Years in Tampa Bay
Creator of GateauOChocolat
What do you do?
Offer chocolate therapy cures to meet life challenges or celebrations.
Why do you do it?
I advocate unique regional specialty foods. They contribute to a sense of place and mirror European traditions where the image of many towns is shaped by a local food specialty, GateauOchocolat is a St. Petersburg signature treat, and an excuse to eat chocolate for its therapeutic effects.
What was your Catalyst? (How did you get started?)
The initial spark happened in a tiny Parisian bistro where my wife, Jennifer, and I had a chocolate cake like we'd never had before. As we congratulated the owner’s wife (also the baker), she gave us recipe crumbs since I mentioned I owned two restaurants in Florida. Upon our return home, dedicated friends became official tasters and I developed the final recipe of GateauOchocolat with no flour at all and just four ingredients. The absence of flour combined with the nature of the ingredients makes GateauOchocolat quite challenging to make. Meeting my French chocolate supplier, who introduced me to his premium single-origin Ecuadorian chocolate, was the last and vital piece of the puzzle.
What’s a common misconception or unknown aspect of what you do?
The perception that food pleasures are still associated with gluttony. However I am comforted by a positive change among younger people. I advocate that life in gastronomic purgatory is not holier than measured enjoyment. Good food is a gift, a celebration of life meant to be savored, valued, and spiced with gratefulness. At GateauOchocolat, happiness is to make and ship delicious cakes to people who appreciate them.
What’s the most challenging part of your Hustle?
Convincing people that GateauOchocolat is best in a bubble bath with a glass of Port wine or champagne. Also wearing many hats to keep up with the demand during the holidays. Juggling between cakes, the 15th St. Farm and exciting consulting projects in the works are definite challenges.
What’s the most valuable piece of business advice/insight that’s helped you?
Cultivate an entrepreneurial mindset and listen to your heart.