Cassandra Chen began CC Made with a simple idea, a flavorful and quality caramel. As a caramel lover she was never satisfied with the flavor of mass manufactured caramels. Through trial and error she learned that to develop the flavor she was craving she only needed a few simple ingredients: sugar, water, an open flame, patience and perfect timing. This simple but time consuming recipe is why mass manufactured caramels lack the depth of flavor that Cassandra was craving.

Cassandra did not initially pursue a career in caramel making. As a UC Davis graduate with a degree in finance and international relations, Cassandra worked for Bank of America on the foreign exchange trading floor. So, how did she become the founder of a line of fine caramels?

 “As a currency trader, brokers took us to the most amazing restaurants. It opened up a whole new world for me,” Cassandra Chen recalls. “I realized that, even though my family’s expectation was that I would stay in my successful professional career, it just wasn’t for me.”

On a whim, wearing a skirt and heels, Cassandra walked into Vertigo Restaurant and asked for a job in the kitchen. She was hired on the spot and told to “stage” (kitchen lingo for “trail after the cook and work the line”). She was then given a pair of chef’s pants to wear that she had to Saran wrap to keep from falling off.

“I worked the pastry line that night, slipping and sliding as I raced around, working like crazy, and loving every minute. There was more energy in that kitchen than on the trading floor! I guess they liked my enthusiasm.”

She had found her calling. “I realized that I loved food people. The staff in fine restaurants loves food so much, they will answer any question you ask. You can learn at an amazing rate.”

With Cassandra’s experience in the pastry kitchens, her love for caramels, and support from her family, Cassandra and her husband were able to start their own line of caramel products named CC Made after Cassandra. With financial support from Manuel’s fledgling computer consulting business (Selerum, Inc.), a lot of love, time, and personal capital, they grew CC Made into a well-recognized product line.

CC made began with a simple sea salt caramel and a basic caramel corn that was made in a communal kitchen rented by the hour. As demand for CC Made caramel corn and sea salt caramels grew, 2 more flavors of candies and 3 more flavors of popcorn were introduced. Finally, Cassandra started making caramel sauces, which has been the fastest growing product line for CC Made. Today CC Made has 6 different flavors of caramel corn, 3 flavors of caramel candies, and 3 different caramel sauces. With the help of her staff, Cassandra has still been able to keep her simple and delicious recipe. 

“Just as important to me as my recipes are the people who make the products. We have a great group. The handmade touch is simply special.”

CC Made products are also available in restaurant quantities.