Session: The Chocolate of Madagascar


This session will focus on chocolate production in Madagascar. Pastry chef instructor Tim Brown will share his first-hand experiences at the cocoa plantation, coconut grove and vanilla plantation. He will discuss how people make a living there through agri-tourism. The session will include a small chocolate tasting.

Tim Brown

Pastry Chef Instructor

South African native, Tim Brown, developed his curiosity for the culinary profession while serving in the military. His hard work and wholehearted attitude awarded him the opportunity to prepare the finest South African cuisine for President Nelson Mandela and other heads of state.

Upon completion of his two years in the army, Tim was accepted by the Hospitality & Industrial Training Board (HITB) to further his education in the culinary arts. Three years later he graduated as one of the top in his class and was personally praised for his dedication by Bill Gallagher, President and Founder of the South African Chefs Association.

Although Tim’s apprenticeship at Zevenwacht Winery was educational and challenging, he grew more appreciation for fine dining when he was offered a position as Junior Chef De Partie at Restaurant Au Jardin in Cape Town, rated Top 10 best in South Africa. Working under French trained Chef Christophe de Hosse, Tim’s infatuation for quality cuisine became more apparent. He also became more curious about what the culinary arts had to offer in other parts of the world.

In 1999 Tim left South Africa and went to England with the objective to gain international experience. During this time he was able to work as a chef on P&O Ferries, as well as gain exposure to traditional British delicacies. 18 Months later Tim embarked on another career journey. Junior Sous Chef for the opening of The Emerson Inn & Spa,

a Small Luxury Hotel in the United States of America.

Tim’s initial exposure to the pastry department was purely accidental. However, the more time he spent in pastry, the bigger his newfound passion grew for the complex and fascinating world of desserts and pastries. As Assistant Pastry Chef, Tim was able to attend courses at the CIA in New York.

February 2002, Tim was given the opportunity to learn and work under publicly acclaimed Pastry Chef, Shirl Gard at Wheatleigh Hotel. Here he was further exposed to European style pastries, quality house made truffles and signature desserts. One year later Tim was promoted to Pastry Chef.

Tim continued to develop his own repertoire through creativity and further educational programs including attending the Valrhona school of Chocolate in France.

After a period at the Fairmont Turnberry Isle Resort and Club, under Chef Hubert des Marias of Four Seasons fame, Tim returned to Boston to manage Aroa Fine Chocolate in the South End.

Tim now finds himself in a position that enables him to shape the Pastry Chefs of tomorrow at Johnson and Wales University in Providence, Rhode Island as one of the faculty members at the School of Culinary Arts.

Image courtesy of Grant Cochrane /

Published March 19th, 2013