Meet Benjamin Figarede - Cocoa Sourcer & Project Manager at Valrhona USA

Updated: Feb 1

Alongside the company who values excellence, innovation and sustainability this cocoa farmers’ ambassador creates bonds between smallholder cocoa farmers and the craft chocolate makers of the world.

Photo: courtesy Benjamin Figarede

Benjamin Figarede has sourced cocoa for fifteen years, eight of which have been spent looking for premium cocoa alongside the renowned French premium chocolate maker, Valrhona. He has scoured the world around the tropical belt looking for the finest cocoas to reveal their singularity to gastronomy professionals. This is a job that does not leave one indifferent because it is so passionate and intriguing.

Benjamin has built his strong connection with the origins of cocoa over the years to ultimately understand its importance. Without this privileged relationship with the producers, making exceptional chocolate would be impossible. Working at Valrhona means working with 18,000 producers to be finally able to put a first name on each of them. It is through these strong, friendly, and family-like relationships that makes the chocolate maker a unique player in the food industry.

Through his work, along with the other three cocoa sourcers of the company, Benjamin helps Valrhona become an innovative company that stands out for its expertise and its commitment, a company that bridges the gap between the planters and the customers.

In July 2020, Valrhona is joining the community of sustainable companies most committed to caring for the planet, people and their wellbeing, becoming the first chocolate maker to earn a B Corporation© certification. This certification is not only the concretization of all the responsible practices that the company has been implementing for 30 years, but also a means for Valrhona to clearly show its willingness to commit itself to a better tomorrow.

Discover the universe of one of the world’s most engaged and impactful companies for which sustainable gastronomy has been a philosophy and a daily commitment for a long time. Meet Benjamin Figarede, a sourcing expert with a broad and sound vision for the cocoa industry, who takes us to the heart of the plantations, always as close as possible to the soil, the pods, and the people who harvest them.

Welcome Benjamin to Chefs for Impact!

By Benjamin Figarede as told to Chefs for Impact

What made you decide to become a cocoa sourcer?