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Leo meets Paul A. Young
Master Chocolatier

Leo meets Paul A. Young | Kidspiration

Imagine a job that involves making and testing chocolate all day long! Devising new flavours, experimenting in the kitchen, and sampling your scrumptious wares…

Following his passion and doing something he loves has become an occupation for Paul A. Young. He first trained as a chef, and became a patissier (a pastry chef) for celebrity chef Marco Pierre White; creating beautiful desserts, cakes and patisserie. With a childhood love of chocolate as his inspiration, Paul opened his first chocolate shop in 2006 in London.

A Master Chocolatier is a bit like a mad scientist, although in this case the crazy experiments are for developing new flavours, textures and patterns. Paul’s chocolates include all sorts, from Marmite truffles, port and stilton truffles, dark sea-salted rochers, hazelnut pralines, passion fruit and raspberry ganaches and sea salted caramels. Delicious!

If you’re wondering how he comes up with new ideas, Paul says he’s always open to them, and even has a book that he writes everything down in. He then plays around in the kitchen, spending time where all he does is mix up ingredients and see what comes out!



Leo:
Hi. I’m Leo and today I’m talking with Paul Young, one of Britain’s best chocolatiers, meaning he makes amazing chocolates. I’m meeting him at his shop in Central London, which is just behind me over there. Let’s see how it goes.

—-

Leo:
Hi, Paul. How are you? Nice to meet you.

Paul:
I’m good, thanks. How are you?

Leo:
Yeah, I’m good, thank you. Tell me who you are and what you do.

Paul:
Well, my name is Paul A. Young, and I’m a master chocolatier, which means every day I get to make fantastic chocolates, brownies, chocolate bars, cakes, hot chocolate, and exciting sculptures of chocolate, as well. It’s the best job in the world.

Leo:
So all of this you’ve made?

Paul:
Everything on the wall here, everything in front of you, everything around you was made downstairs by hand.

Leo:
Have you ever made a chocolate that you’ve made it, you thought it tastes good, like you thought it did but others didn’t think it was good?

Paul:
Ooh, that’s a really good question. I don’t think so. I’ve had some things that just don’t work, like fish. Fish and chocolate is not good. I’ve done everything from black pudding in a chocolate to Marmite to garlic, all kinds of things. I’ll try most things once to see if they work. Some things don’t work.

Leo:
What is the craziest chocolate you’ve ever made?

Paul:
Probably the black pudding. It’s unusual. It’s meaty and it’s made with pig’s blood, so that was the most interesting and unusual.

Leo, are you ready to taste some chocolates that we talked about earlier?

Leo:
Yes.

—-

Paul:
We’re going to make something, as well. We’re going to temper the chocolate after that, so we’ll get really, really messy, but let’s have a little taste. Do you want to try something a little bit different?

Leo:
Okay.

Paul:
I’ll do a deal with you. We’ll both have half of a Marmite truffle.

Leo:
Okay.

Paul:
I’ll cut it in half. So this one is really soft in the middle. You can feel that soft filling inside. This one is weird. Tangy and salty at the same time. What do you think?

Leo:
It’s good, but it wouldn’t be one of my favorites.

Paul:
So in here, there is about two kilos of dark chocolate, so we’ve melted it so it’s really liquid. There are no lumps, so if we lift it up, it’s not lumpy. There’s nothing in there other than liquid chocolate, but we can’t use it like that at the moment. We have to do something called tempering, which cools it, mixes it, and allows it to re-crystallize, which makes it really, really shiny again. We have to keep it moving; otherwise, it will set into a giant chocolate button, which would be nice. But we’ve got to spread the chocolate out. You scrape it in, around the corner so it’s back into where it started. So that’s spread it out, cooled it, and mixed it.

Leo:
Okay.

Paul:
Your turn. That’s it. It’s quite thick, isn’t it? You’ve got to press down a little bit with the spatula.

Leo:
I’ve got some chocolate on my hand.

Paul:
Don’t worry. You can lick that off later. That’s it. So this is the mold. If you look on that side, they look like robots. We’re going to fill each one of these with the chocolate. I’ll hold that for you. That’s it. Perfect.

Leo:
I’m very messy.

Paul:
Don’t worry. So, if you want to take this one and scrape the chocolate back into the vat. You scrape all the way along. That’s it. Excellent.

Leo:
What inspired you to become a chocolatier?

Paul:
Very good question. It was all accidental. I was trained as a chef, and then I became a pâtissier for a famous chef called Marco Pierre White. That meant working in restaurants and creating beautiful plates of desserts and cakes and patisseries and then 13 years ago, I decided to specialize in chocolate because I couldn’t find or buy really fantastic chocolates in London, so I decided to make them myself. An inspiration came from my childhood. My grandma would always buy me Thorntons chocolates, my mum would buy me chocolates at Christmas. So, even now, I still use some of those ideas from when I was really young, and I think that’s what planted the seed in becoming a chocolatier.

Leo:
What would your best advice be to kids?

Paul:
I wasn’t even offered the chance to be a chocolatier leaving school or a pâtissier or to work in food. The biggest bit of advice is don’t let anyone tell you you can’t do something. So, if you’ve got an idea and it’s really crazy and really whacky, do it, because you’ll probably prove them wrong.

Leo:
It was nice to meet you, Paul, and your shop looks very nice, I must say. I hope you become more big in the future.

Paul:
Thank you very much, and thank you for asking such interesting questions, and thank you for not asking the question I get asked by all journalists, which is do I still eat and do I still like chocolate. I do, but thank you for not asking it.

[Laughter]

Leo:
No problem.

—-

Leo:
So it’s the end of the day, unfortunately, but it was really fun to make some chocolate with Paul Young and talk to him about his awards and his chocolate, and I’ll see you next time.