When David Ramirez started his business making chocolates and other confections, he kept his day job as master pastry chef at Rosen Shingle Creek, where he was on the opening staff. It was 2011 when he and his then wife, Nicole, opened Cocoa Latte Chocolate Shop & Coffee Bar, and he did it with the blessing of his boss Harris Rosen. “As an entrepreneur himself,” Ramirez said of Rosen, “he totally understood what I wanted to do.”
His business, which changed its name to David Ramirez Chocolates in early 2012, has grown with each year. In 2017, they took on more space in the industrial complex in south Orlando, essentially tripling in size. What started as a two-person operation now employs between 25 and 30 people, and the volume the kitchen puts out has increased. Ramirez decided his staff required more of his attention. “They need to have the chef around,” he said.
So after 13 years as the pastry chef at Shingle Creek, Ramirez recently left.
“I’ve been battling with that decision for quite some time,” he said Wednesday by phone as he was making a batch of macarons. “It wasn’t like I didn’t like what I was doing at the hotel,” he said. “I always enjoyed being a pastry chef there.”
A spokeswoman for Rosen said the company had no comment about Ramirez’s leaving.
Most consumers know Ramirez’s work by the exquisite chocolate candies he produces and sells in the showroom of the Orlando kitchen facility at 2154 Central Florida Parkway and at a booth in the Plant Street Market in Winter Garden.
But a big part of the business is wholesale, with special orders for large amounts of confections, whether for conventions or corporate clients.