Paul A. Young was born on July 28, 1973 in Yorkshire, England. The renowned British chocolatier was raised for most of his life in Trimdon Station in Durham. Trimdon Station is a small mining town, so the famous chocolate maker certainly has humble roots. Paul always intended for his schooling to lead to the culinary arts and began college life at New College in Durham where he studied hotel management and catering. He continued on this course at Leeds Metropolitan University.
As a Yorkshire native, it’s not surprising that Paul Young entered the culinary arts with several jobs at local fine restaurants. He worked hard to make a name for himself as a patisserie chef. Paul’s efforts and hard work were eventually noticed by celebrity chef Marco Pierre White, who brought Paul to London to work at The Criterion Brassiere. Marco became a mentor to Young, working him through the ranks until he gained the position of head pastry chef. This job at the Quo Vadis, Soho provided recognition that allowed Paul to catapult to the next stage of his career.
Surprisingly, when Paul Young left the restaurant business, he didn’t go straight into independent chocolate making like many of his competitors who make prominent and quality British chocolate. In actuality, he took a complete detour and started working for a large British clothing company, Marks & Spencer. He also developed products for a grocery store chain, Sainsbury’s. He was highly successful in this field as well, developing products that still sell well today. The industry was so impressed that he was nominated twice for The Award of Excellence.
While Paul’s duties didn’t include baking, dessert making or chocolate, the job did provide the catalyst for Young’s redirection to patisserie and chocolate work. Paul was still dabbling in the world of patisserie and made appearances on several television shows, including spots of the Carlton Food Network, Great Food Live and the BBC2′s popular Food and Drink series. As part of a promotional event in 2003, Paul threw together a batch of chocolate, marrying his business mind with his creativity in the kitchen. To put it mildly, Paul’s experiment with chocolate making was a massive hit and he quickly made this his next career move.
Paul had moved completely into the business of a chocolatier by 2006. He jumped into the ring with James Cronin and the twosome opened their first shop specializing in chocolate in the spring of that year. The company was named Paul A. Young Fine Chocolates and rose to prominence almost immediately. Much of this success was due to the public recognition that Paul already had via his television exposure as a quality patisserie. After only one year in business, Paul and James were the proud recipients of the Academy of Chocolate’s Best New Chocolate Shop award. That same year, they also achieved the distinction of the first British chocolatiers to have two prominent shops in the country. Other British chocolatiers gained that claim to fame, but it took them longer. For example, British chocolatier William Curley didn’t have two shops until two years later, in 2009.
As no business can exist on early momentum forever, it’s not surprising that Paul A. Young continues to distinguish himself among British chocolatiers. Paul is one of the most adventurous British chocolate makers and is not afraid to mix unusual and unconventional flavours to find the next great taste in chocolate. In fact, Paul has publicly stated that he’ll try anything, though neither garlic nor fish seem to mix well with chocolate. He uses full-bodied flavour combinations that include a strong focus on herbs, alcohol and spices.
Several of the chocolates that are considered standard at Paul Young’s shops have earned taste and flavour awards. The sea-salted caramel is particularly notable to both industry experts and customers. Other award-winning chocolates include a bergamot and honey ganache and a dark chocolate bar flavoured with cardamom and ginger. 2009 was a particularly good year for Paul A. Young Fine Chocolates, with chocolates receiving awards from both the Guild of Fine Food and the Academy of Chocolate. In all, Paul Young and partner James were awarded seven different awards that year.
Paul is mainly known for his Marmite as well as his Port & Stilton truffles, but there’s more to his talent than just those. Paul makes the best chocolate truffles and ganaches as can be seen by his House Selection which includes Champagne truffles, dark chocolate truffles, dark sea-salted rochers, hazelnut pralines, passion fruit and raspberry ganaches and the brilliant sea salted caramels. Paul also creates seasonal truffles and ganaches which are favulous too.
You can also get a range of artisan chocolate bars which I believe are made from Valrhona couverture and you can choose from a wide range including 100% dark chocolate made from Dominican, Madagascan or Venezuelan cacao, a 40% milk chocolate, a light 55% dark chocolate 64% Madagascan, 72% Venezuelan, a 85% African dark bar and various with wonderful flavourings.
Paul also offers in store baking ingredients which you could try and make brownies with, but they won’t be as good as his. Paul’s Brownies are fantstic. But if ou are going to try then you could get a Paul A. Young Apron and other bits and bobs suitable for making chocolate creations.