Meet the Maker | Karen Waller, Rococo Chocolates

Each week we ‘meet a maker’ from a Walpole member company, shining a light on the highly skilled craftspeople creating British luxury products and experiences. Today, introducing Karen Waller, Head Chocolatier at Rococo Chocolates.

What I do

Our kitchen mostly focuses on the Rococo Couture ganache and Choc-à-Porter selections, as well as seasonal ranges and other wonderful things. It’s a dynamic and interactive environment of trainees and chocolatiers working together in sometimes incredibly demanding peaks of production like Christmas and Easter.

I’ve worked with chocolate for 10 years now, and my role as Head Chocolatier is to organise and coordinate production, but also to train my young team, passing on a myriad of skills and my reservoir of knowledge. To become a skilled chocolatier requires years of dedication. I’m still on the floor every day, and I think that’s important as I try to transmit my work ethos to my trainees. I also do the product development, leading my team to be as creative and innovative as we can be – we do like to challenge ourselves, and I don’t like to be beaten by something! We’ve developed a unique range of Roald Dahl-inspired bars, and some great, top award-winning chocolates; from Popcorn-infused inventions to triple-layered Mojito truffles and Yuzu ganaches. Attention to detail and quality is paramount in my kitchen. I want my team to really care about what they’re doing, and understand why they’re doing it. It’s one of the things that defines our chocolates, and the Rococo brand as a whole.

Why I love it

Every day I get to work with a medium which fascinates me, and which I love to eat! I’m driven by an interest in food and produce, and I find chocolate to be a fascinating blend of art and science. The feeling I get when I know I’ve created something really special, that others are going to love, is fantastic. Our industry gatherings are full of people with the same passions, and we never stop learning. There’s always a new origin or technique to discover. It’s fair to say that our involvement in chocolate becomes all-consuming. I recently visited the beautiful Caribbean island of Grenada and the ethical Grenada Chocolate Company, who Rococo work closely with. It only served to deepen my love for what I do, and for this incredible material which is chocolate.

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