Job Envy: Brian Pelletier
Kakao Chocolate owner Brian Pelletier is living the sweet life. After leaving corporate America to start his own business, he now works with truffl es, caramels and bacon brittle on a daily basis. Heres a look at the delicious job of a chocolatier.
Brian Pelletier, 43, Owner/Chocolatier, Kakao Chocolate
@bpelletier2301 S. Jefferson Ave., Fox Park; 7272 Manchester Rd., Maplewood
Résumé Highlights: I had been working in the marketing and communications
industry for 20 years at Fleishman-Hillard. I realized it was time to make a change but wasn’t sure the direction to take. I knew that I wanted to have my own business and work with food. A friend of mine had started a chocolate business, Kakao Chocolate, and was selling her equipment, so I bought it and started learning the ropes of chocolate making.
Education: Degree in Technical Communications from the University of
Minnesota Duluth, Masters of Business Communication from the University of St. Thomas in St. Paul.
Best Work Day Ever: I had a special moment when I first opened: A woman came into the shop and wanted to know if we could create an Earl Grey Tea chocolate for her wedding. We developed a truffle flavored with a special Earl Grey blend, and she loved it. It’s now one of our best-selling chocolates.
Why His Job Rocks: There’s unrestricted creativity in everything we do. If we’re inspired by an ingredient, whether it’s peanut butter or fire-roasted tomatoes, we’ll try it. And it’s cool to see the happiness a bite of chocolate can bring to people.
Typical Day: We taste everything, so a typical day involves making small
batches of chocolate. I buy about 500 pounds of chocolate a week, and we blend together Swiss, American and Belgium chocolates. A day might include experimenting with a new ingredient (and tasting it, of course) and making several of our regular chocolates, like truffles and sea salt caramels—and tasting.
Proudest Moment: I’m proud of my team; they’re creative and have enabled Kakao to open a second location just three years after I started.
Goals for the Future: We want to be a successful chocolate company in St. Louis—and that means making sure every customer leaves happy.
Leaving Corporate America: I really do have the best job in the world. But I also know that I have never worked harder than I do now. I’m a firm believer that if you follow your passion and really put your heart into it, the reward is greater than you could imagine.
His Favorite Chocolate Ingredients: I love working with marshmallows, spices such as peppers, honey and Missouri pecans.
The Best Chocolate-Making Advice He’s Received: Don’t listen to anyone who tells you “no” or questions your creativity. If I had, the bacon brittle, balsamic vinegar truffle and many other creations would have never been made—and they’ve been some of our most popular confections!
Kakao Chocolate owner Brian Pelletier
Photo credit: Photo by Attilio D’Agostino