William was already a cooking legend in his 20s. He’s seen the chocolate & patisserie industry grow and develop, seen the reputation for food made in the UK change – and won countless awards for his work. Learn all about William’s journey and get your tastebuds tingling at the thought of chocolate in this weeks episode.
00:00:00 Marks introduction
00:02:26 Setting the scene & meeting William Curley
00:03:28 Williams first memories of cooking – his Grandmother was a lover of bacon!
- 00:04:41 “I went to the woodwork class and I looked over my shoulder and I saw a class of 15 girls doing cooking. And I thought, oh my gosh, that looks absolutely fabulous…And that was the beginning.”
00:07:02 How did William get into Glen Eagles so quickly, at the young age of 17?
00:09:21 Working in the ‘human’ industry of Hospitality – it’s ok to spend a couple of years at one place, and move onto the next journey
00:10:33 Getting to 20, and how William pressed on with his career after his apprenticeships
- 00:13:17 “Everything was you know, in search of perfection. And I’d never experienced this before and I’m really, really excited how, you know, it was so much time and effort put into every single aspect of what was been served to the customer.”
00:15:34 The influence of working with talented and famous chefs on William
- 00:16:14 “I guess it was at that period, at that time that I also decided that one day I want to have more on my own little shop if you like.”
00:18:01 Why is the patisserie part of the kitchen so technical? The attention, art, science and love that William is so passionate about
00:21:36 Going from cooking, to managing a team
00:23:20 Kitchens have a reputation of being hot and angry places – does this still ring true?
00:24:54 What prompted William to go off on his own and be his ‘own boss’?
- 00:26:04 “So at the time, with my first wife Susan, we, embarked on opening a little business, a little shop. And I guess that was the dream that was.”
00:27:04 The first couple of years of Williams own business was tough
00:28:02 Did working on his own allow William to be more creative?
- 00:29:15 “I always think when you eat someone’s cakes, chocolates, in a restaurant – you’re eating that chef’s food, you know, that embodies has personality.”
00:31:11 Do you sell what the customer wants to eat, or what you want to make for them? The growth of a chef
00:32:10 The inspiration for Williams chocolate – fresh produce, no preservatives or additives, colourings or compounds
- 00:33:03 “We work with a very small company based in Tuscany. They’re called Amedei, they are family run. I’ve been working with them directly and for 10 years.”
00:35:21 The evolution of fine chocolate in the 1980s
00:36:27 Williams partnership with the Rostral family
00:38:26 Looking back, is there anything that William would do differently? And advice he would give?
00:39:26 Next on the list – pop up shops and chocolately events
00:41:50 Williams new crowd-funded boutique shop in SOHO
- 00:45:24 “And it wasn’t really till the last week that it started to go, and then you could just see it every day gaining momentum and you think, gosh, we’re going to get hit on this. We’re going to get there. And we did finally get there a day before.”
00:46:19 Of Williams many awards, which is means the most to him?
- 00:47:12 “The most important accolade that I have achieved and, and it’s not something that I was given, I had to go and earn it, is what we call the master of culinary arts… It is an accolade that comes around every four years approximately in the UK.”
00:51:01 ‘Passing on the baton’ – sharing skills and taking in apprentices and why it’s important
00:52:47 Why does the UK not have the same respect and reputation for food as other countries? Is it changing?
00:55:38 A bit of chocolatey history – the 1800s onward
00:59:26 What is William’s style of mentorship, and how has it developed over the years?
- 01:00:08 “All these sort of skills, and not just making something once – being able to make these skills over a period and making them a second nature to you. Making a very good ganache. Knowing how to infuse the creams for the chocolates. Making a good caramel so it isn’t too sweet, but it’s got that kind of rich full flavor.”
01:01:48 Which part of Williams job gives him the most pleasure?
- 01:01:57 “I think fundamentally my customers being happy. There’s nothing nicer when you get feedback, whether it’s in the store or written in.”
01:03:32 The importance of food and how it creates memories, it has power
- 01:06:04 “My father used to make great stews, so did my mother, they all cooked their own food. Mean that was, I came from that, that generation, you know, there wasn’t a ready meal with something. I didn’t actually realize it really existed until it was all done in life. You’re going to the supermarket; buy something you put in the microwave? What’s that about?”
01:06:47 Is there any business advice that William has, that he can offer us?
- 01:07:22 “I went to business school and after I went to business school I realized the risks, the complexities, it was just too much and I wasn’t willing to do that. And I suppose sometimes you can, I think if you’ve harsh in something and you want to do it, you should do it.”
01:08:34 Apart from the shop in SOHO, what’s the future looking like for William Curley?
01:09:22 William trusts his experienced team, but still makes time to spend in the kitchen
01:10:08 Where can you go to find out more about William and his chocolate, or even nab some for yourself?
01:11:54 Marks final thoughts & sign off
If you’re looking to learn a bit more about William, his gorgeous chocolate and inspiring story of how he got to open his own little shop – listen to the full Podcast here, or check out his website and social channels:
Facebook: William Curley