Interview: Little Black Cat Gourmet
Little Black Cat Gourmet make award winning artisan chocolates, cookies and jams. Their products are suitable for vegetarians and also alcohol free! They come beautifully packaged for a special and unique gift experience. I was lucky enough to interview Little Black Cat Gourmet about their business.
Hello! Thank you so much for letting me interview you. How are you?
I’m good thank you.
I adore your business. What made you decide to set up your own business?
After I had my daughter, I returned to work part time. When she started nursery, I found I had more time! I used to make chocolates for family as gifts and someone suggested I should start selling them.
During that time a blogger who specialises in writing about chocolate, saw what I made on social media. She told me to be part of The Great British Spiced Chocolate Challenge. The competition was for professionals and amateurs with the judges not knowing who the competitors were. I started Little Black Cat Gourmet after doing well in this competition.
What did you call your shop Little Black Cat Gourmet?
My daughter picked the name because she loves cats!
How has your creative process changed since the start?
My process has changed a lot over time. I’ve learnt about the importance of the chocolate process and flavours.
How did you manage to learn and hone your craft?
Fellow chocolatiers have been hugely helpful in helping me learn more. In particular chocolatiers like Matthieu de Gottal and food writer Zoe Perrett. They introduced me to single origin chocolate, which is something I use almost exclusively in my chocolate making now.
Have you always been into cooking?
Yes. I grew up with my mum who loved experimenting with food and flavours. She creates traditional Pakistani food from recipes passed down for generations, but also Mughal inspired food. Every day was a banquet!
What equipment do you use for your work?
Single origin chocolate, chocolate thermometer, cocoa butter, colours, metallic powders, and moulds.
What tools or materials could you not live without?
All of the above!
Why has social media been an important platform for you to use?
Instagram has been particularly important. Chocolate for me is a work of art and the visual aspect of Instagram helps me showcase that!
Who inspires your work?
My chocolate is inspired by Mughal era art, crafts and all things gothic.
Do you have any favourite recipes that you adore at the moment?
Currently, I love the taste of lemon and chilli together in chocolate. I love the flavour of pomegranate with dark chocolate. There are lots of choices!
What do we hope to see in this up and coming year for your Instagram page and your work?
More fusion flavours, pretty items and skulls.
What are you currently working on?
Currently I am working on art bars reflecting art and flavours from a variety of countries.
What has been your favourite chocolate to make?
I loved making the large 3D skulls and playing with styles.
What’s your typical working day?
My typical working day mostly involves my day job which is in international women's legal rights. When I have some spare time, I get creative with the chocolate making and come up with new designs!
Do you have any exciting plans for this year?
I found it difficult to find packaging to reflect my chocolate style when I started. I ended up designing the packaging myself. I hand print my own products, alongside gold embossing and painting. This has expanded me to make handmade cards and other art forms. I will be launching a separate handmade business soon with handmade cards, art canvases and homeware.
What is your career plan with your business?
Last year, I had the opportunity to create bespoke chocolates for two large weddings. It was very fun to create something themed that reflects a couple's particular style and be a part of a special day. I would love to be able to move more into weddings.
What’s been the biggest struggle in getting your business off the ground?
The biggest challenge has been marketing! It is very hard when you don't have a budget for it. Getting noticed is definitely a challenge.
What's the best piece of creative advice you've ever been given?
Create what you love!