We had the good fortune of connecting with Kathryn Rogers and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Kathryn, can you talk us a bit about why you love what you do?
I get to wake up every day and make delicious chocolate that makes people feel healthier and more connected. I’m literally living in the sweet spot… and make the world a better place. It’s a win-win-win. I often catch myself thinking: “I get to do this!” And whoever or whatever conspired to make this my life, I’m grateful every day. Even on the days where I work 16 hours straight – going from our chocolate truffle production kitchen to laying our product marketing plans and working through business growth strategies, it never feels like work. It brings me great joy to combine the things I love most — sustainability, wellness, mindfulness and decadent pleasure — in a product and brand that is reaching customers across the United States and creating a delicious shift.
What should our readers know about your business?
I founded my company Maya Moon Co. because I wanted to have my cake (well actually, chocolate truffles) and eat them too. I’m allergic to refined sugar and have struggled with chronic inflammation from eating sweets since my teenage years. I’ve always been obsessed with food, especially pastry, and travels in college sparked my interest in global food systems and sustainability. Today, I am fortunate to combine my passions with a product that solves an important customer need: chocolate truffles for a healthier world. We make honey-sweetened, dairy-free chocolate truffles made from all natural ingredients…truly good for you treats that taste AMAZING. Our customers tell us that our chocolate is the best they’ve ever had. It’s an added bonus that every ingredient we use supports whole health. We are also proud to partner with organic farmers in Peru and a local sustainable beekeepers collective. Since we launched our signature product — Chakra Chocolate Truffles — last April, thanks to the generous support of 130 Kickstarter backers, we’ve grown to ship our products nationwide and have hand rolled tens of thousands of chocolate truffles in our San Diego kitchen. If we could survive launching our first run of shipments in the heat of the summer, and overcome the challenges of melted boxes while trying to expand our reach, we can overcome anything. The biggest lesson I’ve learned is that our customers are everything. We wouldn’t be here without them. The more we listen to them (like hosting a summer flavor contest and taste testing experience this spring), the better our sales. Cacao is all about relationships. It’s my greatest pleasure to get to connect our local and global communities through this “food of the Gods.” Oh, and it’s pretty sweet to get the perk of eating as much healthy (and refined sugar free) chocolate as I want too!
Any places to eat or things to do that you can share with our readers? If they have a friend visiting town, what are some spots they could take them to?
I love food and connecting with local farms, so my itinerary would be all about San Diego and Baja grown and cooked. We’d start on Saturday morning at Tuna Harbor Dockside Market, buying the freshest wild caught ahi from local fishermen right off their boats. Then we’d pick up an incredible bottle of sparkling natural wine at The Rose Wine Bar in South Park, and head home to make poke bowls or handmade sushi. We’d for sure take a day trip up to Oceanside to see our friends at Cyclops Farm, where we’d have to grab a pint of the best organic strawberries around and a gorgeous bouquet of their farm grown flowers. And we’d swing by Wrench and Rodent Seabasstropub for an early dinner at one of the best and most creative sushi joints in town. Dinners out throughout the week would be at Garden Kitchen in La Mesa (the best farm-to-table restaurant in the city) and a trip down to Tijuana to visit Javier Placencia’s Mision 19. We’d of course order the tasting menu, and instead of wine pairings, we’d get two or three signature cocktails. Pro tip: we’d take the trolley to the San Ysidro border from downtown San Diego and walk across, then grab an Uber to the restaurant just 5 minutes away. Reservations recommended! Between all the eating and drinking, we’d catch a hike somewhere in Cleveland National Forest and a sunset walk from Scripps Pier north to Black’s Beach at low tide. And to round our an epic week of eating, drinking and adventuring, we’d head south across the border once more on Friday morning for breakfast in Valle de Guadalupe (Baja’s famous wine region) at La Cocina de Dona Esthela. Their nopales scramble, brick oven pastries and fresh squeezed OJ are to die for. Lomita organic winery just across the road would make for a lovely afternoon spot before we head to our ocean front condo rental (AirBnB for the win) near K38. Saturday morning we’d venture to Baja Produce for a cup of coffee, then back into the Valle for a stop at the Saturday morning organic farmer’s market at El Mogor. And while we are there, lunch at Michelin Star Chef Drew Deckman’s famous restaurant. Lastly, we’d round out the day at Finca la Carrodilla for a tour of their biodynamic winery before making the 2 hour journey back to San Diego. And then, if we aren’t passed out in a food coma, live jazz music and a mezcal cocktail in the sculpture garden at Panama 66. Whew! Let’s go!!!
Shoutout is all about shouting out others who you feel deserve additional recognition and exposure. Who would you like to shoutout?
I started working at age 14 (my first job!) in a bakery in my hometown in Carson City, NV. It was owned by this amazing Italian couple – Madeleine and Michael. But it was Madeleine who was firmly running the show. She was this badass Italian grandmother and unapologetically fierce businesswoman, who also was a kind and generous mentor. She taught me tenacity, compassion and how to care for my business and my team with kindness, love and a growth mindset. I’ll never forget how she was a champion for each of us to learn and to grow, and her incredible cookies and sandwiches. I strive to be a little more like her every day in business.
Chris Rov Costa, Colin Leibold