Michael Recchiuti, a self-made chocolatier, has been experimenting in the kitchen all his life. A Philadelphia native, Michael got his start baking alongside his grandmother as a boy, then creating plated desserts as a young man at the renowned restaurant, Le Bec Fin, and even training with Alain Tricou (Maxi’s, Déjà Vu) for three years in sugar and chocolate.
Drawn to San Francisco in 1987 by an exciting culinary, music, and arts scene, Michael found new inspiration in the year-round availability of fresh, local ingredients and international influences. Especially fascinated by the way traditionally savory flavors took on new dimensions and dept when combined with chocolate, his now famouschocolate flavors Tarragon Grapefruit, Lemon Verbena, and Star Anise & Pink Peppercorn were among his first “experiments.” An ongoing fascination along with a nostalgic nod to the tastes of his youth continue to inspire his more recent creations, like Peppermint Thins, Peanut Butter Pucks, and Vanilla Bean Marshmallows.
In 1997, after years in the test kitchen, Michael founded Recchiuti Confections with his wife Jacky, based upon the philosophy that “once someone is introduced to truly exquisite chocolate, they will be won over instantly and forever.” Known for using traditional European techniques and equipment; and for hand-selecting every ingredient, Michael sources local California farmers’ markets for bundles of fresh herbs and fruits to create signature infusions and blends single origin chocolates together to create complex and unique tasting experiences.
Taste and technique only tell part of Michael’s story. A life filled with art, music, and lots of friends has influenced the look of his chocolates, which act as a show-and-tell of his favorite things. Over the years collections have showcased artwork from Creativity Explored, a San Francisco non-profit close to the Recchiuti’s heart, while others have been adorned with Japanese block prints, tiny love letters to his Hawaiian wife, Jacky.
In 2005 Michael’s book Chocolate Obsession (Stewart, Tabori & Chang), co-authored with renowned pastry expert Fran Gage, was released to wide acclaim. The book was a finalist at the 2006 James Beard Awards and won high honors for photography and design at the 2006 International Association of Culinary Professionals annual conference.
Currently, Michael keeps busy with Recchiuti’s two locations, the Ferry Building Marketplace and Recchiuti at theLab, always finding new ways to make the chocolate consuming public happy, and obsessed.
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