My Most Memorable Meal: Christine Taylor, Co-founder of Choccywoccydoodah
September 16, 2014
Posted in Memorable Meals
In 2005 Choccywoccydoodah were invited to Pinewood studios to present the set director, the set designer and the film product placement man with some of our chocolate for the Charlie and the Chocolate Factory film, made by Tim Burton.
My business partner, also Christine, and I packed a van full with our chocolate loveliness and cakes and headed north to Slough.
It was a snowy day, we wore woollies and jeans, expecting to deliver our wares, jump back into the van to head back to the seaside and await their call.
The office we had to set up the chocolate display in was a white box, with white furniture and soft furnishings.
We became so anxious that we actually made some of the chocolate pieces melt with our raised body temperatures. We had also lugged some extraordinarily heavy bits of chocolate up 4 flights of stairs in our woolly jumpers in a building that had terribly efficient central heating. Everything we touched became smeared with chocolate. The sofas, the cushions, the tables, the chairs. Everything. Once we had completely (accidentally) ruined the room and maximised our humiliation, we went to leave. At that point, Peter Young, 3 times Oscar winner and set decorator for all Tim Burtons best films, arrived and blocked our exit. We had been warned about Peter, a reputation for being difficult, demanding and a perfectionist. From the door, he assessed the mess we had made and the work we had brought with us and announced we were to have lunch immediately.
We followed Peters giant strides, running behind him, slipping on ice and snow, wildly unkempt and smothered in chocolate. Finally we were led into an intimidating, posh, wood panelled restaurant full of movie stars, directors and glamorous ladies. Heads turned as we panted our way to the most enormous table in the room where the rest of Peter’s team joined us.
I was so far akimbo I couldn’t read the menu. I ordered the first things on the menu simply by pointing. Fish for starter and fish for main course. I’m allergic to fish. The other Christine requested the same, but luckily, she loves fish. I spent the whole meal listening to Peter, looking at the cast of James Bond and making fish on my plate so small that it managed to hide under my knife. My knife, however was hovering six inches above my plate with the effort of covering up half the contents of the North Sea.
We did end up in the film. I did waltz (literally) past the Bucket’s house, towards Wonka’s great factory, in the arms of Peter, who has stayed in touch ever since.
It might’ve been one of the best meals I’ve ever had.
Christine is chief chocolatier and co-founder of chocolate shop extraordinaire and Brighton institution Choccywoccydoodah. Needing a change of direction former Graphic Designer Christine got together with friend and former tax analyst Christine Garratt to open a tiny café in Brighton, an empty shop next door provided the opportunity for the business to expand while a bottle of gin, slight hysteria at having the keys to another premises (and little money to run it) and an overwhelming need for chocolate all aligned to what would become Choccywoccydoodah.
That was back in 1994. On the eve of the shop opening the pair were horrified to discover that the precious stock they’d spent months collecting didn’t even fill half of the shelves. With less than 24 hours until doors open time they hit the kitchen and baked cakes. Christine remembers that as the time drew on the cakes became more and more wobbly and fantastical. The shelves were filled and the cakes sold out.