Chocolate by Miss Witt with thanks to Michel Roux
PUBLISHED: 12:01 12 November 2013 | UPDATED: 12:01 12 November 2013
From peppermint creams to chocolate dreams, Kerry Witt has had to battle to get to where she is today - and it's all thanks to Michel Roux
Even from a young age, Kerry enjoyed making and giving away chocolates as presents; with her peppermint creams dipped in chocolate being a particular favourite. After leaving school she embarked on a career as a pastry chef and soon found herself working alongside Alex Aitkens at Le Poussin in Brockenhurst. Her dream job consisted of creating and designing dessert menus, making ice creams, sorbets, and, in particular ensuring that each selection of petit fours was interesting and unique.
Gaining inspiration from the likes of Michel Roux and her good friend Rebecca Kinsella, who has worked as a pastry chef for the President at The White House, Kerry constantly sought to be creative with her flavours and textures.
All was going well until, at 24, Kerry had to undergo a double disc replacement in her back. This led to arthritis and before long she wasn’t able to stand for long hours in the kitchen. Rather than give up on her dream however, Kerry was determined to pursue her career, she says: “It was very hard for me, but somehow I have found the strength to never give up. When I was diagnosed with arthritis I spent many days looking at all my Michel Roux dessert books, feeling like I needed to get back to all the beautiful scents and aromas of a being a pastry chef but not knowing how I could do it without the long hours. One day my good friend at Naked Jam, Jennifer Williams asked me to make some chocolates for a customer of hers and the concept was born!”
Going from a busy kitchen to working on her own was a new concept for Kerry; and she struggled at first with not having anyone to offer opinions on her recipes. Slowly she began to give them out to her local community to try; and their feedback enabled her to build on her brand.
Taking flavour combinations from her past experience as a pastry chef and using the seasons to dictate her collections mean that Kerry can use locally sourced ingredients from nearby, or even from her own kitchen garden. She sells her chocolates every Saturday at Lymington market and also runs chocolate parties for groups who want to try before they buy. As her reputation grows, her chocolates are now being taken by local boutique hotels and individual stockists within the surrounding area so keep an eye out for her uniquely flavoured selections.
Length of time in business: 12 months
Number of employees: Just myself
Ethos: For chocolates to look as beautiful as they taste, with every mouthful taking you on a journey to flavour discovery
Location: New Milton – Pop Up Shop Lymington Market every Saturday
Contact: www.chocolatebymisswitt.com, 07855 787638