I got the chance to interview Chuck Siegel, president and founder of Charles Chocolates, via his PR firm. “Transcript” below.
1) What is your favorite mass-produced, decidedly non-gourmet, checkout aisle/vending machine-style candy bar?
Chuck Siegel: I love a frozen Snickers bars on a really hot summer day.
2) What is the most unusual chocolate you’ve ever tasted?
CS: I was at a chocolate conference a few years ago where one of the passed hors d’oeuvres was small chocolate covered squids.
3) What flavor combinations have you played with that just didn’t work?
CS: How much time do you have? In the name of experimentation, I have tried hundreds of combinations that will (rightly so) never see the light of day.
4) How does you feel about the closing of the Emeryville factory? Do you hope to recreate it, or elements of it, in the new flagship?
CS: Very sad on one level – Our 4 1/2 years in Emeryville have been fantastic, and we have developed a wonderful local following here. We are indeed planning on recreating the unique open kitchen experience that we have in Emeryville in San Francisco. I can’t say more right now, but our newsletter will have more information as soon as it can be made public.
5) Any advice for aspiring chocolate entrepreneurs?
CS: Practice, practice, practice. Seriously, you need to make sure you have mastered the craft to the point where you chocolates can stand side-by-side with the best that are out there. Beyond that, make sure to feed as many people that you don’t already know, and who will give you very honest feedback, to make sure that you are making something that people will go crazy for – there is nothing easier than getting people to buy exceptional confections.
Chocolate-covered squid? I don’t we’ll be seeing those in the candy aisle anytime soon.
Thanks, Mr. Siegel, for taking the time to answer my questions! And thanks for making delicious confections!