Ep. 014 – Professor, Entrepreneur, Philanthropist with Dr. Tom Neuhaus, Owner of Mama Ganache Chocolates (and more)

Do you remember episode 2 and episode 11? Both Trevor Fast and Andrea Zeng took this dud’s chocolate class and were even promoted to work in chocolate production on campus. Today, we’re interviewing a man who has been enamored with food all his life. He was our professor at Cal Poly, he owned and owns bakeries and chocolate shops, and he spends his time donating chocolate-making equipment to Africa. This man is the one and only: Dr. Tom Neuhaus.

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About Dr. Tom Neuhaus

Rich. That’s one word that comes to mind when we listen to this episode. Retired professor, business owner and philanthropist, Dr. Tom Neuhaus is rich with stories, experiences, knowledge and, well, chocolate! After an adventurous life baking and cooking across the world and teaching at some of the most well known academic food universities, we have decided that Dr. Nehaus is the epitome of food and science.

After training as a chef and baker in Europe, mainly in France and Austria, Dr. Neuhaus found himself eager to open his own restaurant.  Leaving his first restaurant, Sweetish Hill Bakery and Restaurant in Austin, Texas, Dr. Neuhaus found his way to New York City and later Washington D.C. as an Executive Chef at restaurants like Quo Vadis and Fifty States.

Following a myriad of prestigious chef positions he entered the world of academia; writing columns for The Washington Post as well as teaching at Cornell’s School of Hotel Administration (where he earned his PhD). Most recently he taught at Cal Poly, San Luis Obispo teaching Sensory Science, Food and Culture, as well as his famous Chocolate Classes!

Mama Ganache

In 2004, Dr. Neuhaus opened Mama Ganache, a small chocolate business in San Luis Obispo. Mama Ganache makes high quality, ethically sourced and produced chocolates that are both Fair Trade and Organic Certified. Through his business, Dr. Neuhaus has begun making directly sourced chocolates that are not only quality treats but also bring awareness to fair trade and small cocoa farmers in West Africa. Project Hope and Fairness (PHF), founded by Dr. Neuhaus, helps cocoa farmers in Ghana and Ivory Coast (Cote d’Ivoire) with their cocoa production, manufacturing, sales and trade. PHF grounds itself in three platforms- directly supporting cocoa farmers, educating consumers about the cocoa market and encouraging larger chocolate producers to see the importance in adopting Fair Trade policies.

We fully believe Dr. Neuhaus hit the nail on the head with his philosophy on being creative, fully inspired and excited by food. We hope you enjoy this high-energy episode with a wonderful and passionate Food Scientist.  Hey Oprah! Are you listening?!?

Tom’s Ventures

To learn more about Project Hope and Fairness and all of Dr. Neuhaus’s amazing work in the Ivory Coast and Ghana please visit

Small businesses are making a big difference! To eat some of Mama Ganaches delicious treats, find them in San Luis Obispo on Monterey Street or have some delivered right to your door.

If you want to read snippets of Dr. Neuhaus’s (yet-to-be-published) autobiography, see what’s tempering in the Mama Ganache kitchen or to see some pictures of his recent adventures to Ghana head over to his blog at

Key takeaways

  • When you go into food, you are driven by it
  • Why you should invest in small businesses, even if they are in other countries
  • Why finding your muse will set you for life

What we talk about

Malcolm Gladwell
Howard Moskowitz
Cal Poly Chocolates
Mama Ganache artisan chocolate
Project hope and fairness
Shoes stuffed with cigarettes
German chocolate
Lindt chocolate
Favorite Food: Anchovies
First Venue: Bakery in Texas
Cornell University
Eco-hotels in Africa
Jacques Torres
Technical skill: Curiosity
Anthony Bourdain- kitchen confidential
Bedford Stuyvesant
Fair trade
Pine needle beverage
Favorite Kitchen Item: Melanger
Cement manufacturing
Calcium carbonate
Fine chocolate industry association
Bean to bar association
Single origin
Favorite Food: Eggs, Fresh tuna, Uni
Favorite Quote: Voltaire ” I personally don’t like religion but my valet does so he doesn’t steal my spoon”
Best Advice: Culture and language, Language and food
Depa is the first country in Africa to make their own chocolate
Paul Farmer


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