Stephen L. Durfee, C.E.P.C.
"Professor of Baking and Pastry at The Culinary Institute of America at Greystone, St. Helena, CA."

AB, Hamilton College, Clinton, NY. Certificate, Peter Kump's New York Cooking School, NYC.

Professional Background:
Pastry Chef, Charles Nob Hill, San Francisco, CA; Wheatleigh Hotel, Lenox, MA; Alison on Dominick Street, NYC. Pastry Chef, Sous Chef, Chef de Partie, The French Laundry, Yountville, CA. Pastry Instructor, Peter Kump's New York Cooking School, NYC.

Third Place, U.S. Finals, 2010 World Chocolate Masters Competition. Two Second Place Awards and Overall Fifth Place Award, U.S. Pastry Competition, 2009. Team Third Place, National Pastry Team Championship, 2007. One of the "10 Best Pastry Chefs," Pastry Art & Design and Chocolatier, 1999. Pastry Chef of the Year, James Beard Foundation, 1998.

Team USA, Coupe du Monde de la Pâtisserie, 2013.



Ms. Andal Balu

Ms. Andal Balu and her husband Dr. Balu M. Balasubramanian have started and propelled many companies to success includingInnoConcepts since 1992. Her interest in chocolate processing began in 2006, when she realized there was no quality, affordable and easy to operatesmall and medium scale chocolate processing machinery available. She convinced Dr. Balu to innovate equipment for chocolate industry. After couple of years of R&D, CocoaTown was founded. Before CocoaTown, only McGuyvers could start bean to bar business. Now, CocoaTown equipment has made ¡§bean to bar¡¨ business a level playing field for all the chocolatemakers regardless of their mechanical skills. In 2013, CocoaTown received "Innovation in Fine Chocolate Products" award by the Fine Chocolate Industry Association (FCIA). This award is determined by industry peers and recognizes real achievement and contributions. She and Balualso donate CocoaTown equipment to non-profit organizations in cocoa growing countries.

Due to her marketing skills CocoaTown equipment is currently being used in more than 50 countries. She also helps chocopreneurs to make the best chocolate. CocoaTown customers get tips from her to make the best chocolate. She is well versed with the equipment, maintenance of the equipment and the whole process of making chocolate from bean to bar. She also helps the cocoa farmers by tasting their beans and evaluating their beans for right fermentation and drying.

She has worked in agricultural research as Agricultural Research Services Scientist (ARS) for 7 years in India. She understands the crop and the processing of the beans before it is sold to the consumer and gets excited to share her knowledge with the farmers.

AndalBalu also has given seminars in these prestigious chocolate events:

  • Salon du Chocolat ¡V Seoul - 2014
  • Philadelphia Candy show- 2013
  • Pacific Northwest Chocolate festival in Seattle - 2013
  • Chicago Chocolate festival ¡V 2012
  • Fine Chocolate Industry Associtation-2013

Her seminars attendees have found out the information to be very educational and practical. She holds a Master degree in Botany. Ms. Balu is very active in her community organizations. She is currently serves as Board of Director for Greater Atlanta Tamil Sangam. AndalBalu volunteers for TamilNadu Foundation, Hindu Temple of Atlanta and North Fulton Community Charity. She and her husband are pioneers in screening Tamil Moviesin Atlanta. They have also organized dramas and music programs and have hosted popular Artists from India to raise funds for ¡§Eye camp project through Aravind Hospital¡¨ and TNF. She is also member of professional organizations such as FCIA, GIACC, etc.

She visits India often and keeps in touch with her roots. She likes to travel and her goal is to visit at least 100 countries in the next 10 years. She likes to read, spend time with friends, & learn new skills and languages. She speaks Tamil, Telugu and English fluently, can understand Malayalam and Kannada languages. She creates new recipes combining local ingredients available in USA and the Indian spices.

Ms. Balushares her tips to make perfect the South Indian specialties like Idli&dosas through and other blog posts. She also shares her secrets to reducing the cooking time while maintaining authentic cooking nuances, as South Indian food takes a lot of time to cook from scratch.