Academy Alliances: República del Cacao and the USFQ get together for the Gastronomy career development

With the objective of developing our alliances with Academy, República del Cacao was part of the Culinary Innovation class from the virtual summer module 2020 of the Universidad San Francisco de Quito (USFQ) Gastronomy career. Fifteen future chefs accompanied us during 3 months through a process where they got to know our enterprise, projects and purpose. The final objective was to develop proposals of innovative and sustainable products, using chocolate and/or cacao as their base.

Sebastián Navas, Gastronomic Coordinator of the university and professor of the class tells us his experience: “Being able to have the support of a company like República del Cacao for the Culinary Innovation class was very benefitial for the students, since they could experience the reality of the industry they will work in first-hand. The exchange that is created between Academy and Industry is mutually beneficial since, on one side our students can learn from known professionals and their life experiences, and on the other side, they create new products and innovative proposals that will eventually be tested on the enterprise.”

The students were divided into 4 different groups through which they started to develop their ideas, prototypes and concepts. At the beginning of each stage, different collaborators and clients from República del Cacao accompanied them, giving them a complete vision of our great value chain. Among these exponents we had: Arnaud Monmarché previous General Manager B2B, Gabriela López-Barry Sales Manager for the US, Katherine Lagusta, chocolatier one of our dear clients in the US, owner of “La Chokolatá”, María Belén Vallejo Marketing Manager B2B, and Esteban Bustamante General Manager B2C.

“The development of the course and its methodology was different from any other class, since it was not only based on theory, but also in developing something unique and different. It was very interesting to be able to work in teams and discuss our ideas with the objective of creating a quality product for República del Cacao. An important factor for us was to understand everything that is necessary to develop a product and learn how to behave on the market from different members of República del Cacao. There were a lot of things that we learnt thanks to working with such a big and known brand, it was interesting being able to interact with people from different sectors of the company and to understand how all that team work, along with the development of quality products can cause a positive impact on the world.” – Mayte Tapia, Juan Diego Mora and Juan Francisco Vásconez, Gastronomy students USFQ.

What is more, through our interventions, the students were able to learn more about how to create a business with impact, that takes into account every single actor from the value chain, develops a local industry and establishes sustainability as its essence. We were born with the purpose of creating fine cacao chocolate on its origin, Latin America, hand in hand with local communities that are able to find true economic and social development through different traceable, sustainable and knowledge exchange processes. And it was this same essence the one we transmitted to the students from the Culinary Innovation class.

… It is crucial to give traceability the importance it deserves in the development of a product. The fact that you are based on that, always respecting the environment and at the same time, looking for people that have little entrepreneurships to work with you, says a lot about you. The farmers have a good quality of life thanks to the alliances you maintain with them. This motivates others to relate to people that put the same interest and respect in nature as you do. Another thing that was incredible for me is that you motivate us to be proud of our country and to use all the thing we have available in order to create something amazing (…). Once more, thanks again for giving us the opportunity to develop products for your enterprise and at the same time, for giving us constructive feedback in order to keep going forward.” – Valeria Rojas, Gastronomy strudent USFQ

Being able to have the opportunity to share about our enterprise with so committed and passionate future chefs was very enriching. We are sure the Latin American Gastronomy Industry will be developed even more thanks to them, their innovative ideas, and now, their knowledge for creating sustainable businesses. We are a local brand with global impact!