Most chocolatiers have roots that are fairly easy to follow. However, Bill McCarrick, master chocolatier of the British company Sir Hans Sloane Chocolate, has travelled a wide path, making his journey harder to categorize. Bill was, in fact, born in the United States. He spent a lot of time in Philadelphia, where his grandmother introduced him to the joys of chocolate at the tender age of six years old. So, is Bill McCarrick an American chocolatier or a British chocolatier? It would be safe to say that he is the perfect melding of both, with a healthy sprinkle of experience garnered from world travels and studies.
It isn’t at all surprising that Bill McCarrick decided to surround himself with food and flavour. In fact, his young life was largely defined by food. Bill was raised by a father who was a butcher that had a distinct love affair with sausage. He delivered meats to his father’s customers, including local restaurants. This opened up opportunities for Bill at a very young age. He began apprenticing at a restaurant nearby, officially selecting the direction for his life journey.
Bill’s career officially began when he had completed his college education. Bill graduated from the Academy of Culinary Arts at New Jersey’s Atlantic Cape Community College in 1984. This respected chef training program encouraged students to reach for the stars and be competitive worldwide. Bill certainly internalized this message as he continued his training.
While the degree from the Academy of Culinary Arts opened doors for Bill, he wasn’t done with his learning yet. In fact, he immediately went to Switzerland and Austria to learn chocolate making from the recognized world leaders in the craft. He obtained specialized schooling in chocolate making at the Evald Notter Sugar School in Switzerland. He later spent time at the renowned Valhrona Chocolate School in France. In about a year’s time from his graduation from New Jersey’s Academy of Culinary Arts, McCarrick had become recognized in Switzerland with respected professional positions, as well as coveted awards, including a gold medal.
After thoroughly absorbing all that the chocolate masters had to offer across Europe, Bill McCarrick spent several years traveling the world, creating confections and making a name for himself. He spent time in Australia, the Philippines and Malaysia. Bill also gained experience in several major Asian locations, including Taiwan and Hong Kong. During his time in Malaysia, Bill McCarrick broke the glass ceiling, so to speak, becoming the first executive pastry chef at a 5-star establishment that wasn’t European. This accomplishment made the chocolate and pastry community perk right up and pay attention to this up-and-coming chef.
By 2001, McCarrick had determined that it was time to settle down and choose a place to call home. He moved to London, where the world-recognized Harrods department store placed Bill in charge of all the baking the store was responsible for. Bill McCarrick oversaw all chocolates, pastry and cakes. His goods appeared in restaurants, food courts, and all outlets that Harrods supplied to. Bill McCarrick served celebrities, including Donald Trump and is actually one of an elite group of people holding a patent on a food product. Until Bill patented his layered cake, no other UK chef had attempted the feat.
After several successful years with Harrods, Bill McCarrick heard the call that many of his competitors had already yielded to: it was time for him to break away on his own; he founded Sir Hans Sloane Chocolates. The company was named after a British explorer, botanist and friend of Sir Isaac Newton. Sir Hans Sloane was one of the first people to realize that milk and cocoa beans were perfect partners.
Since opening Sir Hans Sloane Chocolates, Bill McCarrick has continued his success and renown. He has won many awards for his chocolate, including a gold medal from the 2007 World Chocolate awards for his organic dark chocolate and three gold stars at the 2009 Great Taste Awards. Bill sells milk and dark chocolate, as well as hot chocolate. He works closely with growers, preferring an unconventional cocoa bean preparation that is over-fermented and under-roasted. He is one of the few British chocolate manufacturers that conches his own chocolate.