(food.inspiration) boon chocolate

Recently I got to check out Corban & Blair's latest range of products at Boon Chocolates, a gourmet chocolate shop in Sydney's Darlinghurst. While I was there primarily to check out stationery, I left calculating when I could give my tastebuds another fix. You see, I have a chocolate addiction problem. But I don't want my problems to detract from the story behind Alex and Fanny Chan. They are an incredible brother and sister team that have brought very different but complementary skills together. Fanny trained in Belgium - the epicentre of the chocolate world - under one of the world's greatest chefs while Alex worked developing food products for multinational food brands. Their cultural background blends Chinese, Filipino and Spanish influences and they are so sweet and good-willed as people. To give you an idea of what I'm talking about - Alex aspires to be a social entrepreneur while Fanny wants to have a cocoa farm. If you go to the shop you really must have a chat to them. They are not only warm and giving of their time but very inspiring and interesting.

Which five words best describe you?
Alex – passionate, idealistic, enjoys people, loves music and a socialist.
Fanny – meticulous, perfectionist, obsessive, creative, and humble.

What was your first job and what path have you taken since then?
Alex – first job was a food technologists for big companies but now I really enjoy going back using only natural ingredients and to work around it. It is where real understanding and love for what we do really develops and grows.
Fanny – first real job was waking up in the morning at 3 am to do croissant. Then, I moved to pastry then fell in love with chocolates almost at an instance.

What’s your proudest achievement?
Alex – when people come to our shop and say “I am in love with Boon” there is no greater feeling than that because we put so much of our soul and energy in what we do.
Fanny – going to Belgium and told myself “I don’t know anyone but I will go there and try my luck.”

What’s been your best decision?
Alex – to be involve with Opportunity Australia because it makes you feel that you are not just working for yourself but for the society at large.
Fanny – stopping my masters degree in food tech and telling my dad “I am going to Belgium to pursue my passion for chocolates.”

Who inspires you?
Alex – Ayrton Senna – a race car driver whose passion in what he does and commitment to the poor is inspiring. Unfortunately, he passed away doing what he wants. My parents – are definitely my inspiration as I am a segment of their personality. Commitment to people in need and to make a difference ie to become a responsible “social entrepreneur”.
Fanny – Rafael Nadal – his humility and passion for improving himself is a role model for me.

What are you passionate about?
Alex – I love photography black and white (in my dark room), write poems and essays, tennis, and music (jazz and classical music especially Mahler and Schubert)
Fanny – I love going to museum, chocolates (of course), travelling, food.

What’s the best lesson you’ve learnt?
Alex – nothing is ever sure in life so always have option B or C.
Fanny – no guts no glory. Go for it and don't look back.

Which person, living or dead, would you most like to meet?
Alex – Jose Rizal – the Great Philippines National Hero. He defended the rights of the Filipino from the atrocity of the Spanish colonialists. But his vision was more on self empowerment than armed struggle. His idea was later taken up by Gandhi’s pacifist movement 50 years later India when she got its independence from Britain. He was executed for his views and his family was exiled for his belief. Apparently, he is known to be one of the smartest person who ever lived in south east asia in the modern times. Please google him.

What dream do you still want to fulfil?
Alex – I want to be a social entrepreneur and to let people know that Australia is the place where you could fulfil your dreams.
Fanny – to grow my own cocoa farm one day.

What are you reading?
Alex – I am learning Spanish now. Philippines used to be a colony of Spain and a lot of the Philippines history was written in Spanish. (I think Australia should make it mandatory to learn other languages... it opens so much opportunities to see the world.)
Fanny – learning French.

Images courtesy of Boon Chocolates