Shaper: Angus Thirlwell

Show aired on 26th March 2016


Angus Thirlwell, CEO & Co-founder, Hotel Chocolat

To say that Angus Thirlwell is passionate about chocolate would be an understatement because, as he willingly admits, it’s more of an obsession. Together with his business partner, Peter Harris, he founded Hotel Chocolat in 2004 with three guiding principles that remain central to the brand’s success today – authenticity, originality and ethics.  Angus religiously eats chocolate every day, tastes and approves every single recipe, and is as much at home in the development kitchen as he is in the boardroom or amongst the cocoa trees.

With its Rabot Estate cocoa plantation in Saint Lucia and a boutique hotel in the grounds, a chocolate manufacturing facility in Cambridgeshire, two UK cocoa cuisine restaurants, stores across the UK and a growing presence in Denmark, Hotel Chocolat occupies a unique space – an ability to link all aspects of chocolate from the tree to the consumer.

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“We grow cocoa on our plantation in St Lucia. It is really rare and amazingly flavoured cocoa.”

“It sounded like a funny idea and there was a lot of media speculation it would fall flat on its face. Actually we raised £3.5m…”

“I sort of live and breathe cocoa and Hotel Chocolat.”

“…all shapes and sizes of people can become an entrepreneur.”

“The AIM market is intended for fast-growing new business, and that fits the profile of Hotel Chocolat.”

“…if you’ve got the best interests of the brand and the business at heart, you learn quick.”

“We are in business to make other people happy though amazing tasting chocolate.”

“We’ve become an incubating ground for new concepts that are united by the Hotel Chocolat brand.”

“The thing is, it is literally impossible to get fat on top quality chocolate.”