Christine Doerr, Sunnyvale, Neo Cocoa
Christine began in the chocolate industry at “Cocolat,” a small chocolate shop located near Stanford University, which inspired her to attend the California Culinary Academy in San Francisco. After working as a pastry chef for several years, she decided to explore a BFA in graphic design at San Jose State University, after which she ultimately circled back to her original chocolate making obsession.
Christine returned to chocolate with a new vision to start her own business, Neo Cocoa, and turned to La Cocina’s entrepreneur training program for professional guidance. Having learned basic business management skills at La Cocina, she turned to Centro for its advanced business development classes and the unique, hands-on mentoring she could receive from her own Centro MBA Advisor, Carly Perera. Christine and Carly worked together to find innovative strategies to help Neo Cocoa thrive and developed a strong bond and long-lasting friendship. Centro also helped Christine secure a business development loan from OBDC Small Business Finance to help launch and develop her new business.
After a great deal of hard work buttressed by the unique training, mentoring, and support that Centro provided, Neo Cocoa has clearly arrived. Neo Cocoa has revolutionized the American style of truffle by bringing back the European trend of shell-less truffles, with an uncompromising mission of using only high-quality, local ingredients. This dedication to her local community, and her exquisite chocolates, have made Neo Cocoa a Bay Area phenomenon that is poised to expand even further.
Christine’s sweet success has been praised in the San Francisco Chronicle, 7×7 Magazine, and Dessert Professional – which named Neo Cocoa one of the “Top Ten Chocolatiers in North America.” Neo Cocoa also recently won top awards at the 2012 SF International Chocolate Salon, such as “Best Truffle”, “Most Luxurious Chocolate Experience”, and “Most Likely Addiction”. With degrees in both design and culinary arts, it is no wonder that Christine describes herself as an artist with chocolate as her medium.