Our Cambridgeshire Inventing Room is where the magic happens. It’s here that our chocolatiers get creative, experimenting with daring new chocolate recipes and uncompromising ingredients.
It’s tough at the top; only the very best of these creations make it onto our shelves. Meet the people behind the chocolate...
Adam Geileskey - Head of Chocolate Innovation
Adam worked in Food Science before specialising in chocolate. His favourite chocolate is the legendary Pistachio Praline, and single-origin bars made with Honduran cocoa.
“I made the most friends after I started working in chocolate!”
As Head of Cocoa Innovation, Adam leads our team of chocolate creatives as they develop an endless supply of innovative new recipes for our stores, cafés and Tasting Club.
Adam also leads our sustainable sourcing team in Ghana and around the world.
Kiri Kalenko - "Cocktail Queen" Chocolate Development Manager
Kiri studied Home Economics at university before joining Hotel Chocolat as a graduate in 2008.
“I never get tired of going into work and eating chocolate every day! My favourite has to be the Battle of the Brownies Grand Slab. I love the richness of roasted pecan with creamy caramel and high-cocoa milk chocolate.”
Kiri is responsible for creating new recipes for Hotel Chocolat and our Tasting Club and specialises – as you might have guessed – in cocktail-inspired chocolates such as the Lady Marmalade presented in our documentary, Chocolate Dreams - Inside Hotel Chocolat.
Rhona MacFadyen - "Chocolate Sculptress" Senior Chocolatier
Rhona did a Master’s Degree in Art before seeing an advertisement for a job as a chocolatier in Scotland back in 2005.
“I had always liked food and the creative element really appealed to me. I came to Hotel Chocolat in 2007 and the rest as they say is history!”
Rhona is responsible for new areas of innovation, including the creation of our bespoke chocolate moulds, which she develops by modelling and sculpting in chocolate. She also made “Iggy the Chocolate Iguana” who is now on display at our Borough Market restaurant, Rabot 1745.
Emma Cope – “Chocolate Wizard” Couverturier
When new cocoa beans arrive at our Inventing Room, it’s Emma who sets to work roasting and conching to find the best possible flavour profile.
“My favourite? Our Colombia 53% Caramelised Milk. With more cocoa and milk than sugar, the caramel flavour reminds me of Bonfire night!”
David Demaison – “Guru” Executive Development Chef
David’s background is classically grounded in French cuisine, from his family bakery to his development as a pastry chef, working around the world in Michelin-starred restaurants.
David is responsible for the development of our cocoa cuisine menu for our award-winning resort on Saint Lucia, as well as developing our café range and innovative Hotel Chocolat products such as the Velvetiser and our Velvetised Chocolate Cream.
Panayiotis Panagiotou – “King of Roast and Conch” Operational Couverturier
Panayiotis – or Yoddy for short – worked as a Senior Sales Adviser in our Cambridge store before taking up the chocolatier’s palette knife. Following this he moved to our artisanal bean-to-bar manufactory in Cambridgeshire to oversee production and quality.
“It’s hard to pick just one regional cocoa as your favourite, but if I had to, I’d say Ecuadorian.”
Tarow Loke – “Patisserie Princess” Chocolatier
Tarow started off working for Hotel Chocolat as a temporary Sales Assistant in our Cambridge store before training as a chocolatier.
“I have to say, I love our salted caramel. Salted Caramel Cheesecake, Salted Caramel Hot Chocolate, salted caramel anything!”.
Tarow is famous for her iconic pudding-inspired chocolates, including Carrot Cake and Treacle Tart.