Chief Joy Activator, Chuao Chocolatier
UC San Diego Alumnus
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, so a love of chocolate was naturally in his blood, which eventually grew into an appreciation for food. Between his Venezuelan upbringing and his German mother’s home cooking, 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 pursue his MBA- and amateur cooking classes on the weekend.
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 began his mission to share joy with the world through deliciously engaging chocolate experiences. He and his brother Richard opened their first chocolate café in Encinitas, CA., in 2002 and named it Chuao as a nod to the legendary cacao-growing region, reflecting their heritage and commitment to Fair Trade Certified cacao and premium ingredients. Since then, Chuao Chocolatier has opened its Joy Factory and boutique in Southern California, as well as an international wholesale business.
Chef Michael has received national attention for his chocolate creations, with appearances on TV including Food Network, Cooking Channel, Dr. Phil and CNN en Español. He was named a 2016 Top 10 Chocolatier in North America by Dessert Professional Magazine.