Richard Hemsley, Angel Chocolate
08/25/2016 11:00AM ● Published by Enjoy Magazine
What's in Store
Enjoy: Please share a bit about your background.
Richard: I am a culinary artist. I’ve had experience at every level of being in a restaurant, literally everything from washing dishes to being an executive chef and owning a restaurant. There are not too many cuisines I haven’t dabbled in.
Enjoy: How did you land in chocolate?
Richard: My first introduction to the concept of playing with chocolate started when I was 10 years old. My family gathers on Black Friday every year, but instead of going out shopping, we get together and dip chocolate. My grandmother started that tradition with her kids, and now my grandmother has passed, but the torch is being carried by my cousin and my aunt. We gather at my aunt or cousin’s house, and everybody gets to make their own center and dip in whatever chocolates we have – milk chocolate, dark chocolate, white chocolate. My grandparents were definitely chocolate enthusiasts, so I’m technically a third-generation chocolatier.
Enjoy: Your chocolate has some unique qualities – tell us more about that.
Richard: About 12 years ago, I started playing with raw chocolate after being introduced to a raw vegan lifestyle, where I learned you can have chocolate and eat healthy, too. Another chef showed me what he was doing, and I helped him produce very small batches of chocolate for different events. One of my inspirations for working with the raw chocolate is that a big portion of my family is obese, and health concerns in my family circle inspired my focus to make the best raw chocolate. When you hear the word “healthy,” people tend to want to cringe and run away because they had a traumatic experience with putting something healthy in their mouth and it didn’t taste good at all. My family’s health and well-being is my biggest drive for making the best chocolates possible. It’s very fulfilling to produce something that anybody and everybody can enjoy.
Enjoy: What types of ingredients do you use?
Richard: I use local, organic, raw ingredients. By using organic ingredients, we’re guaranteeing the flavor to be better, the nutritional value to be better and the benefits to be better, because they don’t have the chemicals that your body has to fight off. One of the benefits of raw ingredients is they have more phytonutrients and vitamins available. Even at a lower temperature, roasting destroys the nutritional value. When we use any nuts or seeds, we soak and dehydrate them in beautifully clean water, and the almonds and whole seeds will go through a germination process. The walnuts and pecans won’t germinate, but they will release tannic acids that act as enzyme inhibitors, so when you remove them, the body can absorb more of the nutrients.
Enjoy: What’s your favorite thing to make?
Richard: My favorite thing to do is replicate the less healthful types of chocolate candy. Instead of having a peanut butter cup, we have a pecan butter cup using raw premium pecans. I make things that people are familiar with, but I also
enjoy creating eclectic and dynamic flavors. I like going off into more peculiar and bizarre flavor combinations, like olive and thyme
in chocolate. It’s a little bit weird, but when you taste it, it’s a
Enjoy: What does the future hold for you?
Richard: I have hopes and dreams of building the chocolate business as a substructure of a nonprofit, where the focus is human nutrition. I would like to have educational seminars, workshops and classes for mostly school-age children, since that’s where we have the greatest hope of having a positive influence. By educating our children about what is food and what is not food, they can reach out to their parents and make the requests for more optimal food choices for their homes. I’d also like to have classes for parents and teachers so they have a stronger toolbox of information to make better choices when they are shopping or preparing foods.
Enjoy: Where can we find your chocolates?
Richard: They are available at Enjoy the Store and several other retail sites that you can find on my blog.
Enjoy: And finally, what is your mission?
Richard: To save the world, one bite of chocolate at a time.
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