Sweet Talk: Paul Lacey

Paul Lacey, Owner of Cocoa Luxury talks to International Confectionery about his first job, what brought him into this industry and favourite way to spend a day off

What attracted you to this industry?  

It was while I was baking at home that I began to develop an interest in chocolate. I’ve never been a big chocolate eater (I’m still not), but baking chocolate cakes, I realised how incredible chocolate was – its versatility – and how incredibly complex it is. Chocolate is a science of its own. The more I researched it, the bigger my passion to learn and work with it became. 

What was your first job?  

I was a News Department Manager trainee for WH Smith. I went on to become an Assistant Manager with them, before leaving after nine years to become a stay-at-home Dad.

What’s your favourite way to spend a day off?  

Oh my! Whenever I can afford to have a day off or time off, I always feel guilty. I always feel I should be working. But if I can switch off for a day, my wife and I like to go for walks, and we love watching old American cop shows like Bones or The Mentalist. I know, very sad, isn’t it?

What’s the best advice you’ve received from someone?  

That would be from Sophie Jewett, Owner of York Cocoa House. At the end of one of her workshops, I remember her saying, “Chocolate knows when you’re having a bad day. Chocolate knows when you’re fed up. Don’t let it beat you. Be assertive with it!”

Do you have a favourite book or film?  

I’m not a reader, I’m afraid, but I love films. It’s difficult to choose a favourite, but if I have to choose, it would have to be Alien. Scared me to death when I first watched it. Even though it was made in 1979, it stands up to anything made today. No CGI involved, either.

How would you describe yourself in three words?  

Dedicated, reliable, trustworthy.

Who or what inspires you?  

People who have built or are building a business from scratch. People such as Sophie Jewett, and my old boss at Bullion Chocolate, Max Scotford. Their drive, passion, determination and motivation to succeed is nothing short of incredible. I learnt a lot from both, especially Max who I worked with for six years. 

Who would you meet, living or dead?  

I’m a massive Arsenal fan, so I would love to meet Dennis Bergkamp, my all-time Arsenal hero. Also, Laurel and Hardy. The two funniest men who have ever lived.

If you could travel back in time, what period would you go to and why?  

Easy, the 1980s. Just for the music. It will never be beaten. ‘The Glory Years’ as those of us that grew up in that decade call it.

What’s a saying you live your life by?  

Believe in yourself, even if no one else does. 

Read the full feature in our magazine.

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Media contact

Caitlin Gittins
Editor, International Confectionery
Tel: +44 (0) 1622 823 920
Email: editor@in-confectionery.com

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