William Curley

Posted on January 13, 2013 by  Lee Mccoy

Unlike some famous names in chocolate, William Curley was not born into a family where it was inevitable that he make this career choice. Born on October 29, 1971 to Scottish parents in Methal and raised for most of his childhood in Fife, William has distinctly working class roots, with his father supporting the family as a dock worker. Despite the humble beginnings, it wasn’t long before William Curley realized that he wanted to devote his life to fine food.

William Curley – Early Career

William was first exposed to cooking and baking by his grandmother. His formal schooling commenced at Glenrothes College and, as a young man, William apprenticed at Gleneagles Hotel. The patisserie truly began to shine, however, when the award of the William Heptinstall Scholarship opened the doors for Curley to train in extensively in France, beginning in 1996. During his time in France, William trained with renowned dessert and pastry chefs including Marc Meneau, Marco Pierre White and Raymond Blanc. These opportunities opened up a long-term position in London at The Savoy, where Curley held the title of Chef Patisserie. He was only 27 when he gained this position and was the youngest Chef Patisserie The Savoy had ever hired.

Significant Events at The Savoy

Working at The Savoy was significant to both the career and personal life of William. During his time there, he won numerous awards, including the British Dessert of the Year. He also competed and won titles in several events at the Culinary Olympics. Besides professional success, The Savoy brought a great deal of personal fulfilment for William, as he met and married his colleague Suzue, who was most known for hosting the The Savoy’s Afternoon Tea. Suzue is originally from Japan and worked as a patisserie at The Savoy. She moved to London and was already a patisserie there while William was still training in France. William and Suzue formed a fast bond and today, they work together closely in the family business that they both founded.

Move to Independence

By 2004, the Curley’s had begun to develop their own independent business plan focusing on fine chocolates. The couple opened the doors to their Richmond store in 2004. Because both of the Curley’s are professionally trained pastry chefs, it’s not surprising that the stores focus on more than just traditional chocolates. An on-site cafe brings in a full spectrum of chocolate desserts and confections for patrons. The store also has a dessert bar, breakfast bar and professional-quality classrooms where master classes are given. Because of the unique quality of the establishment and attention to detail, the Curley’s have been designated as the Best British Chocolatier for 2007, 2008 and 2009. In 2009, William and Suzue opened another chocolate and pastry shop in Belgravia. This location brings out a lot of Suzue’s Asian roots, with more exotic flavour combinations.

Corporate Values

Besides excellence in chocolate, William and Suzue, the owners of William Curley Patisserie Chocolatier, express other values in their business. When sourcing the raw ingredients for their chocolate confections, the couple have an exclusive relationship with Amedei. This company not only provides the best quality cocoa beans to clients, but also actively works to improve the living and working conditions on plantations in Venezuela, Jamaica, Ecuador and other less privileged countries.

Social priorities aren’t the only way that the Curley’s impact the community. Unlike many chocolatiers, they are extremely open to sharing their knowledge with their customers and the public. The William Curley Patisserie Chocolatier website, for example, has several recipes that are available for any patron who passes through.Chocolate making courses are held at the store locations, which feature full professional classroom and kitchen facilities and include subjects such as truffle making and caramels. The Curley’s even give a chocolate and pastry course for kids.

What Does the Future Hold?

The main priority of William Curley Patisserie Chocolatier is its two retail shops, classes and online customer base. However, the Curley’s have also spent time catering and working with local hotels to promote awareness for quality chocolate confections and gain exposure. Despite the award-winning patisseries at the helm, the company is still quite small and not always recognized. William Curley plans to continue growing the business, with his eye always on the values that began the venture, including social awareness and a community spirit.

What Does He Create?

As a trained patissier he obviously makes awesome cakes and the such like. I’ve tried a few so I can say that. At his Belgravia store you can choose his Dessert Bar Set Menu which includes; Basil Infused Ice Cream; Blackcurrant Compote; “Pain Perdu” of Golden Pineapple marinated in a spicy caramel with coconut sorbet; Sauterne poached apricots, lemon cake and almond milk ice cream; Toscano chocolate mousse, green tea crème Brule and Yuzu Jelly, Petit Fours and all for just £15. Also the dessert bar is open from 1pm to 8pm Friday and Saturday and 1pm – 6pm on Sunday. He also does a Brunch Menu and a Pancake menu too! If you’re closer into the city centre then you can have Afternoon Tea at Claridge’s.

William Harcourt-Cooze

Stephanie Bonnat

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