Milissa Davis, Director and Artisan Chocolatier of Tutu Chocolates talks to International Confectionery Magazine about a skill she’d like to learn and the favourite part of her job
What attracted you to this industry?
My path into becoming a chocolatier is an unusual one, especially when up until the age of 16, I did not eat chocolate! Having a more savoury palette, I was completely unaware that chocolate could be perceived as anything more than sweet. This was until I landed my first job at a chocolate shop and was required to taste all of the chocolates in order to be able to sell them. From that first bite of artisan high end chocolate, I was drawn in by the complexity, science and beauty chocolates poses.
What has been your proudest accomplishment?
My proudest accomplishment is having my own chocolate shop called Tutu Chocolates at age 23. I was granted a business loan and alongside my savings, I was able to purchase the shop where my chocolate journey first started – the place where I left my heart – Tutu! I am so blessed to be back and for the support from my customers.
What’s your favourite kind of chocolate?
With higher end chocolates containing more flavour notes than wine and personally having a more savoury palate, dark chocolate (surprise surprise) is a firm favourite of mine. But what I adore more are the nostalgic flavours. Where pure childhood joy can be expressed on adult faces and equally put a smile on yours from viewing another’s fond reminisce.
What’s your favourite part of your job?
Expressing myself creatively and bringing happiness upon others is my favourite part of my job. For example, earlier this year, I had the delight of handcrafting an octopus chocolate sculpture. I ran a competition where I asked my customers to name the Octopus sculpture and the lucky winning name of Captain Barnacles was awarded a chocolate prize!
What is a skill you would like to learn?
I would be very keen to learn how to make chocolate bean to bar. I currently source my high-quality chocolates in button form from planations across the globe but have yet to visit a chocolate plantation and acquire the skill of crafting chocolates from scratch.
What’s the best advice you’ve ever received?
Whilst attending a chocolate course taught by Melissa Coppel, Frank Haasnoot and Ramon Morato in Las Vegas, I learnt the value of believing in yourself and focusing on the excitement in facing new challenges rather than being consumed by the fear of failure. One of my favourite quotes goes as follows – “until you cross that bridge of your insecurities, you cannot begin to explore your possibilities.” – Tim Fargo.
What’s the most interesting place you’ve visited?
Travelling around America by myself last year, I was mesmerised by the outstanding beauty of Yosemite National Park in California. From its tranquil waterfalls to its impressive cliff hiking trails Yosemite offers a vast landscape to explore.
What three items would you take with you to a desert island?
Pencil, paper and a box of matches…
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