Paul Wayne Gregory was born in 1971 and is one of the few ethnic faces in British chocolate. In fact, early in his career a well-meaning adviser claimed that his black skin meant he would have to work ten times harder to get professional acclaim in chocolate making. While that might not have been exactly the reason why, Paul has certainly been in the trenches to get to where he is today. Instead of starting in catering, patisserie or the restaurant industry like many renowned British chocolatier competitors, Paul Wayne Gregory actually built grocery store pastries for quite a significant period of time.
While working at the supermarket chain, Paul made the determination to officially and purposefully enter the world of chocolate making. Unable to spend the money to obtain a formal and official education in the pastry arts and chocolate making, Paul instead solicited well-known chocolatiers to take him on as an apprentice. Many of these positions came with no salary. They did, however, allow him to steep himself in the art of chocolate and work with prestigious experts and institutions. His apprentice years gave him exposure to British chocolate stars, as well as several in other European countries.
After his tireless apprenticeship, Paul felt that he had the credentials and skills to go solo and open his own chocolatier business. In early 2006, Paul took out a business loan at the British bank Barclays. With his strong background and dedication, the institution helped Paul launch his trademarked Paul Wayne Gregory Chocolates. When he first began making his own confections, Paul actually worked in his brother’s kitchen. In time, he moved his operation to his Streatham home, where he often worked 90 hours during a single work week, taking only Sunday off to relax and unwind.
By the time 2007 arrived, Paul was looking at growth. The British chocolatier stated that he hoped to have the business to support not only a new dedicated production facility that wasn’t located in his home, but also both full-time and part-time help, including chefs and delivery people. Gregory focused strongly on artisan chocolates with natural ingredients and nothing artificial. Paul also launched vegan chocolates that would appeal to the more socially-conscious eater.
Paul Wayne Gregory Chocolates has built its success on several philosophical principles. The chocolatier strives for a balance of flavours that are comprised of only the finest ingredients. Because the roots of the company came from such a tiny and hands-on production philosophy, it’s not hard to see that Paul personally cares about his products. Besides flavours, Gregory is also very aware of the stylistic techniques that make artisan chocolates so appealing. Attention is given to the look of each confection. Both factors meld to form the company’s motto: “Indulgence is everything!”
During the formative years of Paul Wayne Gregory Chocolates, the British chocolatier garnered several prestigious awards. In 2005, the World Chocolate Masters award helped catapult Paul into chocolate making, while the 2006 Excellence in Food and Drink award confirmed that he had made the right move. This upward momentum continued in 2007 with two major awards from the BEEAM and Academy of Chocolate.
Today, Paul Wayne Gregory continues to achieve moderate growth. Paul has always been conservative in his business approach, taking careful risks to move where his overall goals directed. One of the most recognized talents that Paul has is his ability to mould and manipulate chocolate to create artistic masterpieces. Gregory has created custom chocolate art that mimics both the human form and machines. In addition to the obscure and sometimes bizarre, Paul creates custom chocolate packages for corporate clients such as the well-known American corporation Microsoft, as well as 30 Pavilion Road and Charlton House. Wedding parties also covet Paul Wayne Gregory’s prestigious chocolates for favours and gifts. For retail clients that need a more basic indulgence, a dozen of Gregory’s chocolates can be purchased for about fifteen British Pounds, making them quite affordable for such a luxury. The company is now headquartered in Croydon and does steady business via its sharply designed website, offering confections as varied as truffles and chocolate covered lollipops.
Interview with Paul Wayne Gregory