The Sugar Masters of the World

Series: Season 1

Paul Joachim: A Pioneer in Sculpted Edible Chocolate Artistry

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Paul Joachim is an internationally-acclaimed chocolatier, sculptor, speaker, and live performer. Paul has been reaching, transforming and inspiring audiences and Chocolate Connoisseurs through speaking, chocolate sculpting and tasting events. A prolific confectioner, often hailed as the “Chocolate Genius” who can easily be called a modern day “Willy Wonka” .

He is not only famous for his legendary chocolates tastings but also as a world renowned artist whose distinctive traits of pushing the boundaries in the field of Chocolate Art and innovation make him a force to reckon.

He has not only achieved mastery over his art medium with his relentless innovations over the decades. You would have seen this flamboyant Chocolatier, speed sculpting many a jaw dropping chocolate sculptures, “Live”, at exclusive private and corporate parties and public events around the globe.

With a career that spans 10 years, his pursuit of perfection and innovation has elevated the chocolate industry to new heights. From amazing likenesses of celebrity clients to vibrant and detailed icons, logos and architectural structures, Paul, sculpts them all in the highest quality edible chocolate. Attending his Chocolate hosting or speed sculpting sessions is like entering a fascinating world of a sensorial experience with chocolate that transcends the ordinary. The Chocolate Genius has been seen on shows such as CBS’ The Talk, Food Network, and Australia’s Today Show, and his clients have included Oreo, Universal Studios, the NBA, billionaires, and Fortune 500 brands. His wonderful legacy in creating a world of possibilities in the field of Cocoa innovative confections makes him stand apart as a trailblazing Master Chocolatier.

We are truly lucky and honoured to Interview the “Chocolate Genius” himself who despite having busy end-of-year calendar, took time for our readers to share some insights into his career and share with us some candid and exclusive untold stories from his Phenomenal Chocolate world and how decades of commitment to his craft helped him break ground and carve his ‘niche”. Here are some snippets from his interview with our Staff Reporter Ancy James, narrated in his own words.

Maestro unveiled: A Profound Dialogue with a Master Artist and his story of passion and Chocolate Artistry
Ancy:
Please share with our viewers a bit about you phenomenal career path and the milestones that have shaped you as the world’s most renowned chocolatier? How do see yourself reinvent yourself and your Business in the year 2024?
Paul:
“I’ve hosted virtual chocolate experiences for participants in over 35 countries including groups entirely from India,Ireland,Taiwan, and others. I am very proud the experiences resonate regardless of the culture of the participants. I’ve sculpted live with in-person chocolate experiences in Australia, Asia, Europe, Canada, South America, and the US.

I’ve been recognized as one of the top master chocolatiers in the world with audiences in every continent besides Antarctica. I’ve been on national TV shows all around the world including Today Show Australia, UK’s Wonderful World of Chocolate, CBS’ The Talk, Fox and Friends, multiple Food Network shows along with an assortment of other national TV appearances.

Starting in 2024, I will be Vice President of the non for- profit, Heirloom Cacao Preservation Fund giving me further leverage to make an impact on our world, improving the lives of farmers which in-turn helps preserve the beauty of our world for all our children and future generations. Speaking at opening keynotes and hosting high-profile chocolate events allows me to get in front of influential global audiences to educate and inspire them through language, visual chocolate art and perspective shifting tastings.

My dedication for the rest of my career is to enrol, inspire, educate global audiences about the ‘why’ behind sustainability using chocolate as the ultimate case study. Chocolate connects with the widest audience possible and is the perfect medium to move the needle in preserving the beauty of our world. “

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Ancy:
Having achieved so much in your field what would you say are the key, inspiring qualities that you admire in an artist, especially edible art/ Chocolate art which makes them successful and relevant in an ever changing world?

Paul:
“There are so many talents across the world that inspire me on a daily basis. What inspires me the most is a huge leap in skillset from anyone. I’ve watched so many of us grow immensely through the years. Learning to allow
vulnerability to take over giving them new found abilities that didn’t previously exist. The dedication, the passion, the drive, and growth I witness is such an inspiration and drives my own work. “

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Ancy:

What do you feel is the ‘Niche’ quality of your work which keeps you so committed to your craft. Please share some
memorable and unforgettable chocolate experiences or memorable events?

Paul:
“We leverage the connective power of chocolate to engage, educate, and inspire our audience into action. Our work is about mindfulness, intention, education, and purpose. We often work directly with our clients to include their own mission and convey this through our chocolate experiences. For example, we did a chocolate experience in Detroit this year for Children’s Miracle Network to promote children’s mental health. The famous American football player
Barry Sanders was the surprise guest. Knowing this, I decided to tell the story of sports and its impact on mental and
physical health transitioning into the origin stories of the chocolate. The chocolate sculpture was a life-size girl playing football. Late when I addressed the audience, I asked the VIP audience of 225 if they played sports when they
were kids. I asked them to reflect on what impact it made on their mental and physical health. Interacting with them live and part of the benefit was being outdoors, breathing the fresh air and being among the trees. I transitioned that into asking the audience if they knew what wild foraged is. And I told a beautiful story of chocolate manufacturer, Felchlin, and their partnership with the indigenous Chimane’s that harvest cacao growing wild in the rainforest of
Bolivia. And that’s where the chocolate they are enjoying comes from. I also showed then first hand the raw cacao pods that I had brought with me, giving the audience the unique opportunity not just to see a cacao pod for the first
time, but to taste a raw bean right from the pod! Through the work we are doing at Heirloom Cacao Preservation Fund our mmission is to preserve these incredible cacao varietals that represent the beauty of our world in all its
raw authentic flavor and experience. All of these unique, wonderful, and rare cacao varietals are in danger of going
extinct. This is not hyperbole. Talk to a cacao farmer and they will tell you that the struggle of climate change or other economic realities is real and directly affects their ability to harvest, sell, and produce cacao. So, to answer the question directly, the highlight of my work is creating human connections, engaging, educating, and inspiring through chocolate experiences. Our audience experiences the experience of sustainability.”

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Ancy:

How do you prepare yourself in an everchanging world which constantly demands innovation. Post covid pandemic what changes do you see in the chocolate world and in your business. How did you adapt your business to the new
demand of this new phase ?

Paul:
“Great question. It’s tough in any business big or small, especially a small business to continue to reinvent and innovate almost on the fly. I have set up an advisory board which helps to be proactive and future thinking. We discuss what business might look like in 6 months to a year. Then it’s up to me and my team to put things into place to adjust and react to these realities. I keep track of economic and industry news which greatly affects my business. Most of my client base is corporate with corporate moods and trends directly affecting my business. Post covid pandemic, in person chocolate experiences have kicked in.

It was a great time to reinvent our services. We went from one live event during covid, to a multitude of high-profile, exciting in person chocolate events since June. A few highlights include The Chocolate Genius headlining the Kid power Colorado annual fundraiser where I sculpted a life-size child on stage, speaking to the audience of
450 including a plated high end chocolate tasting.I had the honor of being opening keynote speaker at an invite only sustainability conference in Virginia with an audience of the most influential sustainability corporate executives in the world. This included a beautiful chocolate sculpture of a 4 foot jaguar and toucans plus a chocolate and wine tasting. Another was out in Vegas where I sculpted two celebrities and hosted 3 chocolate experiences over three days for a major hotel brand and luxury auto manufacturer. Including 1500 custom shaped chocolate takeaways.

We are still doing a surprising amount of virtual chocolate events as well. December 2023 we will have about the same amount of participants we have had in the past 2 years with over 20 virtual chocolate events each December that have included participants in over 35 countries.”

 

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Ancy:
Tell us about you personal favourite chocolate confections?

Paul:
“It feels amazing to purchase chocolate directly from cacao farmers I know personally around the world. The chocolate is simply the best quality with the sophistication of fine wine varieties. Chocolate from Rex at Puentespina Farms in the Philippines is simply one of the best chocolates I’ve ever had. The 70% dark chocolate color is light similar to the color of milk chocolate. The taste is floral, nutty, and fruity taking on the flavor of the local soil, the air, the plants, and trees of the Davao region. Chocolate at this level makes me pause and reflect on the rare beauty and uniqueness our world has to offer. ”

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Ancy:
Which chocolate events turn out to be most meaningful for you are a profession and remain the closest to your heart?

Paul:
“Being opening keynote speaker for an invite-only audience of the largest corporations in the world and their executives was an incredible honor. This opportunity means more to me than any award or formal recognition. The trust and acknowledgement from my client to have me as opening keynote speaks volumes about my commitment to
positive human connection and my growth as a sustainability educator through chocolate.”

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Ancy:
As an Artist you constantly put yourself and your work out in the world to be judged and admired. You must be used to always having the spotlight on you! How do you motivate yourself to continue being so “high functional” to create such innovative and challenging masterpieces each and every time.

Paul:
“It comes down to giving up labels, societal right and wrongs, good and bad – and discovering and being fully self-expressed through our authentic selves. This allows me to unleash abilities on levels not otherwise possible.
By giving up judgment, I allow the power of the universe to flow through me and generate my performance. I feel the
connective oneness between us all, and it provides me with an immense sense of purpose regardless of how I’m feeling externally or internally. When I’m in this space, I get myself into a flow state where time slows to a crawl, my skills become precise executing at lightning speed. It’s a practice of shifting  consciousness on the fly that connects at the highest levels without relying on language. Giving myself the focus and abilities needed to perform at the highest
levels.”

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Ancy:

What are the qualities that remain the mainstay of your business ? What efforts do you take to retain it ?Pl share with us some memorable visceral chocolate experiences that you offer to you clients in detail!?

Paul:
“I strive for perspective altering experiences. Providing my audience with a new possibility and relationship with chocolate and themselves. Everyone has such a strong, visceral relationship with chocolate. Even those that don’t care for chocolate have a strong response. I am able to offer a platform for altering the audiences relationship with
chocolate showing them new possibilities in life. Life isn’t fixed or static, there is a whole world of new possibilities yet to be discovered.

I achieve this by creating a safe space of mindfulness, discovery, and joy for the audience. I take all the senses into account – all aspects of taste, varying textures, visual senses, and even the audible experience of eating the chocolate. With my chocolate tastings I start with dark chocolate and end with the white. Which is the opposite of any tasting I’ve ever heard of.

This alone demonstrates there really are no ‘rules’ – only the rules that we develop through creating new possibilities. It’s a gorgeous balance and harmony of flavors, textures, visual simulation in each tasting that surprises and delights.

One of my personal favorites is a 35% FelchlinOpus Blanc white chocolate with dried tarragon, raw wildflower honey, black lava salt, and orange zest paired with a New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc. First of all, the visual look at the chocolate provides a sense of intrigue with green of the tarragon, the medium size grain of black lava salt, the vibrance of the raw wildflower honey along with the fresh orange zest juxtaposed with the creamy off-white color of the chocolate. All of these ingredients have a beautiful origin story in itself. Each element flows beautifully with or without the wine. When the Sauvignon Blanc is added, the acidity of the wine balances perfectly with the sweetness and rich cacao butter creaminess of the white chocolate. New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc has an earthy background that is pulled out by the tarragon’s own earthiness and slight licorice profile. The black lava salt tells your brain you’re in the act of eating and helps create a richer, bolder flavor experience of each and every ingredient. The orange zest’s essential oils are released and coats your palate acting as a bridge for all the flavors simultaneously enhancing the citrus profile of the wine. This is the methodology I apply to all my chocolate recipes and pairings. Whether that be with wine, spirits, beer, or just the chocolate itself. ”

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Ancy:
How do you recharged from the longs hours that Chocolate and cake work demands?

Paul:
“One of my favorite things to do is to be out in the forest. Especially hiking or jogging through winding trails. Taking in the aroma of the trees, the leaves, and the soil. Feeling the impact of my feet on the sand alternating with the roots or hitting splashes of water. Hearing the rustle of leaves dancing in the breeze, or running with a majestic alligator swimming in sync with me along the river bank.
I’ve also been practicing “Hatha yoga” since the past few decades. Yoga practice provides me the physical and mental
balance along with strength and peace that I require I need to offset the stress of high-profile, high-stake chocolate events.”

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Ancy:
Tell us about some healthy habits that you have acquired that help you stay at the top of you professional game?

Paul:
“I recently became vegan to help with my personal health and the health of the world. I was vegetarian for 10 years
when I was younger and then incorporated meat back into my diet. As I’ve gotten older, I’ve dedicated myself to
revitalising our communities and our planet. Becoming vegan is a natural progression of this effort. Another important thing I do is recognise when my stress levels are high I actively pause and breathe and out. This diaphragmatic breathing technique helps me reset and get back to being present, focused, and effective. ”

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Ancy:
Your favourite sculpting tool?

Paul:
“When I sculpt I use a paring knife and one wooden clay tool as my go to’s. Anything else is optional. ”

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Ancy:
What is the best “Business advice” that you have ever been given?

Paul:
“Focus on what you are the most passionate about. Full-stop. Creating a business with authentic purpose will feed your soul and fill your pocket book at the same time. ”

Ancy:
With decades of being successful what advice would you give new sugar and Chocolate aspirants? Do share tips and
techniques you use to stay so highly motivated and creative.

Paul:
“Focus. Focus. Focus. Don’t try to do too many things. Get extremely good at very few things. Take your passion, your skill set and align that with consumer or corporate needs and trends. Look forward 6 months to a year to make
adjustments to these products and services so you’re not left with cash flow issues. If this isn’t your skill-set,
surround yourself with advisors that do have this knowledge. Corporate advisors, marketing, sales, accounting, brand development, etc. Be patient, be smart, be resilient, and be fierce in your approach with the utmost integrity. Find purpose in your business. When this isaccomplished, your business is no longer separate from who you are. It becomes an extension of your authentic self. You get up each day motivated to connect with others regardless of how you are feeling any given day. Take calculated risks and don’t hold back. Give yourself up to the process, be daring and bold in your own, authentic way. Don’t strive to be something you are not. Embrace and accept yourself just asis.

There is no perfection in reality.
There is only the practice of inquiry, observation, and acknowledgement. When we practice this space of compassion, the need for expectation dissolves into irrelevance. Self moves to the background and oneness takes over.

Nothing matters beyond the consciousness of singular oneness where intellect moves the background and the immense knowledge of the universe generates your life. This keeps me motivated regardless of how tired I am, how many negative thoughts come into play, how much my body hurts or if my mind is telling me a “no”. My practice of
vulnerability, letting go and reshifting my mindset into connective oneness and purpose fires me up and gets me past my perceived limitations. “

Ancy:
What according to you are some qualities that an Chocolate/Cake Artist must avoid at all costs?

Paul:
“Being caught up in jealousy of others, lack of innovation, lack of vulnerability, lack of patience, lack of purpose
and/or not honouring the connective power of chocolate/Cake to bring out the oneness in us all.”

Ancy:
Heartfelt thanks for taking the time to answer our questions and sharing you valuably insights. Last question of
the interview. Have you ever travelled to India?Would you like to ?

Paul:
“I have so many connections in India yet I haven’t visited up to this point. I’ve worked in-person with Rintu Rathod from Mumbai. She created India’s very first chocolate Ganesha along with being heavily involved in humanitarian work and sustainability. I’m totally enthralled and proud that we are part of each other’s journey’s in life. I partner with chocolatier Girija Tatke, also from Mumbai, to help create virtual kits for our Indian based participants. I’ve had the immense pleasure of teaching chocolate sculpting to Shobha Tallapaka, who lives in the US, and Harsiddhiba Jadeja Rana from Bhuj, India. In turn, my own personal growth has blossomed to new heights through their sharing and exchange of energy. The results of each and every one of these interactions has been nothing less than a miracle. I have countless fans from India and I appreciate and love you all. The Indian culture, the food, the values, and the people resonate with my soul with any trip to India would be like touching the essence of my authentic self. ”

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Thanks to all for being with us on this journey with The “Chocolate Genius” Paul also went on to tell us how he would like to be known as an individual that helped preserve the beauty of our world for ourselves and our children. Through inspiring and educating the world unforgettable chocolate experiences and allowing them to actively reconnect with their authentic selves, each other, and our earth. Each of his chocolate masterpieces are a culmination of a lifetime dedicated to the perfection of his craft. He is the undisputed enduring world icon in the sweet symphony of Chocolate Art. He not only has emerged an effortless chocolate maestro always bringing his A- game with each of his unique chocolate masterpiece but also has actively contributed to elevating the status of all Chocolatiers worldwide. As he continues to evolve and innovate through his craft his impact on the world of chocolates is defines to endure and that would always be his Legacy. Inspiring a collective and compassionate
appreciations for the art and science of chocolate making .
Interview by Ancy James

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