Maria Fernanda Di Giacobbe

After winning the first Basque Basque Culinary World Prize, Maria was invited to be part of the Internacional Council of the Basque Culinary Center. In Venezuela, she has built a whole chain of education, entrepreneurship and economic development around cacao. With Kakao and Cacao de Origen, she supports local producers with the resources they need to improve their product – including production processes, fermentation and marketing – in order to export to master chocolatiers around world aligned with the Bean to Bar movement (some 60 producers in 18 communities are currently taking part). Maria also helps women to become chocolate entrepreneurs themselves, with a training program that focuses on gender equality, competitiveness and fairtrade practices. In collaboration with Simón Bolivar University, Maria has also founded a Cacao Industry Management program from which 1,500 have already graduated (94% women).