WILD SWEETS® BY DOMINIQUE & CINDY DUBY are not only artisan chocolatiers but also notable master pastry chefs winning gold and silver medals in prestigious competitions. Never ending in their quest for the best, they are also award-winning authors and offer culinary training and consulting services worldwide as well as creative and marketing services in product development, food styling and photography.
Their line of novel products under the WILD SWEETS® BY DOMINIQUE & CINDY DUBY name showcases their relentless creatively – taking wild ingredients and creating exotic, miniature pieces of artwork. It prompted CNN American Morning to describe their chocolate art as beautiful, gorgeous and delicious. I can’t argue with that. Dominique and Cindy Duby shared their story with me.
The 8Q interview: 8 questions answered by successful chocolatiers
1. Were you formally trained to work in the art of chocolate making?
Neither one of us trained specifically as a chocolatier. Dominique trained as a culinary chef in Belgium while Cindy trained as a pastry chef in Canada. After we met at a common employer, we decided to go back to Europe and trained at Lenotre in Paris and at Wittamer in Brussels. It was there we trained and worked as a chocolatier specifically.
2. What was the moment that you knew you wanted to be a chocolatier or work mainly with chocolate?
We both always liked chocolate especially Dominique. Born and raised in Belgium, pralines were his treat of choice even as a young child!
Working as pastry chefs for many years, chocolate was always a major element in the work that we did but not exclusively. When we designed our line of Canadian Wild Truffles to offer as gifts to our consulting clients, mostly in Asia, that is probably when we decided that if we were to go back again into a ‘production’ business, it would be a chocolate one.
When we launched our first book in 2004, we decided then to open a chocolate virtual boutique as a ‘side’ business. In late 2007, we decided to start a retail line of chocolates and it just keeps on growing with the start of making our own chocolate from Bean-to-Bar in early 2010.
3. How would you describe the product line your company offers?
It would be a small artisan chocolate maker and chocolate atelier that follows the following principles: inspired by nature, guided by science, designed by technology and crafted by art.
4. What is your best selling product and what is your personal favourite?
We continue to launch so many new products and concepts and have so many more in the works in different ‘categories’ that it’s difficult to gauge what is the best selling. Our line of artisan praline bars is doing very well especially the latest release of ‘eleMent’. We just released four cocoArt collections just a couple of weeks ago and the response so far has been great. Yet, we are sure that when we release our blended and Bean-to-Bar next year, they too will be great sellers.
As far as a personal favourite, we don’t have one. We believe that one can never be satisfied with a ‘favourite’ of today otherwise how can tomorrow ever be better! To be good, one must change. To be great, one must change often.
5. Up to now, what has been the greatest highlight of your chocolate career?
Again, as in the previous question, we don’t want to single out a ‘greatest’ highlight as we hope that we will have many more and of much greater value in the years to come. The better we become, the higher the bar rises. Some of the achievements that we had earlier in our careers may have seemed fantastic highlights at the time but they are not at all in the context of what we have achieved since then. That is why we don’t take anything for granted.
We are never satisfied with anything that we do. Having said that, note that we are content with what we achieve if we feel that it is the best at this particular time. We have to set a limit to all research and development that we do, otherwise we would never launch any products. But we always continue to push the envelope of creativity each and every day and that is the only way that one can seek for that elusive perfection.
6. What has been the most difficult challenge you have faced in your chocolate career?
Every day is a challenge. To be satisfied that what we do is the best that it can be – that is very difficult when we keep on raising our standards. It is great today but will it be enough tomorrow?
7. If you weren’t working with chocolate, what would you be doing?
What we are already doing but not as much as we would like – food design and photography. We love to create food art concepts and take pictures of them.
8. What is next for you and for your company?
So many ideas, concepts and projects but so little time. For us, more books for sure. We wrote four so far and would like to write 12 or more. And we want to expand our commercial food photography side of our business.
What’s next for the company? Maybe open a chocolate gallery that will combine our food art photography and cocoArt chocolates. Also, expand the retail side of our business, continue to design and launch many more novel products including making our own chocolate in-house from Bean-to-Bar. And hopefully expand internationally to countries like Japan in the near future.
Dominique and Cindy Duby
“WILD SWEETS® BY DOMINIQUE & CINDY DUBY”
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