Portrait of a Gourmand- Chef Hasty Torres & Madame Chocolat Video

by on July 7, 2010

Portrait of a Gourmand A gourmand is simply, someone who takes pleasure in food and eating. This is a continuing photographic series of gourmands, from all walks of life. There are many gourmands that inspire us in profound ways that make us experience and think about food differently. These portraits essays and interviews share their amazing stories.


Madame Chocolat lives in Beverly Hills, CA and is the symbol of sweet decadence that is both sexy, stylish and infectiously fun. Walk into the Madame Chocolatier chocolate boutique and wafts of chocolate perfumed air from the on-site chocolate factory is a dream for sweet tooths. As elegant as Madame Chocolat sounds, the humble, yet genius chocolate creations like chocolate covered cheerios and smores on a stick appeal to all walks of life.

Chef Hasty Torres is the creator of Madame Chocolat and the two sides of her personality shine though, just like the elegantly eclectic selection of chocolate nibbles that she creates. Hasty is witty, creative and entertaining. Watch the video to understand the Madame Chocolat story.

Follow Hasty and Madame Chocolat on twitter: @madame_chocolat

This fun video will tell you the whole Madame Chocolat story (we produced, filmed, and edited this video)

Why Chocolate?

I’ve always been obsessed with chocolate from childhood.  My favorite holiday is Halloween (of course).  My brother, Johnny, and I would go out trick or treating until our bags were stuffed full, then we’d come home and switch costumes and go out AGAIN.  I was always the little girl with chocolate in my backback, under my pillow, ran to the chocolate isle in the grocery store…you get the point.  As an adult, while I was in the financial industry, I was “that girl” whose office was always stacked with chocolate like a convenient store.  Jars were filled as my “décor”, in my drawers and cabinets and of course in my purse at all times. Coming from a business background, I knew I wanted to own my own business so naturally I turned to chocolate.

When did you know that you wanted to make chocolate a part of your life ?

It wasn’t until the food network debuted Jacques torres’ chocolate episodes that I had my epiphany and true motivation.  I didn’t know too much about the culinary work, especially the word “Chocolatier”.  After much research in my office, I quit my job and enrolled at Le Cordon bleu in pasadena.  I took the whole program, savory and sweet before I landed the opportunity of a lifetime upon graduation.  I was hired by the legendary icon who was my original inspiration- Jacques Torres Chocolate in NYC.  I honed my skills for over a year and was lucky enough to work directly under Jacques when he made me the opening Chef of his 8000 sq ft chocolate factory and boutique in Soho.  As a Los angeles native, my dream of opening Madame Chocolat started to become a reality.  I moved back and began the journey of opening.  I opened in 2006 and its been my chocolate playground.  I love every minute of being an entrepreneur as well as a chocolatier.  People ask me what’s one advice I can give and its to follow your dream until you make it a reality.  I did so its possible for everyone.

How do you incorporate fun into your chocolate factory?

Chocolate is naturally fun, happy and nostalgic for everyone on this planet.  It’s the one product that is universal no matter what your ethnicity, religion, age or gender.  Being surrounded with chocolate is a boost of endorphins for me the minute I walk in everyday.  The ability to be creative is where the fun is generated.  My belief is that chocolate should be enjoyed by everyone and I never want to create a “museum” of chocolate where its not affordable and only pretty to look at.

free spirited Hasty!

It’s obvious that you have two sides to your chocolate personality. What are they?

I have my serious side of the chocolatier, but I also haave that little girl inside that wants to have fun. Creating products like chocolate covered cheerios, chocolate rice krispy treats, malt balls, lollipop smore’s, and seasonal novelty products using premium imported Belgium chocolate are so exciting for me.  In my store, I have individual products that range from $1.00 to $125.00. This way, everyone can enjoy and treat themselves to the magical product that all starts from a little cocoa bean. Being married to Jacques Torres, what’s it like having 2 chocolatiers in the household?

Being married to Jacques Torres, what’s it like having 2 chocolatiers in the household?

I’m so lucky to be married to a man that is in the same profession.  I always say, chocolate is what brought us together and yet its what keeps us apart as we have a bicoastal marriage.  We understand and respect each other’s passion for what we do.  This and the combination of constantly learning from him is a blessing.  On the personal side, we love each other so much that it oozes out of our pores!  at the present time, we are working creatively to solve the dilemma of living under the same roof, in the same state, in the same zipcode.  We can’t wait to start a family and have our own little bonbons and truffles running around.  I have a feeling that one day our home is going to be the popular “hangout” for our kids and their friends.

More on the Portrait of a Gourmand series:

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{ 25 comments… read them below or add one }

1 TheKitchenWitch July 8, 2010 at 12:15 am

If that gorgeous creature eats chocolate on a regular basis (and she must, considering the high-end chocolate bunny she married…LOVE him!) I am going to melt a bazillion bars of the stuff and create my own Molten Chocolate Michael Jackson Sleep Pod. If regular chocolate consumption gives me skin like hers, I’m willing to have the physique of Augustus Gloop. She is seriously radiant.

Adore you.

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2 Hasty Torres July 8, 2010 at 2:19 pm

You’re wayyyy too kind…. and in return, I have an idea. Why dont we create an at-home spa to bathe in a tub of chocolate (you pick white, milk or dark), radiat our pores by giving ourselves a facial with the piping steam of our creamy decadent hot chocolate and moisturize in pure natural cocoa butter? but “beauty comes from within”…so we MUST eat your molten chocolate michael jackson sleep pod for it all to work.

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3 jaden July 8, 2010 at 3:52 am

Hasty is one of the most beautiful, vibrant businesswomen I have ever met!!!

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4 Hasty Torres July 8, 2010 at 2:20 pm

It takes one to know one my love! Sending you big chocolate hugs and kisses!

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5 Lisa@The Cutting Edge of Ordinary July 8, 2010 at 6:04 am

How can she not weigh 300 lbs??? How? I would be a house if I worked in that environment! Beautiful video, great interview, and those chocolates….oh man.

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6 Hasty Torres July 8, 2010 at 2:26 pm

The White on Rice Couple (Todd and Diane) are gifted, brilliant, and extremely talented photographers and videographers (there’s a long list of other talents they have). The video and pictures they created for me are breathtaking. I DO eat chocolate all day…I SWEAR–and I love it :-)! the honest truth is that I end up working it off by the long hours of standing, stirring, heavy lifting….’tis the life of a chef.

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7 deeba July 8, 2010 at 7:14 am

Gorgeous post about an inspirational lady! Love the vibrancy and energy in the post and in the pictures!

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8 Hasty Torres July 8, 2010 at 2:28 pm

Thanks for your sweet words, Deeba. xoxo

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9 Liza deGuia July 8, 2010 at 7:36 am

What a great profile. And cute video. ;) Glad you shared this! I just met Jacques Torres at his chocolate factory in SoHo last week during @SteamyKitchen’s event and I can honestly say, after reading this that they are one perfect chocolate pairing!

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10 Hasty Torres July 8, 2010 at 2:30 pm

Awwweee, thank you :-). That was a great party Jaden hosted and hope you devoured lots of chocolates that night!

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11 terri July 8, 2010 at 3:21 pm

what a wonderful and inspirational profile! she’s gorgeous, brilliant, talented, and hard-working–no wonder she’s so successful!

now if only keeping a huge stash of chocolate around would give me even a fraction of her success…(or at least inspire me to finish writing so i can graduate) :)

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12 marla {family fresh cooking} July 8, 2010 at 7:16 pm

Wow! What a video and post about such an inspirational woman. She is gorgeous and full of personality. She deserves all the success and abundance life gives to her. She (and the White On Rice Couple) make people smile, there is no art more important than that.
I had know idea you guys were also such pro’s with video….amazing.

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13 colleen July 8, 2010 at 7:30 pm

Wow! Great presentation Todd & Diane.
As a bona-fied Chocoholic, I loved it!!!

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14 White on Rice Couple July 12, 2010 at 3:45 am

colleen- thanks! and weren’t her chocolate cheerios amazing?

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15 Fran July 8, 2010 at 7:44 pm

Another wonderful post and video by Diane and Todd! and what a beautiful subject — Hasty AND chocolate! The combination makes chocolate look so much less guilt-ridden. Now excuse me, I need to scour the pantry to find some chocolaty goodness!

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16 Nicolette July 8, 2010 at 10:34 pm

Great post! I never really thought of chocolate specifically as a way of unifying different cultures and communities. Now I have even more reason to share the love :)

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17 K Moran July 9, 2010 at 1:04 pm

I love videography. That video was awesome. It had personality, fun, made the food look so good, told a story, and was shot from so many great angles.

Very impressive and, yes, Hasty is frickin sexy… like the chocolate ;)

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18 White on Rice Couple July 12, 2010 at 3:44 am

K Moran- sound like you’re a videographer too and the comment coming from you is a huge compliment. Thanks! and yes, Hasty is uber sexy but kind as well. She’s a loving soul.

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19 Kristen July 11, 2010 at 9:52 pm

What a fun and vibrant video! Love the music, as always… you picked the perfect song!

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20 White on Rice Couple July 12, 2010 at 3:39 am

Kristen- thanks! but we had to cut it up quite a bit to get the timing down right. It worked in the end!

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21 Yassi November 12, 2010 at 7:50 pm

I love the video as well, do you know the name of the song or where I can get it. It would be a big help. Thank you in any case.

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22 White on Rice Couple November 12, 2010 at 10:53 pm

We had a hard time finding it, and it was a while ago so we don’t quite remember where we got the song, but it is “:Je Sais” by Shy’m.

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23 Yassi November 15, 2010 at 4:32 pm

Thank you it’s absolutely beautiful!

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24 fragolina July 12, 2010 at 3:50 am

Great post. It encourages us, dreamers of pastry, to follow our dream and keep on working on the project until it becomes a reality.

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25 Harmony July 26, 2010 at 1:56 pm

Fantastic video of a breathtaking woman and her passion. And the chocolate didn’t look bad either. Thank you so much for sharing this with us.

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