I started Making chocolates when i was 8 years old, I would put them into decorated egg boxes as gifts for my family and ever since then I have had the bug. I studied at the Cassio College in Hertfordshire and was the recipient of the Renshaw Challenge cup in 1987..... that basically set the tone for the rest of my carreer. I ran away to the Netherlands in 1993 and became pastry chef, head chef and chocolatier at the extremely popular Ma Brown's in Haarlem, there made the British tradition of Afternoon Tea an Institution baking and creating to sell out "audiences". Walking through the cobbled streets of Amsterdam , one afternoon, i happened upon a curiously shaped shop filled witha table groaning under the weight of all the opulent chocolate treats on display.... it looked like a surreal jewelry boutique! My reaction to the gentleman behind the table was "wow! I want to work here!" he hurried to the door and locked it " we have him!" he cried to the owner who was secluded in the atelier behind the shop.
My career at Puccini Bomboni spanned 7 years and I lived the life of 'chocolate couture' to the hilt.... we crossed boundaries that have now become commonplace, nevertheless the intricacy of our bonbons and the complexity of our flavours is in my opinion unsurpassed. Tamarind, Sereh, Rhubarb,Star Anise..... crates of fresh seville oranges boiling to puree for the Cointreau Ganache..... it was a love affair .
In 2006 a bid a fond farewell to the Netherlands and set sail for the south, after a season on the Canary Islands I hopped to the Mediterranean isle of Mallorca where i tasted and tested and cooked and 'chocolated' at home , at private Villas and businesses. When I traversed the Atlantic in the autumn of 2007 my life changed forever..... on the tiny Dutch/ French island of Sint Maarten/Martin I found my Valhalla.... at the former home of the legendary Diana Ross i hosted , managed and held culinary theatre to enthusiastic vacationers and residents. Jaunting between Villa Mille Fleurs and the boutique Rainforested Island of Saba i currently Create chocolates for the Queen's Gardens Resort and hold workshops in chocolate making and pastry.
My most recent memorable acheivement was designing and creating a Praline for Her Royal Majesty Queen Beatrix of the Netherlands during her state visit to the islands, other acheivements include A custom made Bonbon for the closing concert of the Montreal Baroque Festival , the theme in 2009 was Death By Chocolate, a celebration of the works of Henry Purcell; my creation was a combination of Champagne Ganache with a Caramel Pate Sable flavored with bitter almond ( said to contain arsenicum) . I have also recently harvested wild cacao from the slopes of Mt. Scenery, Saba and produced an audacious Grand Cru chocolate which I will be submitting this May as my award entry In the European Leg of the International Chocolate Awards.
I am embarking on an exciting venture in the USA this summer and will be producing for an Expanding Young business Called The Caretakers, North Georgia's Premium Home Services exclusive signature bonbons for a high end villa agency and also holding organised events including workshops, tastings and even pairings at some regional vineyards. The spring of 2013 will herald the debut of Blue Pearl Chocolate, my own enterprise, producing free form Hand dipped Ganaches and organic fair trade chocolate and raw chocolate products. All I can say is "WATCH THIS SPACE" .