Amelia Rope, Award Winning Chocolatier
“My father’s mother was an incredible cook and brought her artistic talent to food,” says Amelia. “I probably inherited her passion. I’ve certainly always had an interest in food, cooking and where the ingredients were sourced, grown and processed.
“However, my route to becoming an award winning chocolatier was not a conventional one.”
Amelia started out as a receptionist for a Korean Bank in the City. A job that was short lived. “I had no idea how the switchboard worked, couldn’t understand the Korean names and was asked to leave after the first day!” she laughs.
“I trained at the Tisserand School of Aromatherapy and studied herbal medicine and nutrition at the University of Westminster. Both experiences I now use in my own chocolate business.
“I can most certainly say that opportunity has played a big part in the making of ‘Amelia Rope Chocolate’. My appearance on Masterchef was purely by chance. I had just split up with my boyfriend and felt I was in need of a challenge, a distraction.
“I literally watched the one episode with Thomasina Meiers winning and thought that I was similar to her so why not give it a try! I downloaded the form, sent it off and was fortunate to have been chosen.
“It was an incredible experience and still totally unbelievable. I realised that my heart was in food, and that I could possibly have the talent to work with food. Being asked to compete the second year opened doors I would never have anticipated.”
Another opportunity arose when Amelia wanted to be a food journalist. She wrote to a highly respected food editor to ask for their help and was offered a meeting. As a thank you Amelia knocked up some of her award winning truffles to take along and they were so impressed that they propelled her onto the television to appear with Tanya Ramsay, making truffles on The Market Kitchen.
Amelia then had an idea and pictured in her mind; crystallised flora dipped in dark chocolate and decorated with either gold or silver leaf. Each was unique and a miniature work of art.
Never having trained as a cook, Amelia had no idea how to crystallise anything. It took three months of trial and error before she was satisfied with the result. A friend suggested that she should drop them off for food editors with her truffles and she may get a mention in six months time if she was lucky.
The crystallised rose petals and truffles quickly appeared in Stella magazine, most national papers, magazines, TV and were covered on radio. Amelia was even approached by Dragons Den.
“I am very protective of my recipes,” she says. “My sourcing is really down to making sure the cocoa beans are ethically and sustainably produced and that my chocolate has the true taste of quality. It must leave a clean taste in your mouth as well as interest and character.
“The chocolate bars are all hand made in the UK from start to finish. They are crafted from fine single origin chocolate and the flavours used are organic aromatherapy oils (food grade) and/or Maldon sea salt and now coffee beans and/or hazelnuts. I absolutely love my bars – from the packaging, which I feel is simple yet sophisticated (like me!) to the recipes and how I blend them and the way they still hold to my values of taste, quality, and purity with a hint of luxury.
“Running a chocolate company is tough and at times I could have easily just walked away but something makes me continue. When one door closes, another opens, or I get a great e-mail from a happy customer who loves my chocolate, and so I keep going.
“At the moment it is just me, and the lady who helps make the chocolate bars. I have always thought of myself as a multi tasker but nothing could have prepared me for this level of business. I am now at the stage where I hope to have some help, possibly an apprentice, and a bookkeeper. I am much better at the work-life balance now nearly a year after launching the bars and make sure I see my friends, family and have odd weekends too.
For more information and stockists visit www.ameliarope.com