Shaper: Chantal Coady

Show aired on 14th November 2015

Transcript

Chantal Coady is Founder & Creative Director of Rococo Chocolates. She began the Real Chocolate Revolution in the UK in 1983, in London’s King’s Road. Fresh from art school, Chantal knew that there was space for some love and creativity in the area of retailing chocolate. The shop was a culmination of unrequited childhood dreams of chocolate and the make believe world of being a shopkeeper. The name of the business was an inspired brainwave, sealed when the definition of Rococo was looked up in the dictionary: “Derived from the French word rocaille, meaning ornamentation, shell and scroll work, asymmetric. Florid to the point of bad taste.” Chantal ran with this idea, and Rococo Chocolates transformed the experience of buying and consuming chocolate into something between art and magic. The emotional interaction between chocolate and the British buyer was understood for the first time. In 2004, a second Rococo was launched in Marylebone High Street, a third in Belgravia in 2007 and in 2012 at the Chester Grosvenor, the first luxury chocolate shop in the North West of England. Chantal and Rococo are fully engaged in ethics and sustainability and have a joint venture with the Grenada Chocolate Company. Together they are working in an organic co-operative, and making sure that as much value can be added at the farmer end of the cocoa chain before the finished product is shipped across the ocean. Chantal is a Founder Member of the Academy of Chocolate. Chantal is married to acupuncturist James Booth, they have two children and two cats, and a colony of bees. They divide their time between London, Provence and the GROCOCO plantation in Grenada.

Chantal’s Awards include: Winner, Chocolate “Oscar” for Best Chocolate Book Eurochocolate Perugia 1996; Winner, “Best Chocolate Book” for Real Chocolate Gourmand Awards 2003; Nominated for Best Cookery Book Guild of Food Writers 2003; Winner, AoC Special Award 2008 “Changing the way people think about chocolate”; Winner, Walpole Brands of Tomorrow 2010; Winner, “Outstanding Service to the Chocolate Industry” FCIA 2011, Winner, Academy of Chocolate “Chocolatier of the Year” 2011, 2012

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“…at that time there was a lot of punk stuff going on, which was quite a liberating way of thinking because people didn’t necessarily have to be good at something.”

“I just felt chocolate is this magical, wonderful thing. It is a kind of fantasy world – it was for me anyway.”

“The more people that said: ‘you’re crazy, what do you think you’re doing?’ the more determined I was to do it.”

“For the first ten years, it was really difficult because it was extremely hard to make any money from the business.”

“When I started the shop, no one made their own chocolate. There was this kind of idea that people had elves in the basement and they were making them.”

“The thing I would probably say to anyone is to be very disciplined about keeping things as simple as possible.”

“Sometimes I really do have to eat a lot of chocolate.”

“As I hope to live to at least a hundred… I am going to need some income for that.”

“My mother actually remortgaged the family house for me, and I still think ‘why on earth would she have done that?’ She must have been bonkers!”