Coventry’s Willy Wonka inspiring a new generation of chefs

In light of National Baking Week, iCov took a visit to Coventry’s very own Willy Wonka, Tony Davies. Choc “N” Roll, located at Fargo Village, is home to artisan chocolates, macarons and award-winning coffees. I spoke to him about why Coventry is a great location for future bakers and how he’s trying to inspire the next generation of chefs.

A selections of brownies & pies available at Fargo Village’s Choc ‘n’ Roll!

Photograph: Lizzie Johnston

Tony started his career as a chef and “chocolates are totally by accident” after taking a risk and deciding to open his own business, although his chocolates have been very successful because “they are unusual and look different”. His customers know exactly what to expect from the chocolates as “they actually taste of what they say” and, although they look good, “it’s all about the flavour”.

Decadent delights made by Tony Davies

Photograph: Lizzie Johnston

Chocolate classes are available at the shop as Tony uses them to inspire the next generation of chocolatiers. With a choice of day or evening classes, anyone can get involved and try out the techniques as Tony will “show them decorations” but he allows them to “do a whole tray of chocolates” giving them a change to the feel like one of Willy Wonka’s ‘Oompa Loompa’s’.

There has been an increase of interest in baking since television programmes, such as ‘The Great British Bake Off’ have been on air and Tony has noticed this and uses the new interest to help build his business. He’s recently started to do wedding favours: “the bride and groom can come in and make their own”. He’s hopeful that a new generation of bakers and chefs will arise as “the trade is struggling for decent chefs”. However, he believes Coventry has the potential to find budding chefs, but only after he’s “taken all the classes”.

Sausages rolls ready to go into the oven.

Tony is not only an expert in chocolates as he has recently opened a new, family-run business also located at the heart of Fargo Village. He has found that Coventry holds the potential to really embrace all wonders of food as “it’s so multi-cultural, you can hit all aspects”, and this is why he has branched out into savouries. Coventry prides itself on its multi-cultural scene and Tony has used this to inspire his “different flavours of sausage rolls from around the world”.

With professionals like Tony hopeful about Coventry’s future chefs, there is a promising prospect for small businesses in the “struggling” chef trade.

Lizzie Johnston

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