FOUNDERS AND OWNER
Belgians Jean-Paul (“JP”) Hepp and his daughter Eveline Hepp founded Chocodiem in 2012 with the desire to bring genuine Belgian chocolates to the New Jersey area and to the U.S. “Belgian chocolate is considered to be the gourmet standard by which all other chocolate confections are measured… What makes Belgian chocolate unique is the quality of the ingredients and an almost fanatical adherence to Old Word manufacturing techniques… most Belgian chocolate is still made by hand in small shops…” (wiseGeek). The difference is in the small shops, dedicated to making chocolates by hand in small batches. While this results in a higher cost than mass produced chocolate, we think you will discover the value in indulging on these sinfully delicious confections.
Chocodiem chocolates are handmade in small batches in Clinton, NJ, using premium chocolate from different parts of the world. JP and Eveline traveled the world to find the best cacao beans to make the best quality chocolates for their customers following Belgian standards. Both have taken classes in Canada, Belgium, Switzerland, and Ecuador, as well as several online courses to become master chocolatiers.
Prior to becoming chocolatiers, JP and his daughter both obtained degrees in Belgium at the University Antwerp in Biology (Ecology). JP used his PhD degree for over 23 years in the pharmaceutical industry before venturing into the delectable field of chocolate. Their combined educations and experiences bring together a tasteful meeting of both art and science enhancing traditional recipes with new combinations of flavors.
“We are here to encourage and engage our customers to create and sell their personalized chocolate designs using our knowledge, infrastructure and experience when it comes to chocolate and cacao beans.” – Jean-Paul Hepp, Founder
JP hopes to one day be recognized as one of the best chocolatiers in the U.S. and we hope you will try his signature chocolates and share your ideas to help him achieve his goal.
Kathleen Hernandez’s passion is not just as artist and designer, but also as Pastry Chef and Chocolatier at Chocodiem in Clinton, NJ. A former childrens’ wear designer, Chef Kathleen always loved to bake for friends, family and clientele with a creative flair.
She attended the Institute of Culinary Education in NYC and is an advocate of the Share Our Strength organization to end child hunger in America. Kathleen has honed her skills and techniques working with top pastry chefs at The World Pastry Forum in Arizona’s National Pastry Championship, James Beard Foundation, Daniel Boulud’s DBGB, Bouchon Bakery, and many others.
With her background in pastry, it was only natural that chocolates become an extension of her talents and artistry shown in richly flavored, hand-painted truffles, pralines, and pastries. Kathleen lends her deep knowledge and talents to contribute to the growth of Chocodiem with a continuous array of new creations.