Chocolatier at Chocolaterie Lepinay, Lagny-sur-MarneJérôme Lepinay
“I inherited my passion for chocolate from one of my school teachers, Stanislas Suchetar. All my knowledge comes from him. I started Chocolaterie Lepinay 17 years ago. I was one of the first chocolatiers to break the code by producing little chocolates of 6 grams.
This profession, as well as the consumer, are rapidly evolving. We’re heading to fresh, authentic and fair products. The challenge is to evolve as a business while maintaining the artisan craftsmanship.
In this profession, you have got to accept criticism. There was a time when I was timid compared to my fellow chocolatiers. Today, I feel more confident about myself. This allows me to meet interesting people with whom I exchange information. That’s what inspires me. Other sources of inspiration are travel and curiosity. My flavours and inspiration change constantly. One of the few chocolates that has remained the same is the Lychee. I created it 17 years ago and it’s a tribute to my country of birth, Réunion Island. But inspiration is not only based on flavour, it also works visually. Nowadays decorations are very minimalistic.
“I’ve always had doubts about everything I created. I felt a bit timid comparing myself to fellow chocolatiers. Today I can say with confidence: yes, I am at their level. My lack of confidence is gone.”
My first encounter with Callebaut was when I did my apprenticeship. Today I work almost exclusively with Callebaut. What I like most about the brand is the flexibility and workability of the products.
I created a chocolate tartlet infused with tonka bean. I wanted to keep the strong cacao taste and add a softer flavour. I love working with spices and infusions. The tonka bean is one of the first herbs that really inspired me.”