William Dean Brown, founder and Chief Chocolate Officer (CCO) at William Dean Chocolates, began exploring his artistic talents at an early age. In elementary school, his artistic passion was so great that teachers had to remove all paper from his desk as he would constantly draw. At one point, he was caught sketching on hand towels from the restroom and sent to the principals office to be reprimanded. He stopped drawing at this point, and it would be years before he found a new medium.
Although trained as an educator, William became involved in the dot.com world. He co-founded a software company and later joined an emerging technology company. After the dot.com bubble burst, he reinvented himself by moving to Tampa Bay, Florida. He joined a large, mature company and worked his way into upper management. After watching an episode on "The Food Network," he made truffles for his employees as a staff support activity. He later saw the work of "artisan" chocolatiers and knew he had found the perfect medium to express his creativity.
As William learned to airbrush and paint chocolates, the artistic passion from his youth returned. Artisan chocolates offered a multi-dimensional palette: the opportunity to create a beautiful, outward appearance for the shell with amazing flavor combinations hidden within. He began his journey of learning by reading every book he could get his hands on about chocolate. He then began to take classes and spend time with other chocolatiers to learn even more. Within two years, he learned firsthand from some of the top chocolatiers in the world including Jean-Pierre Wybauw, Stephane Glacier, Andrew Shotts, Vincent Pilon, and Ewald Notter.