Ayissi Nyemba
Emkao Foods, Mission

Starting a business is always a tricky endeavour. Doing it as a recent immigrant only compounds that difficulty. Add to that the mission to manage your business according to the highest level of ethical and sustainable standards? Well, now we’re in truly rarefied territory. But when Ayissi Nyemba emigrated to Canada from Cameroon via France in 2015, she already had generations of family behind her who had farmed cacao in the equatorial African country.

Ayissi NyembaAyissi Nyemba. Photo by Kyoko Fierro.

So, after settling down here, she added chocolate maker and professional chocolatier certifications from École Chocolat in Vancouver to that lineage. With this combined experience, she set about launching Emkao Foods—B.C.’s first single source, traceable and sustainable chocolate purveyor. Emkao makes cocoa ingredients from organic beans imported from Nyemba’s family farm, then sells it directly to local companies like Dolce Amore to use in their products. The business model not only keeps pricing sustainable, it also allows Emkao to take a more active role in directly supporting female workers and business owners all along the supply chain. 

Food for Thought with Ayissi

What ingredient scares home cooks, but shouldn’t?
Ghost peppers.

Your perfect dessert?
Lava cake (or fondant au chocolat in French).

THE WHOLE STORY: Introducing Western Living's 2022 Foodies of the Year