Cheng Yu-hsuan (鄭畬軒) has become the first Taiwanese chocolatier to be included on 50 Next’s list of 50 Gamechanging Producers, which honors “farmers, artisans, and makers powering the supply chain in innovative ways.”
He was ranked No. 34 for his goal of establishing a “sustainable model for the chocolate and pastry industry in Taiwan, sourcing his ingredients responsibly and improving worker conditions in terms of salary and working hours” at Yu Chocolatier (畬室巧克力), a company founded by Cheng at which he also serves as head chocolatier.
“As a creator of taste, I believe it is our duty to foresee the unimaginable, to explore the unknown,” Cheng said in his bio. “People can only decide if they like a taste or not once they have tasted it. It is up to us, the innovators, to imagine and realize the never-ending explorations of the human mind.”
In his acceptance speech during a ceremony held on June 24 at the Palacio Euskalduna in the Basque city of Bilbao in Spain, Cheng said he fully recognized how many people were supportive of his native culture and that he was grateful to be able to imbue his creations with the flavors of Taiwan.
Cheng was born in Tainan and moved with his family to Texas at the age of 1. After returning to Taiwan for university in 2007, he soon dropped out to pursue a career as a chocolatier.
“I still remember my first bite of decent chocolate; a fruity, Madagascan dark chocolate … That experience has been echoing throughout my entire career,” Cheng said in his bio on the Next 50 website.
After dedicating a few years to teaching himself how to make chocolate, he then moved to Paris to study at the Ferrandi school and also interned at Alléno Paris au Pavillon Ledoyen.
Cheng’s company has received international recognition and was the only Taiwanese chocolatier invited to the “Salon du Chocolat Paris,” one of the world’s most renowned chocolate expos.
His success also encouraged him to pen a book about his time in France, with plans underway to open a shop in Paris.
50 Next is an annual series of lists that has been compiled by the creators of The World’s 50 Best Restaurants and Spain’s renowned Basque Culinary Center since 2021.
The curators select 50 individuals to be featured in each of its seven categories including Tech Disruptors, Empowering Educators, Entrepreneurial Creatives, Science Innovators, Hospitality Pioneers, Trailblazing Activists, and Gamechanging Producers.