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)
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:
- Shauna James Ahern & Daniel Ahern of Gluten Free Girl and The Chef
- Chef Hasty Torres of Madame Chocolat
- Martin Reed of I Love Blue Sea
- Dan and Jael Rattigan of French Broad Chocolate Lounge
- Amy Scattergood of LA Weekly Food Squid Ink
- Todd Porter of White On Rice Couple
- Helen DuJardin of Tartelette