Chocolate Show: Chocoholics unite!

The  Staff Canteen
logoThe Chocolate Show returns to London this weekend for its second year. The event takes place at Olympia and will round off the 2014 Chocolate week. An incredible array of talent will be on show with stalls from major chocolate companies, live chef demonstrations, tastings, truffle rolling and more. Today was the first day of the show and lured by the opportunity to sample a few sweet treats, The Staff Canteen went along and spoke to some of the headline chefs. Stars of today's show included Atul Kochhar, chef patron of Benares restaurant and the first Indian chef to receive a Michelin star, who demonstrated his famed Venison achari. Speaking to him after his demonstration he said: What brings you to live shows? Atul Kochhar "Well, obviously I have a passion for cooking and spices. Using chocolate is something quite new for savoury dishes, particularly with Indian food so it's quite exciting to showcase." How important is chocolate in your menus? "We're limited sometimes with using chocolate in savoury dishes. It's good to use it sometimes, particularly with dishes in the style of the venison you saw during my demonstration. We use chocolate all the time for our deserts, it's a pastry chefs dream!" Is using chocolate quite new for you then, in savoury dishes? "Yes, I never used it when I was growing up. As a chef you're always picking up new methods and using chocolate is one of them. It's really exciting to come to an event such as this and show people just how diverse it can be as an ingredient." The show will be putting the spotlight on some legendary figures of the chocolate industry. The likes of Paul A Young and Will Torrent will showcase the diversity of chocolate in a series of live demos throughout the weekend and there will also be performances from Great British Bake Off winners Edd Kimber and John Whaite. Claire Haddad Claire Haddad, creative development chocolatier at ‘Hotel Chocolat’, demonstrated her skills. She talked us through the process of making chocolate all the way from the cocoa bean to the chocolate bars we all love. She said: What brings you to live shows? "Well it's really nice to be able to mix and interact with all our customers. We really value their input and it's a good opportunity to showcase what we do." You talked to us about how chocolate bars are made, do you think it's good to educate people about the cocoa supply chain? "We like to yes, we've obviously got a cocoa plantation in St Lucia and a code of ethics too. We like to know where our cocoa is coming from, keeping it as personal as possible at all times. Not all of our cocoa comes from St Lucia but we treat our cocoa farmers with the utmost respect" As an economics graduate, what brought you to the chocolate industry? "I always wanted to be a pastry chef. My Dad made a deal with me that if I went to uni, he'd pay for me to study at Le Courdon Bleu and from there I haven't looked back. Going to uni was great and I'm still interested in economics but it was always going to be chocolate." On the main stage, Marc Demarquette of Demarqutte Fine Chocolates showed us the ins and outs of the ultimate chocolate torte. Marc is a legendary figure amongst British chocolatiers and his cultural roots shine forth in his many combinations. He said: What brings you to live shows?Marc Demarquette "They're fantastic. It's great to see your peer group at these sort of events. You see them in a completely new light, it's so much more relaxed. Not just that, the interaction with customers is so much more dynamic, it's not a buy-sell atmosphere, you can talk and exchange views. It's brilliant!" Marc has a degree in tourism and aviation management so I asked him: What brought you to the chocolate industry? "Well I actually had an accident a couple of years ago and it changed everything. Up to then my life was all about aviation but my drink was spiked and, while in hospital, I decided to live the dream! I've always been passionate about chocolate and look where we are today. Funny how things turn out." Wow, any plans for the future then? "You don't really have a business plan in this industry, it's so dynamic. I just try to take each day as it comes and take every opportunity with both hands. That's my philosophy." For more information on Marc, please see: http://www.demarquette.co.uk/ Mourad KhiatMourad Khiat, the pastry chef behind Prêt-à-Portea, took to The Chocolate Theatre stage for his demonstration. He created a dark chocolate and gianduja mousse wrapped in striped joconde sponge. He said: What brings you to live shows? "I came here last year and absolutely loved it. It's great to mingle with other chefs and it's a unique opportunity to interact with customers." (Seen as though your demo was fashion orientated) Style or substance? "For me it's definitely style. The biggest compliment for a pastry chef is: that looked great. Obviously taste is really important but my love is for style." What inspired you to be a pastry chef? "I've been doing it from a really young age so my plan has never changed. I worked for my dad with pastry when I was young and I've never really looked back." The evening showstopper comes in the form of the world famous Chocolate Fashion Show. Stunning couture outfits made and inspired by chocolate were presented during the Gala Evening on Thursday and visitors of the Chocolate Show will discover these exceptional creations during the daily evening fashion show. With 15,000 chocolate fans expected throughout the course of the weekend, The Chocolate Show is a not-to-be-missed event for all chocolate lovers. By Tom Evans
In these challenging times…

The Staff Canteen team are taking a different approach to keeping our website independent and delivering content free from commercial influence. Our Editorial team have a critical role to play in informing and supporting our audience in a balanced way. We would never put up a paywall and restrict access – The Staff Canteen is open to all and we want to keep bringing you the content you want; more from younger chefs, more on mental health, more tips and industry knowledge, more recipes and more videos. We need your support right now, more than ever, to keep The Staff Canteen active. Without your financial contributions this would not be possible.

Over the last 12 years, The Staff Canteen has built what has become the go-to platform for chefs and hospitality professionals. As members and visitors, your daily support has made The Staff Canteen what it is today. Our features and videos from the world’s biggest name chefs are something we are proud of. We have over 500,000 followers across Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, YouTube and other social channels, each connecting with chefs across the world. Our editorial and social media team are creating and delivering engaging content every day, to support you and the whole sector - we want to do more for you.

A single coffee is more than £2, a beer is £4.50 and a large glass of wine can be £6 or more.

Support The Staff Canteen from as little as £1 today. Thank you.

The  Staff Canteen

The Staff Canteen

Editor 17th October 2014

Chocolate Show: Chocoholics unite!