Gerard is an artist who create chocolate delights marked by his own imagination and sensibility. He is not a business strategist who identifies gaps in the market or a marketing guru who peddles on mediocre chocolates. He is a creative chocolatier. Often he is asked what his creative process or inspirations are.
This can be an idea for a flavour or a shape or an eating experience, but it is always grounded on the desire to create something delicious and different, unique to Gerard and to Artisan du chocolat. Gerard creative mind works like a sponge absorbing influences from customers, suppliers, fellow artisan producers at Borough market or even a meal, a beautiful object or design, a statue noticed whilst driving. Everything and anything. Somehow and sometimes Gerard's brain makes a connection to some of these elements and come up with an interesting new chocolate.
The famous tobacco chocolate was created after a stimulating dinner with Heston Blumenthal, the talented chef from the Fat Duck. The Lumi bars jumped to Gerard's imagination after smelling these strange looking dried things at Arabica stall at Borough market whilst waiting for...a falafel (well yes he does eat other foods than chocolate from time to time). The Os each containing a very thin layer of oozing fruit coulis, honey, praline or ganache were inspired by a bright painters palette.
The creative process
Inspiration is easy, the process of fleshing this idea into a viable product is more challenging. It is about experimenting tirelessly with different recipes and production methods, problem solving along the way to make sure that the end product is as close as possible to Gerard's original vision. Often this process involves a deep and creative understanding of production machinery, methods and capabilities. If inspiration is an art, the creative process is more of a science led by research, trial and errors. Hence why it usually take several months from the original idea to an actual product. Every year Gerard launches whimsical and ephemeral collections for Halloween, Christmas, Valentine and Easter as well as a range of new flavours, products and displays. There is never a dull moment at his atelier.
Every day we remind ourselves that it is important to have fun. So tuck into a piece of good chocolate, take a break and watch our chocolates dance.