Tracey Downey is the creator of extraordinary award winning chocolates to fit your lifestyle… vegan, low glycemic, non-dairy, gluten free, functional, and artisan chocolates.
Tracey Downey has always been passionate about food. As a teenager, she apprenticed under a French-trained chef in Las Vegas. Her goal growing up was to go to Paris and become a great chef. However, at a young age, she married and had children which took her life in different direction. Tracey worked full-time throughout her marriage to help make ends meet and eleven years later, was divorced. She spent the next nine years struggling as a single parent raising two children. In 2001, Tracey lost both her grandmother, Rita and her father, Morton Downey Jr.. Mortality set in and, although Tracey loved her job, she knew something was missing. Yet, despite this, she continued her trek through the corporate world.
In 2003, Tracey Downey met husband-to-be, Ken Racen. Ken and his family had fond memories of their Grandma Virginia’s soft caramel. Unfortunately, Virginia never wrote down any of her recipes. In an effort to woo Ken, Tracey, a self-professed Chocoholic, set out to recreate the caramel. She felt Grandma Virginia and her Grandmother Rita, watching over her as she successfully recreated the caramel on the third try. Tracey and Ken married 8 months later. Tracey continued developing recipes based on the caramel and then expanded into chocolate.
Tracey continued developing recipes based on the caramel and then expanded into chocolate. Tracey studied with famed food scientist, Terry Richardson of Richardson Researches, Inc. . After taking her first class Tracey knew that she had found her calling. Tracey’s passion led her to study with some of the world’s top chocolatiers and pastry chefs, including; Master Chef Jean-Pierre Wybauw, Sebastian Canonne, M.O.F, Franck Kestener, M.O.F, Chef John Kraus, World Chocolate Champion, Chef Thomas Haas and Chef Julian Rose, Maitre Chocolate.
Tracey Downey and her husband traveled to Punta Gorda Belize, to explore and harvest Cacao in its’ natural jungle habitat, where she met Eladio Pop. Tracey and Ken journeyed through Eladio’s Cacao Plantation. There she learned how cacao is grown, harvested, fermented and dried and roasted to make chocolate in the Mayan tradition.
In December of 2005, Downey’s Chocolates was born. The simple business plan brought great success: superior ingredients were introduced into unique recipes which created wonderfully distinctive chocolates. These little tokens of luxury were then sold retail through the Cafe and wholesale to high-end business clients for distribution.
In less than eight months the business plan changed, the model expanded to create a place that would bring together Tracey’s favorite things, fine handcrafted chocolates, authentic Italian gelato, French crêpes, the freshest coffees, local art, and a place where Tracey could teach and mentor others. In just ten short months Downey’s Chocolates evolved into—Downey’s Chocolate’s, Artisan Chocolate Studio and Café. Tracey generously shares her experience and loves getting to know everyone who comes through the doors.
Though very successful with mainstream confections, Tracey noticed a trend. Parents kept coming in to the Artisan Chocolate Studio and Cafe with children who had severe food allergies. Tracey too has dietary restrictions and wanting to put a smile on everybody’s face. Tracey started consulting with food scientists and dieticians in an effort to create Lifestyle and Functional chocolates, chocolates that tasted as you remembered, but with diet friendly natural ingredients, and nutraceutically enhanced as a healthy alternative treat. Chocolates in her Symphony Collection are low-Glycemic and gluten free, caramels without dairy or animal products make up her Vegan Collection. Tracey loves a challenge and is passionate about creating new products to satisfy everyone’s chocolate cravings!
Unfortunately, due to the historic recession Downey’s Chocolates closed it’s doors at the end of 2008. However, Tracey’s passion for chocolate lives on through her creations and teaching others her love of chocolate.