—who fell in love with chocolate while attending pastry school—shares her thoughts on learning the fundamentals, and the difficulty of getting into a kitchen without kitchen experience, then reflects on missing out on "home economics" class as an "older" millennial. She looks forward five years and the impact of living in the Bay Area on her plans. We explore food and flavor pairings, where Amanda opines about pumpkin spice and other "trends". In the quick fire round, we force impossible choices, and end the episode recapping what we learned.
December 15th, 2018 | 25 mins 10 secs
We're Christine and Tammy: friends, food enthusiasts and entrepreneurs. Between us, we own three food businesses, and have lots to say about food, the food business, and the people who work in our industry. In this pilot episode, we share our backstory and the reasons we started Lettuce Wrap. Learn how Christine’s candy selling leads to deboning a duck which leads to an epiphany. A multitude of kitchen jobs leads to a career in graphic design, and it all ends in a sandwich of chef-ery. Meanwhile, Tammy turns up her nose at high tech to sniff out spices for a living, converts chicken into cuisine, and farmers markets become retail stores become online stores. Our inaugural "quick fire round" puts Tammy into a spice quandary, and Christine picks a favorite truffle and meal. And we learn which of us is the true food adventurer.