Samantha Aquim remembers the day that changed her life like it was just yesterday.
Working in her family's Rio de Janeiro catering business, Aquim Gastronomia, she was at the top of her game as a pastry chef after completing her training at the prestigious École Lenôtre cooking school. "We were winning awards for our chocolate, and I felt like a great success."
One day, a gentleman affiliated with the Brazilian cocoa growers' association showed up at Aquim Gastronomia in Rio, where Samantha's ganache and cakes were a hit with customers. "He asked me a question that changed my life," she says. "He said, 'Don't you think it is bizarre that you know everything about chocolate, but you have never seen a cocoa plantation in your life?' And he was right, I had studied everything I could about chocolate, but, at that moment I felt like a fraud."