Paul is an award-winning Pastry Chef and Chocolatier with over 25 years’ experience in the industry.
How have you spent your time during lockdown and what have you learnt about yourself?
I’ve been restructuring my company to try to fit in with the way the industry is going to pan out in the future. I’ve invested in a whole new system of working and I’ve moved out of London to cut down on my overheads. Lockdown has taught me that I’m resilient and adaptable.
Do you think the way consumers buy chocolate and treats will change forever?
Most definitely. I think it will be more internet-based. Whilst people have been at home they have had time to research products and are asking a lot more questions. We need to keep that information flowing so that people are aware of the skills that go into producing things.
What do you think the chocolate and confectionery market will look like next year?
There will be a lot more innovation from actual creators to engage with consumers. Chocolate sales hit their peak during lockdown because they are an affordable luxury in times of hardship, but the figures will be maintained.
Have you seen a change in best sellers?
Our best sellers have remained the same but we have sold even more than usual. They are: salted caramel truffles, Art Range 1 and passionfruit truffles.
What’s your go to treat?
It’s a new product I’m about to launch which I’ve been working on during lockdown: plantbased chocolates. That’s all I’m eating right now, although I’m not vegan. I’ve discovered that certain flavours taste much better without dairy fat. The new flavours are with coconut, candied orange and with passionfruit and they taste so natural.
What’s been your craziest creation?
It would have to be a chocolate hand continuously pouring a bottle of rum, which I made for the launch of my rum truffles which featured on Channel 5’s ‘Wonderful World of Chocolate’.
What flavour combinations will be big for 2021?
The hardest thing to get right is single flavours. Combinations are easier because consumers want them to work. Next year I will be working on flavours from my Caribbean heritage, things like sorrel with ginger and white rum.
What’s the next big thing in chocolate?
Plant-based chocolates because it’s a new way to deliver flavours. Without cream and butter I can deliver the chocolate flavour differently, using almond, rice and oat milks.
What’s the one thing from your kitchen you couldn’t live without?
Clingfilm – I use it for everything, from holding beans in pastry cases for blind baking to covering things for the fridge. I’ve even used it as a belt to hold my trousers up!
What’s your favourite Henley Bridge product and why?
The Belcolade chocolate for its workability and its price and the Italian hazelnut praline – it’s so good, for its quality and price point, it can’t be beaten.
What makes Christmas magic for you and what’s your wish for Christmas 2020?
Christmas is magic because I’m guaranteed to be able to take some time off. My wish is that chocolatiers and artisans will continue to innovate and shake up the industry collectively.
How will you be celebrating New Year?
Hopefully, I will be going to the Caribbean and I will be on the beach.