Fri, May 24, 2019, 8:15 AM
Hi! My name is Amara Barroeta and I’m the owner of Amara Chocolate & Coffee in Old Town Pasadena. I’m not a restaurant business guru or a famous chef, so when I was invited to be a speaker at Friday Coffee Meet Up I was very honored and excited, and without hesitation I said: ‘yes I’d love to!’ And when I started developing today’s talk I got really scared and said: what can I offer these people, some of them entrepreneurs, maybe they have been in business longer than myself, or belong to different industries? And after digging for a while and inserting the crying emoji in my keyboard several times, the answer was plain and clear: the best I can share with them is my personal story, a story of Chocolate: with lots of bitter and sweet moments, but full of satisfactions. The story of transforming my life from what it was 10 years ago back in Venezuela where I worked in media and entertainment as a journalist while finishing my degree as a chemical engineer, to owning Amara Chocolate in Pasadena’s very competitive dining environment.
Amara’s have become a destination for locals, visitors and foodies alike; we have been featured in top publications and TV shows, and have been awarded as Best dessert, Best South American Food and Best Independent Coffee House for the last 7 years by Pasadena Weekly to name a few. Thus, looking back at my journey and seeing all the challenges that I have overcome being an immigrant and starting my own business has allowed me to stay passionate for what I do, developing a clear path to continue growing, and finding spaces to give back to my community.
So, is there a secret sauce for that? Let’s find out!
Amara Barroeta is the owner of Amara Chocolate & Coffee Cafe in Pasadena, California. Originally from Venezuela, Amara emigrated to the United States to get her MBA at UCLA in 2010. Prior to leaving Venezuela, she was crowned first runner-up in the Miss Venezuela pageant in 2002. And not long after that, she graduated from university with a degree in Chemical Engineering and a specialization in food processing. Somewhat surprisingly though, it was her experience as a beauty queen that opened up a world of opportunities, including a chance to travel the world (and most often, to Hollywood) as a television newscaster.
Amara traveled to stay in the US when she began her studies at UCLA. She didn’t know then that Los Angeles would become her new home. But increasing political unrest and corruption in her home country, as well as a deep appreciation and love for America led Amara to decide to stay permanently in the United States, where she opened and successfully runs Amara Chocolate & Coffee Cafe.
Utilizing her background in chemical engineering, her MBA, and her the bright, friendly personality that served her well in her beauty queen days, Amara spends her days happily serving coffee, food, and chocolate to her steadfast customers and getting involved with local organizations helping the Venezuelan community in SoCal and abroad. In 2017 she spoke about her experience as an immigrant on the TEDxPasadena stage. In 2018 she was invited as the host/moderator of The Refugee Forum of Los Angeles.
Speaker email: firstname.lastname@example.org