We are absolutely delighted to have had a conversation with Wajeeha Husain, a finalist in the Television Show – Top of the Shop with Tom Kerridge. Wajeeha is a finalist in this fantastic competition for with her great new company Chocolateeha.
The final of Top of the Shop with Tom Kerridge is on Saturday Night on BBC2 at 4.30pm but before then we thought you would all like to know more about Wajeeha and she very kindly agreed to answer some questions for Purple Conversations on how she came to be making chocolate and what is was like to be on the programme. We hope that you enjoy reading her story as much as we enjoyed speaking with her.
Wajeeha thank you for answering some questions for Purple Conversations. Firstly, Congratulations on getting into the final of the show.
What made you enter this show, and how did you find out about it.
It landed on my radar, I was doing research on the best way to make chocolate that was healthier and came across food expert Jane Arthern. I decided to email and ask for her advice. After speaking to her she told me about making a programme that was about to be made and suggested I emailed them with all my details of what I was doing. I had a Skype meeting two weeks later and was asked if I would like to do the show. I was moving back to Newcastle and at that time had no business set up but I was told had to have a business in place. I had 3 weeks to set up a fully functioning business.
I moved to Newcastle on a Friday and on the Monday Jean arrived with her team and started filming how I made the chocolate. It was all very exciting
What made you try making chocolate from the bean in the first place.
To make chocolate from the bean is not something I can do from home but I would like to produce it from the bean at a later date. The bean has to be cracked and needs to have specialist equipment. At the moment I make the chocolate from the Nibs
What makes your chocolate different to other Chocolate?
My whole reason for wanting to make healthier chocolate is – Because Chocolate Should Be Eaten Everyday!
With the chocolate I make I am in control of the sugar and fat content during the process plus all the ingredients for the flavourings. The Nibs are ground for 24 to 48 hours to get the chocolate just right. I find making the chocolate so satisfying; I am just passionate about making healthy chocolate for anyone to eat.
What was it like meeting other Artisan Confectionary Producers?
It was good to meet the other Artisan Producers in the show as they were all in similar circumstances to me. They were all as passionate about what they do as I am about chocolate. One of them that was really good was Justin with his Scottish Tablet. They all have small businesses at home wanting to grow bigger.
It gave us all confidence that there were other people with passions and dreams about their businesses and although it is hard it is worthwhile.
What plans have you to take your business further?
I already have different types of chocolate products on my online shop of which only 3 to 4 have milk in them. I am trying to convert people to raw dark or vegan chocolate as it so good for them.
I shall be rebranding and moving into Vegan Chocolate, Diabetic Chocolate, Dark Chocolate and low calorie.
Our Raw Original Bar is only 180 calories and satisfies all your chocolate cravings in a few bites. We encourage people to eat a few pieces or a whole bar pre/post workout.
I am looking to expand into commercial premises and having people to make the chocolate while I work on new products.
Was it exciting being on TV and what was it like watching yourself
We filmed for days in the shop and 2 hours, 10 hours of filming reduced to a one hour programme. It was really exciting but a bit strange. I did enjoy it though I did think I wish I had a stylist for the show.
Would you like to do more TV work if it was offered to you?
I would love to do more Television work if it was offered. I would like to write a cookery book with recipes and talking to other businesses in the book, maybe linked to a television show.
Apart from making Chocolate what is your favourite thing to do?
I love cars and would love to do tracking again; it was great when I worked for Nissan Cars as it was part of the job.
I would also love to travel and blog about the travel and eating out when I have the time.
What is your favourite chocolate?
My favourite chocolate is Raw Chocolate and my favourite Dark Chocolate is from MARZAM’s from Dubai. A totally inspirational company.
Where would you like to see yourself in 5 years’ time?
I would like to see my products in large retailers such as Harrods, Selfridges and so forth. I would also like to have at least one Chocolateeha Café giving customers the chocolate experience. I would like that to be followed by more of the same.
Our vision is to encourage as many people to join the dark side as possible. This is the only way to enjoy eating chocolate everyday!
Than you again Wajeeha for agreeing to chat to Purple Conversations, We wish you every good luck in the Final on Saturday.