This week we caught up with the very talented Chocolatair, Sophia Winslade from Hotel Chocolat.
YOU’VE BASICALLY GOT OUR DREAM JOB, DID YOU ALWAYS WANT TO BE A CHOCOLATAIR?
It is amazing and the perfect excuse to eat chocolate every day! I had always been interested in working with chocolate and was in the right place at the right time finding a role where I was trained on the job and the rest is history. It’s a creative and rewarding industry, particularly now teaching guests the power of bean to bar chocolate with Hotel Chocolat.
HOTEL CHOCOLAT, THAT’S ONE OF THE TOP BRANDS OUT THERE. TELL US ABOUT THE CAREER JOURNEY THAT GOT YOU TO WHERE YOU ARE NOW?
They are indeed, I’ve always been in positions within the hospitality and catering industry but my introduction to chocolate making was with Rumsey’s chocolatier in Wendover, Bucks where I produced made on site truffles and chocolates. After finding my feet in chocolatier skills I moved to the Harrods Chocolate Department to enhance my commercial awareness and from there I was keen to join one of the industry leaders to share my knowledge and teach, accepted as events chocolatier at Hotel Chocolat’ school of chocolate and working with a brand that have ethics and authenticity at its core.
WE’VE HEARD THERE IS NOW A SCHOOL OF CHOCOLATE… WHAT IS THAT?! IS IT AS GOOD AS IT SOUNDS?!
It is a chocolate heaven! From the whizzing and whirring of our made on site chocolate machinery to the delightful aromas of bean to bar chocolate being made, it’s an unforgettable experience. In the heart of Seven dials, Covent Garden it offers various experience that anyone can book onto to learn to make their own bean to bar chocolate or simply sit and indulge in chocolate tasting for a couple of hours! Guests gain insight into all aspects of the brand from roots to wrapper with Hotel Chocolat having its own cocoa plantation in St Lucia.
ASIDE FROM THE AWESOME HOTEL CHOCOLAT SHOPS, WHERE WOULD YOU SAY WAS THE BEST SPOT IN LONDON FOR A COMPLETE CHOCOHOLIC TO CHECK OUT?
Obviously Hotel Chocolat, is the best! However, a visit to the Harrods Chocolate Dept. will offer a discerning customer a vast range of different chocolate companies to choose from. Highly recommended. There are also a number of festivals dedicated to chocolate, highlighting some exciting up and coming, as well as established chocolate brands.
WHAT’S THE BEST ADVICE YOU HAVE BEEN GIVEN?
I think the mantra of “never give up” is a really important piece of advice I’ve been given, particularly when it comes to trying to temper chocolate and make truffles in the heat for the London sunshine!
WHAT WOULD YOU PERFECT LAZY SUNDAY IN LONDON LOOK LIKE?
My perfect lazy Sunday would start with a lie-in, with a latte and an indulgent almond croissant! As a real foodie I would go a visit Borough Market where I would choose delicious ingredients for an informal supper party with my friends and create something amazing, particularly with the dessert!
Sophia is regularly based at the Seven Dials Hotel Chocolat store.
Photography by Nyla Sammons