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Paul Young | Groundbreaking and Inspirational Chocolatier
1. MOST PEOPLE HAVE AN EARLY EXPERIENCE THAT GETS THEM STARTED, WHAT WAS THE FIRST EXPERIENCE YOU CAN REMEMBER COOKING WITH CHOCOLATE?
I’ve always loved chocolate, I remember receiving giant jars of Roses every Christmas when I was little and I loved visiting Thornton’s as a treat when I was a child. When I was little, every Sunday, my mum, grandma and I would bake in my grandma’s kitchen. We used to make a chocolate cake with a whole bar of melted dairy milk as the topping.
2. WHAT/WHO WAS YOUR INSPIRATION FOR WANTING TO WORK WITH CHOCOLATE?
It was while working as head pastry chef for Marco Pierre White that I realized it was the chocolate dishes I most enjoyed preparing. After I worked for Marco I was asked by Chantal Coady at Rococo Chocolates to create a chocolate for the first Chocolate Week and my chocolate career blossomed from there.
3. WAS THERE A POINT WHERE YOU KNEW YOU WANTED TO BECOME A CHOCOLATIER AND DO YOU REMEMBER WHAT IT WAS?
It was more of an evolution into chocolate, I was being asked to do more and more development work, I won a gold at the Academy of Chocolate Awards for my Sea Salted Caramel and so my business partner, James Cronin and I started to look for our first shop which we eventually found in Camden Passage in Islington.
4. WHAT KIND OF TRAINING/EDUCATION DID YOU HAVE TO GO THROUGH TO BECOME A CHOCOLATIER?
I’m a trained chef, I worked in kitchens for many years and as I previously mentioned, as Head Pastry Chef for Marco Pierre White for 6 years at some of his top restaurants including Quo Vadis. I’m totally self trained in the craft of being a chocolatier and decided not to follow the popular Belgian and continental styles at the time. Innovation is in my blood so creating totally new recipes was a driving force in becoming a chocolatier.
5. WHAT SKILLS DO YOU NEED TO POSSESS TO BE A SUCCESSFUL CHOCOLATIER?
An understanding of flavours, flavour combinations and ingredients. A passion for food. A lot of patience – some days you’re making thousands of the same chocolate. Creativity so that there’s always something new to offer to your customers and to my team, who recreate my developments. You must also have a deep passion and drive to be able to produce by hand on large scale so the quality is never compromised.
6. WHAT HAS BEEN YOUR FAVOURITE EXPERIENCE WORKING AS A CHOCOLATIER?
Being able to open my own chocolaterie in 2006 and now having three in central London means I have my dream of being able to bring cutting edge, fresh and hand made chocolates to the city each day.
I love being on television and teaching people is a passion of mine so TV is a great vehicle to educate people about chocolate, how to bake and work with chocolate. My other love is creating new chocolates and recipes. I particularly enjoy using challenging ingredients and turning them into a knock your socks off amazing chocolate.
7. YOU’RE ALREADY A WELL RENOWNED AND SUCCESSFUL CHOCOLATIER, BUT DO YOU STILL HAVE GOALS, AND IF SO, WHAT ARE THEY?
I definitely still have goals, I have lots of them and as a creative person you never run out of them. The problem is not being able to realize them when you want too. There may be more shops not necessarily in the UK, it would be great to have a chocolate academy/school, and I will have my own TV series one day. I always say ‘will have’ and never ‘may be’ then it will happen. Dreams are accessible, I am proof of that.
8. YOU HAVE SOME INCREDIBLE RECIPES; DO YOU HAVE A FAVOURITE OF YOUR OWN?
Ok this is hard to answer as I have so many recipes I’m very proud of some of which are very unusual like my Ginger Pig black pudding, Beer and Ginger biscuit or Kernel Brewery ale truffle with Billingtons dark muscovado sugar.
I’m particularly proud of my sea salted caramel chocolate – I eat one each day. I recently won the best sea salted caramel in the world at The International Chocolate Awards 2012 and it’s our biggest seller.
9. THERE WILL BE PEOPLE READING THIS WHO WOULD BE INTERESTED IN BEING A CHOCOLATIER. WHAT ADVICE WOULD YOU GIVE TO PEOPLE WANTING TO FOLLOW IN YOUR FOOTSTEPS?
Look for an internship at one of the top chocolatiers. Many of us have come from a pastry chef background which is really good training. There’s no formal training in this country yet but you can go to Valrhona in France for courses. The School of Artisan Food and Leith’s in the UK both run day courses. We also run masterclasses in the kitchens at Paul a Young. Send my your CV and who knows what could happen.
10. AS A LOVER OF CHOCOLATE, YOU MUST EAT A FAIR BIT, BUT IF YOU WERE JUST BUYING A CHOCOLATE BAR IN A NEWSAGENTS, WHAT WOULD YOU CHOOSE?
I’m not a chocolate snob, I do occasionally buy chocolate from the newsagent. My favourite would be a kit kat – although it’s more a biscuit than a chocolate in my opinion. I’m still partial to one snickers a year, one cream egg at Easter and regular chocolate digestives YUM!
Martin Swain | Vice President, Global Employee Relations, Inclusion & Diversity
"I joined GSK 30 years ago in a sales role as my car broke down and I needed to find a job that supplied me with a company car. Luckily, I made a great decision in joining an organisation that would develop my skills and abilities and give me great opportunities to progress."
1. WHAT IS THE BEST THING ABOUT YOUR JOB?
The variety of tasks – every day brings a completely different challenge.
The opportunity to do something that assists the organisation in achieving its mission of ‘enabling people to do more, feel better and live longer’.
The global remit of my role enables me to work with and learn from some of the 100,000 employees that we have in 130+ countries across the world.
2. HOW DID YOU GET INTO YOUR CAREER?
I joined GSK 30 years ago in a sales role as my car broke down and I needed to find a job that supplied me with a company car. Luckily, I made a great decision in joining an organisation that would develop my skills and abilities and give me great opportunities to progress.
After 12 years in the sales and marketing environment I was given the opportunity to jump into an HR role, in a manufacturing environment, and that progressed into my current career direction.
3. WHAT HAS BEEN YOUR CAREER HIGHLIGHT SO FAR?
Implementing Project Search @ GSK House in September 2012.
Project Search bring 12 young people with severe learning disabilities into the organisation for a 9 month period in order to give them valuable work experience and transferable skills so that, at the end of the period, they are equipped to be able to find full time competitive employment.
Even in the short period of time they have been with us they have demonstrated that they have some remarkable talents that we have been able to uncover, develop and nurture. Also, as an organisation I think that we may have learnt more from them than they have from us!
4. CAN YOU GIVE A FUNNY OR RANDOM EXPERIENCE FROM DOING THIS JOB?
I was recently, unexpectedly called on to give a short description of Project Search during a global employee broadcast. Not too funny until you factor in that it was our departmental ‘wear your Christmas sweater to work day’ and I was dressed as an elf!
5. WHAT EXCITING THINGS ARE COMING UP FOR YOU IN THE NEAR FUTURE?
Recruitment of the next 12 young people for Project Search.
The development of a global commitment to disability from the perspective of employees, patients and customers.
Working on the employment aspects of an acquisition that we are about to make.
6. WHAT ADVICE WOULD YOU GIVE SOMEONE LOOKING TO PURSUE A CAREER IN THIS FIELD?
Variety – seek it out and embrace it. The broader your experience the more you will learn. Learn something new from every single person that you meet – everyone single person is unique and has unique abilities and knowledge.
Be brave – concentrate on your positives/strengths and not your weaknesses – I have never been truly qualified for any position that I’ve applied for and admitted this in interviews – the awareness has always been appreciated.
Be yourself – bring your whole self to work – ensures that you remain authentic at all times.
Have a laugh – it’s only work...
WELL DONE MARTIN! ;)
Loving Meryl Streep... “I no longer have patience for certain things, not because I’ve become arrogant, but simply because I reached a point in my life where I do not want to waste more time with what displeases me or hurts me. I have no patience for cynicism, excessive criticism and demands of any nature. I lost the will to please those who do not like me, to love those who do not love me and to smile at those who do not want to smile at me. I no longer spend a single minute on those who lie or want to manipulate. I decided not to coexist anymore with pretense, hypocrisy, dishonesty and cheap praise. I do not tolerate selective erudition nor academic arrogance. I do not adjust either to popular gossiping. I hate conflict and comparisons. I believe in a world of opposites and that’s why I avoid people with rigid and inflexible personalities. In friendship I dislike the lack of loyalty and betrayal. I do not get along with those who do not know how to give a compliment or a word of encouragement. Exaggerations bore me and I have difficulty accepting those who do not like animals. And on top of everything I have no patience for anyone who does not deserve my patience.” _ Meryl Streep
Inspirational speaker with speach impediment - Parker Mantell