Official Page of Caitlin Clark
What I Do
At its best, chocolate is one of the world’s great luxuries. Its complexity, terroir, and flavor possibilities rival wine (or any other delicacy). Sadly, chocolate is not often found at its best, and much of the world still thinks of chocolate as a grocery-store commodity that can be had for a few cents.
Fortunately, interest in high-quality, fine-flavor chocolate is growing. I want to work to make the best chocolate possible, not only for consumers but for the sake of the farmers and producers who deserve to be fairly compensated for the risks they take by focusing on flavor in a world more obsessed with output.
Although my lab work and research includes other areas of food science (I also work with cannabinoids and food fermentation), it is chocolate that interests me the most. But I don’t (only) study it so that I have an excuse to eat it every day! I think an emphasis on flavor pathways is the solution to some of the ills that plague the industry. I can’t solve all those problems on my own, but I do believe that if consumers prioritized flavor, some of those problems would solve themselves.
After working as a linguist in Spain for several years, I returned to my home state of Colorado to pursue graduate work in food science and fermentation. I quickly became enamored with the intricacies of cacao fermentation and processing. Having sought out opportunities to advance my knowledge of flavor chemistry and fermentation microbiology, I plan to combine these interests in my research.
My Masters research has investigated how to manipulate chocolate flavor during the melanging step. My PhD work has included a research project involving protein breakdown during the fermentation stage of cacao fermentation and it will conclude with a project studying the effect of cannabinoid compounds on gut membrane permeability.
In addition to research, I cook Moroccan food, bellydance, and take far too many pictures of my pet rabbit Benny.
Click to see my full CV