I have an unusual background for a chocolate maker/chocolatier: most of my working life has been spent as a specialist in Intensive Care Medicine at the Prince of Wales Hospital in Hong Kong. I knew long before I retired that a life of pure leisure after retirement wouldn’t suit me and, originally, I planned to go to culinary school and then work as a chef after I retired from medicine. However, about 6 years before retirement I (stupidly) promised my daughter that I would cook a 21 course meal for 21 of her friends for her 21st birthday. I cooked non-stop from 1.30 pm to 1.30 am and was so exhausted at the end that it brought home what I should have known before: being a chef is not for old men.
Chocolate making, on the other hand, is rather more manageable and less anti-social but still gives me the opportunity to play with flavours. And working in a luxury business where quality and service are paramount is a natural progression from a career where giving patients the best care is the highest priority.
As you may have read in Our Story, we started making chocolate because we wanted to avoid supporting child slavery, after all child slavery is not something that you can rationalise as being “kind of okay”! Making our own chocolate may seem an extreme reaction, but it’s more understandable when you realize that we have an unusual approach to food in our home: we try to make everything from scratch. For example, we make our own jam, ice cream, bread, biscuits, cakes, yogurt, ricotta, charcuterie, vinegar, gin and smoked salmon.
We put the same level of care into our chocolates, not only making the chocolate ourselves but also all of the fillings and even some of the ingredients for the fillings.