Things you might know about Wendy Boys: she runs a chocolate company called Cocolio, she was a pastry chef at Lumiere and she’s a brand ambassador with coffee company Van Houtte. Things you might not know about Wendy Boys: she has a fluffy black poodle who grins in Instagram shots (and, I assume, at other times and in other media), we shop at the same grocery store (which looks dodgy but has an impressive selection of local and seasonal produce) and she’s one of the most humble people I’ve met (insert tangential comment here).
Wendy’s vanilla sea salt caramels were noted by Vancouver magazine as one of their things to taste before you die, and not without reason. Those same caramels won a silver medal in the 2012 Canadian National Competition of the International Chocolate Awards. I spoke to Wendy last fall. Here’s what we talked about.
What is Cocolico known for?
We make chocolates, caramels, confections and delicious dessert sauces.
How did you come to chocolate?
I was a pastry chef before I laser-beam focused on chocolate. The aha! moment happened while I was at Ecole du Grand Chocolat at Valrhona, in 2004. I was there with eight other pastry chefs and they were all from the USA. We were doing plated desserts but it was being at Valrhona—touring the factory, being immersed in the culture, quality, passion—that was really when I was like, wow, this is really something. I’d been a pastry chef for a while by then and still found pastries and desserts interesting, but I found chocolate so challenging that I was like, okay game on, I’ve gotta figure this one out. From then on the idea crystallized: one day I’m going to have my own chocolate company. Now it’s 8 years later, and I do have one.
What’s the best part of your job?
Opening a fresh bag of milk chocolate and eating the first pistole. It’s quality control. I couldn’t dream this big, to be quite honest. I thought it would be a tiny little company, me and my pot of chocolate, and that’s really not what it is anymore. I’m ecstatic every day that we’ve been able to grow it organically and employ the amazing people that I do. It makes me really excited. The graphic designer that I work with, she’s wonderful. And even down to my accountant, bookkeeper, lawyer, the people I’ve chosen to be in business with, it makes me really excited.
What’s the most challenging part of your job?
What would you do if you weren’t making chocolates?
I had this conversation with my husband yesterday. I should have been a dentist, but I’m not sure that I could actually be a dentist. I’d do something creative. I went to art school before culinary school, so certainly something like graphic arts, interior design, industrial design.
(Note: This post should not be interpreted as an endorsement of Wendy Boys or Cocolico. My intention is to highlight the chocolatiers that win medals in the International Chocolate Awards.)