Joan Coukos, Chocolatier & CEO of CHOCOLAT MODERNE, is a Native New Yorker. She graduated magna cum laude from Duke University with a degree in French and Russian, and received an MBA from UNC Chapel Hill before entering the New York banking scene. Her extensive career included six years in Moscow during the rough and tumble days of Russia’s transition to a market economy, after which she returned to New York and Wall Street in 1999.
Image: The Epiphany on La Place du Grand Sablon, Brussels
Open to new inspiration and challenge, in December 2000, on a trip to Brussels, she fell under the spell of old world, hand made chocolates and began creating recipes back in her tiny Manhattan kitchen. Her co-workers became the first enthusiastic guinea pigs, and upon receiving repeated accolades, she began taking formal steps to becoming a chocolatier, studying chocolate and confectionery arts with a coterie of world-class French, Belgian, American and Swiss chocolatiers in NY and at The World Pastry Forum in Las Vegas.
Image: On Stage at The New York Chocolate Show, 2004
Practice makes perfect and in 2003 Joan launched Chocolat Moderne in a commercial loft in Manhattan's Chelsea neighborhood. A certain degree of notoriety was achieved from the beginning, and Joan and her chocolates have been featured in numerous print and TV venues, including:
Major TV Appearances: 2013 WE Network: Preston Bailey's Midnight Wedding -- we provided 1000 chocolates for his golden Chocolate Tree; 2012 The Cooking Channel: Kelsey's Essentials; 2008 The Oprah Winfrey Show: "Age of Miracles" Segment; 2006 Food Network: Sugar Rush; 2005 Food Network: Roker on the Road.
Major Print Highlights: May 2013: one of ten successful small business owners to be featured in the Specialty Food Association's (formerly the NASFT) first ever branding campaign; Specialty Food: Craft. Care. Joy.; March 2013 NY Daily News "New York candy makers and chocolatiers bring Easter sweets to the next level" for Greek Easter Egg Assortment; February 2012 Top of the "O" List in Oprah Magazine for Best Valentine's Day Gift; 2006 MORE Magazine: "Reinvent Your Life...From Banking to Bonbons; 2005 Food and Wine: " 'one of America's Most Exciting Chocolate Innovators' "; 2005 The New York Times: Florence Fabricant's Food Stuff, "A Seduction That Took Just One Little Nibble".
Image: With Chef Jose Andres at the 2012 sofi Awards ceremony with the GOLD Award for Lime Moderne Bar (Courtesy of Specialy Food Association)
This year Chocolat Moderne celebrates its Tenth Anniversary. Our line has grown to over 175 products, but everything is still hand-made in small batches in our chocolate laboratory on West 20th Street. We are still committed to using only the highest quality couvertures from Valrhona and over 100 natural ingredients sourced from all over the world.