Scott Witherow didn’t immediately dive into the sweet deep-end of chocolate production, but began more broadly in food. Working in the industry since he was 14, Witherow nurtured a prosaic love of food culture. After getting his bachelors of science from Middle Tennessee State University, Witherow earned Le Grand Diplome from Le Cordon Bleu London.
Where the road would lead, Witherow wasn’t entirely sure. But he thought about it while working at various restaurants in London (The Fat Duck), Nashville, and Chicago (Alinea). Witherow realized how much chocolate he was ordering as a pastry chef, and eventually decided he should be on the other end of that equation. In late 2007, he began oven-roasting and hand-cranking cacao beans and separating the nibs from the shells with the help of a hair dryer and a chinois.
Just two years later, Olive and Sinclair was born, a bean-to-bar operation that produces Southern artisan chocolate and collaborates with other Tennessee businesses (the two current most popular bars are Bourbon Nib Brittle and Smoked Nib Brittle, made with Pritchard’s and Allan Benton, respectively). With a product this good, Olive and Sinclair is now distributed in 200 Whole Foods stores and 48 states, as well as in Singapore and Selfridges in London. In 2014, Witherow earned a StarChefs.com Rising Star Artisan Award.