Michelle Smith, owner and managing director of Chocolate Dreams, has been conferred with one of the industry's prestigious "Cherelle" awards by the Caribbean Fine Cocoa Forum (CFCF).
The CFCF convened its third annual Caribbean Fine Cocoa Conference and Chocolate Expo in June 2012 in Tobago, where over 20 cocoa-focused organisations from throughout the Caribbean were honoured for their innovative contributions to the growth and development of the Caribbean cocoa industry. Smith was also granted special recognition as an industry pioneer in the Chocolatier category, an honour which accorded tremendous recognition to Jamaica's agricultural sector.
Chocolate Dreams is a 'locally grown' chocolate manufacturer and retailer of handmade, elegantly crafted chocolate and chocolate baked products that was founded by Smith in 2004. Since then, it has expanded into a leading business contender and Jamaica's first multi-award-winning purveyor of gourmet chocolate products made from the finest blend of locally grown cocoa. In 2008, Smith received the NCB Nation Builders Award/Region 1 Strength Award, the Lions Club of New Kingston Award and the HEART Trust/NTA Outstanding Female Entrepreneur Award. In 2010, she was selected as one of the National Continental Group Limited's Bold Ones in manufacturing, the brainchild of celebrated Chairman of National Bakery, "Butch" Hendrickson, who invested $25 million in entrepreneurs "Bold" enough to enter the competitive manufacturing sector. Her most recent accolades, along with the prestigious "Cherelle" award received in June, include winner of the JMA/JEA Expo 2012 Award for Best New Product with her Cheesecake Brownie and winner of the Jamaica Observer Food Awards for Baker of the Year 2012.
Smith told Thursday Food: "I am beyond elated; this is a significant achievement not only for me, but also for my country, which has been the stage for my success. My chocolates are manufactured right here on Jamaican soil and that is a source of national pride for all of us. In the year of our 50th, I consider this award to be my gift to my country — so congrats to all of us!"