Woman Behind the Chef: Ruth Hinks

The Staff Canteen

In association with


In the build up to The Staff Canteen Live 2017 - supported by Westlands, at ScotHot 2017, we are taking a closer look at the chefs who will be joining us on stage.

We dig a little deeper to find out what they are hiding under those chef whites – next up is Ruth Hinks, UK World Chocolate Master and owner of the multi-award winning chocolatier and patisserie, Cocoa Black.

She has trained many renowned chefs, including Australian MasterChef judge George Calombaris who was her apprentice in Melbourne. In 2009, Ruth launched Cocoa Black Chocolate & Pastry School in Peebles, Scotland. Her vision was to share the skills she learned during her 25-year career and the school is now one of Europe’s leading training facilities. Ruth has held the World Chocolate Master title since 2013 and is recognised as one of the top 5 chocolatiers in the world. Her customers include royalty, celebrities and passionate foodies the world over. Ruth is also an ambassador to global chocolate brand Cacao Barry.

Ruth Hinks
Ruth Hinks

What item of food do you hate cooking?

Offal - the other end of the culinary spectrum from chocolates and patisserie!

What food, if any, are you allergic to?

I’m fortunate in that I don’t have any allergies.

What’s your favourite ingredient to work with?

Chocolate - its versatility makes it a joy to work with.

What’s your guilty pleasure food?


What three ingredients would you take with you to a desert island and why?

Chocolate to enjoy in the afternoon. Prosecco to enjoy in the evening. Good quality cheese, because any diet’s likely to be out the window.

If you weren’t a chef what would you be?

A policewoman. I love knowing what’s going on.

>>> Read more in The Behind The Chef series here

What radio station do you listen to in the kitchen?

We usually just listen to the local station (Radio Borders). The farming news is enlightening.

What other kitchen would you most like to work in?

George Calombaris (Masterchef Australia Judge). He was my first apprentice and it would be fun to hang out again.

Traditional cooking methods or modern techniques?

Both. Why set limits to your creativity?

Why did you choose to get involved with TSC Live?

I chose to get involved to hopefully inspire those considering a career in chocolate and pastry.

>>> ScotHot takes place on March 15-16, 2017 and you can register now here 

>>> Read more about The Staff Canteen Live here

>>> Read more about The Staff Canteen Live at ScotHot here

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 15th February 2017

Woman Behind the Chef: Ruth Hinks