Author of Ed Engoron’s Choclatique, Running Press, 2011
One of the best things about working in the food and confection world is all of the wonderful people that cross your path. I love their personalities and their sense of humor. Some stay a little longer than others, but with few exceptions they all leave a positive imprint on our company and on our lives. Now I’ve been a part of this industry for more years than I care to admit. We have owned our own restaurants, been consultants to the Fortune 500 of food companies, and for the last 7 years we have been totally immersed in chocolate. I’m sure those conjure up some vivid images. People come and go and many come back again. We always try to leave our special imprint by way of establishing an honest work ethic and teaching our co-workers many tricks of the trade.
Last week one of our long distance co-workers showed up on our door step. Spencer Kells was our Executive Chef From 2001 through 2003 just when we began the research and development phase of Choclatique.
Spencer was plucked from the Oriental Hotel in Bangkok and transported to Los Angeles. As the number #2 there, he worked 100 to 120 hours a week cooking some of the best food in Thailand. I loved his food and his great personality and thought he would be perfect for our company. And he was looking for an improved quality of life. We worked on a variety of sweet and savory solutions that are still being served in our clients’ restaurants. He left for more excitement to go to the Willard Hotel in Washington, DC.
You see when you’re on the cooking line in a restaurant in the heat of the night, the adrenalin pulses through your veins and you get a tremendous rush. After two years, Spencer was missing that thrill. Spencer left us to cook for the glitterati of DC including current and past Presidents, Senators, Representatives, Supreme Court Judges and the Who’s Who of Washington. In fact, his first month there he cooked for George W’s second inauguration party.
Spencer moved back to Thailand to marry a wonderful lady, Katya, and they now have two beautiful little girls, Zoe and Chloe. For me and the girls, it was love at first bite. Little girls seem to really like me… or maybe it’s the chocolate.
I have found that chocolate is a conversation opener for women of all ages. I make friends on planes with just the mere wave of a Choclatique Chocolate Bar. I get upgraded to first class, escorted through customs, breeze by security and treated to VIP star service with most airlines. I found that a well-placed piece of chocolate at the front desk of my hotel brings all sorts of amenities to my room. Chocolate is not only good for you physically, but fantastic for one’s ego. Of course, it doesn’t hurt to say I own the company. But even when not said, chocolate seems to forgive all sins.
I have one word of advice to all you guys out there—Chocolate. If you want to make friends, be forgiven for some unthinkable transgression or be the life of the party, give a little chocolate. And for you ladies… remember, guys like chocolate, too.