Q&A with Paul A Young

Master chocolatier Paul A Young divulges his indulgences

When are you happiest? I’m happiest when in product development mode creating new combinations, textures and being innovative. I’m just in the process of creating my development lab beneath my city shop at the Royal Exchange. A haven of creativity

Paul A Young stands in front of displays in his shop

Paul A Young in his shop.

What is the best part of your job? Making thousands of people very happy and knowing that I have been able to give people a memorable experience

And the worst? The VERY long hours and the admin. I’m a creative person so this is the challenging part of the job for me

Describe your typical day I really don’t have a typical day, which I am thankful for and I don’t thrive on routine. I wake at 7am and immediately go to my office at home to check emails and reply to customer enquiries. I then head in to either my Soho or Islington shops as we produce all our products there. I catch up with my chocolatiers and plan my day. Product development is one or two days of my week when I create new collections for at least three months ahead. I spend time with my retail team, check the shops look ready for the day and taste some of the chocolates for quality and appearance.

A lot of my day is spent doing business tasks, invoices, writing product spec sheets, and when I can, meeting customers in the shops. I have a lot of meetings with clients, suppliers and with my senior management team. The end of my day either sees me heading out to eat with friends in Soho or heading home to cook. I love cooking dinner especially for friends so I regularly have people over for some serious feasting

What can’t you live without? Music and pastry

You’re holding a fantasy dinner party – who’s coming? Antoine Careme, Joni Mitchel, Sarah Millican, Gerard Butler, Madonna, Miranda Hart, Oprah

What is your earliest memory of chocolate? Enjoying Bournville dark chocolate with my mum. I felt very sophisticated at a young age enjoying dark chocolate

valentines-collectionWhat is your greatest achievement? Owning one of the finest chocolate businesses in the world and opening three shops in the heart of London. I also won Best Salted Caramel in the World at the 2012 International Chocolate Awards which was a fantastic accolade for me

What would be your desert island dessert? I can’t pick one as cake and desserts are in my daily diet, so have too many to choose from. But a freshly baked Bakewell tart or sticky toffee pudding, or a fresh and slightly warm Victoria sponge, and syrup sponge and custard

Complete the sentence: ‘The meaning of chocolate…’ makes life worth living

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