Rick and Michael Mast stopped by ICE yesterday to speak to Culinary Management students about their successful chocolate business, Mast Brothers.

These two brothers got their start in Brooklyn back in 2007 by making chocolate in their kitchen and selling it to farmers markets nearby. They have always loved working together and knew they wanted to go into business so making chocolate from scratch and supplying it locally is what they sought out to do. After a few years of growth, they now have a factory in Williamsburg where you can tour the factory, visit their tasting room and purchase a bite of their locally made chocolates. They will be opening their first Manhattan location with an event space this summer at South Street Seaport.

Not only have these two mastered the art of chocolate, but they are truly focused on ensuring their ingredients are only the best. They care about the farms where their cocoa beans are grown and how their business impacts the Earth. They recently sailed to the Dominican Republic and picked up 20 metric tons of beans to transport to the factory. Using no fossil fuels, this trip took over 2 years to plan but with the notion that wind is free they are determined to do more of it while hopefully influencing others to adopt this sustainable way of moving goods.

Their chocolate is served in The White House as well as in legendary restaurants such as Per Se, French Laundry and Blue Hill. Rather than having a marketing department, they call it an education department as their goal is to remind consumers that chocolate is food and has rich history. This is one of the reasons they wrap the chocolate in old butcher paper – to remind people that it was locally made.

The students at ICE had a range of questions and these two gave them a ton of food for thought on obtaining quality ingredients, building a story with your business and how to grow a culture within your company. They also sampled the delicious chocolates and took home these 7 crowns of Mast Brothers.

  • Love, respect and serve the community
  • Innovate through simplicity
  • Make everything delicious
  • Waste nothing
  • Be honest and transparent
  • Master your craft
  • Connect customers to the source

For info on the next Meet the Culinary Entrepreneurs lectures, including David Burke and Mindy Segal, check out our culinary career development class listings.

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