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The Beginnings of CA Chocolate Company

Ryan Luttrell

I was born with a unique gift to make chocolates and desserts, and have been fortunate enough to use that talent in the form of a career that has spun some 20+years.  For years, my abilities opened up doors all over the world, including opportunities to show my skills on the Food Network, and managing major food events at 5 different Super Bowls.  

However, in 2012 all of that changed as I became a single father and was essentially thrust into a new career, a day-job if you will.  Now for a creative person, sitting in a cubicle for 8-hours a day is the absolute worst, but I continued this routine on for a couple of years, upgrading jobs and improving my skills everyday in an office setting.  But it was weird honestly.  

But as the days rolled on, that weirdness began turning into misery.  This was not caused by my pay rate, or doing any particular job, but rather by NOT being allowed to be creative...to let my mind explore and allow my hands to invent.  

Then one day, I got a package in the mail from my father.  He was never a rich man, but always sent my son and me "care packages" because he knew the struggle of a single-parent home.  Sometimes these boxes would have shampoo, or barbecue sauce from a local Tennessee establishment (where I grew up), but this particular box had something that I had left behind:  3 stainless steel bowls and a plastic spatula.  My dad attached a note, "Found these from that time you were working with Food Network.  Hope they can do you some good." 

These particular utensils had come from a gig that I worked in 2010.  That was the year that we moved from Memphis, Tennessee, all the way out to Berkeley, California.  While in Memphis, I had been working with the Food Network as a Food Stylist.  When filming, an actual season would only take a couple of weeks to produce.  Because of this, it just seemed to make sense for me to come back to Tennessee to work a couple of more seasons while we were transitioning out West.  

With each season, we would promote a new product, such as stainless steel bowls, and after the season was over, we were sometimes allowed to take a few of the extra products home.  After a couple of quick seasons, I had acquired quite a bit of stuff, and had stock-piled it at my father's house.  He had been sending me bits and pieces of it with each care package.  So when I received these 3 bowls and a spatula in his "care package," it's all I needed.  

I would immediately go to the local store and buy ingredients for a Raspberry-Orange ganache, and then go back for more ingredients for a Salted-Caramel, and then Coffee.  I was making truffles, and molded chocolates and everything you can imagine.  I was staying up all through the nights, painting tiny chocolates with brightly colored cocoa butters.  Before long, I was boxing up chocolates and sending them out.  

Within a few months in 2014, I had already sent to 22 different states.  My dream is that hopefully, and eventually, CA Chocolate Company will grow into a global company, shipping my artistic edible work all over the world.  It all started with 3 bowls and a spatula in 2014...Rest in Peace Dad.