Baker Spotlight: Annie Rupani, Chocolatier and Owner of Cacao & Cardamom

Annie Rupani makes some of the most beautiful chocolates you have ever seen; each creation is like a work of art. After graduating from Boston University with a degree in Anthropology and Religion, she set her sights on becoming a lawyer. And like every person studying for the LSATs, she found ways to de-stress during breaks. But unlike everyone else, her stress-reliever was making chocolate.

That passion and love for the sweet confection helped her discover what she really wanted to do in life, and law school wasn't in the picture anymore.

"I was just obsessed with food; I was obsessed with cooking. Chocolate was just one of those things that I had a certain affinity to just because of the process," Rupani says. "Chocolate somehow captures people's hearts. There are so many things that surround chocolate that are just so intriguing and people have a strong memory to it, and I was one of those people. I was really intrigued by the process. I wanted to be a chocolate maker."

After researching how to make chocolate and everything that was required, Rupani realized that she would need hundreds of thousands of dollars worth of machinery to create chocolate, so she chose to buy Hawaiian chocolate to make chocolate creations, such as bon-bons and truffles.

"I would just give them away to my friends and family and that was it. I went to Pakistan thinking about chocolate and I guess the decision to not go to law school anymore is what brought me back to chocolate," Rupani says. "I ended up finding a pastry school in Malaysia and I went there for ten days and just took some chocolatiering courses; I moved back home, still trying to figure out what I was going to do in life. I ended up getting an internship at a private club, Houston Racquet Club, just making chocolates for them and then I'd go home and make more chocolates; I was still like what am I going to really do in life?"

During the summer of 2012, she competed in the Curry Crawl charity event at CityCentre; where her chocolate creations sparked interest in those attending. At this time, her business was strictly online; she was making chocolates in her parents' home, specifically in the laundry room, and would use various kitchens around town, such as Green Plate Kitchen and Kitchen Incubator. It's safe to say, Rupani's chocolates and work space took over her mom's laundry room.

"A big Indian thing is to match everything; so we have all of these Indian outfits and my mom has every color shoe you could imagine," she says. "The laundry room was devoted to shoes, I mean like 300 pairs of shoes -- I mean like cheap! You get them from Pakistan and they are $10-$15 a pair and every time you go, you add to the collection. She was so bitter because she had to move everything out into the garage. They turned the laundry room into a chocolate room for me because chocolate does best below 70 degrees and so I just would sit in that room for hours and hours."

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Molly Dunn
Contact: Molly Dunn