Weaving stories in cacao and amalgamating flavours with aesthetics – All Things has been roasting a storm in #OurCity. Unwrapping the story of the duo behind it all, we bring to you Kuhu Kochar and Tejasvi Chandela. From an online shop to stocking 20 stores across the country and now taking inspiration from Mr.Wonka (for a whimsical project – more deets on that soon), the two ladies run around the clock to experiment and create. “Inspiring, interesting, hectic, and tedious,” share the chocolatiers talking about their journey as we catch up over (All Things) Breakfast.
“In 2015, we’d had enough of client briefs and red velvet cheesecakes; it was a brain dead year,” recalls the duo talking about the genesis of All Things. Uninspired by the monotony in their careers, Kochar and Chandela decided to switch gears and kick-start a project where they could channel their passion. A graphic designer, Kochar was working on branding for an oriental restaurant and as fate would have it, ‘All Things Oriental’ was on the deck of names struck out. “The name got stuck in my head and wouldn’t budge,” shares the pizza & beer aficionado. With a list eleven pages long and a basic idea of creating a packaged commodity, Kuhu bumped into Tejasvi at the launch of her pâtisserie, Dzurt, Gurgaon. And a rough mood board was all it took to get Chandela to say Oui.
Aware of the magnanimity of the application of ‘All Things’, the duo pined for a blank canvas that could express the myriad ideas and emotions they desired for it. “All Things Dark, Birthday, Tropical, Christmas, it’s relevant to everything! Creating something that could mould itself into a multitude of variations and touch people’s lives, be it through nostalgia or smiles, was our strongest inspiration,” they share. Nothing fit their check-list as perfectly as chocolate and the cacao derived bars were always a “warm & fuzzy blanket” for Chandela, “like a sunny day with loads of mojitos” she chuckles. However, Kochar only discovered her love for it as All Things began taking shape and the (almost) unanimous love for it worldwide only made their decision stronger. “They say the most beautiful things come from chaos and ours was a gooey, chocolatey mess,” shares Kochar, for beautiful it is indeed.
Experimentation in the Dzurt kitchen and multiple sleepless nights later, the All Things kitchen was independent, “We bought two matching desks and put down our flavour pairings in ink.” Digging deeper, Chandela embarked for Belgium to learn the bean to bar process, “It’s extremely tedious, right from the time a cocoa tree is planted to picking the right beans and gradually turning it into chocolate. It requires great skill and precision.” With a newfound respect for the craft and chocolate, they now boast about brands who have mastered the process in India, “like Mason & Co.” Sourcing directly traded artisanal chocolate and local ingredients, they emphasise the importance of taste & ethics, “The tremendous farmers we work with enable us to produce products that do not require any preservatives, additives, or artificial flavourings,” share the pâtissier & graphic designer.
Broadening the spectrum of ingredients and designs and testing out concoctions and illustrations, the duo is perpetually originating bars & truffles, “We work in complete isolation for 70 percent of the process and fuse our ideas together to create a new entity,” they share. Drawing inspiration from around the world and blending it with ingredients, the bars narrate tales, from packaging to flavour, “We wanted to transport people to a cosy Italian cafe and that’s what prompted us to create All Things Breakfast bar. Hence, the coffee and almond biscotti flavour,” shares Kochar in this DSSC exclusive.
As we navigate the (All Things) Water (devouring yet another bar), the duo opines, “Cocoa supplies in the world are deteriorating and each sliver should be valued.” Aiming to treat this cherished product with utmost respect, each of their bars is handcrafted with excellence. “Chocolate is so much more than what meets the eye,” they share and we concur, for each bar wraps an experience. As we stock up enough experiences (a.k.a chocolates) to sustain us for the weekend, the chocolatiers indulge in our signature DSSC Rapid Fire.
Your most intriguing food experience till date?
Kuhu: The first time I tried frog legs.
Tejasvi: Trying escargot for the first time in Paris.
One thing you love about the F&B industry?
Kuhu: The fact that you have a thousand people you can bounce ideas off of, people who genuinely listen and also give some great advice.
Tejasvi: I love that you get to learn so many new things from other chefs.
One thing you hate about the F&B industry?
Kuhu: The fact that it’s cliquey.
Tejasvi: The lack of quality ingredients to play with.
A city that never ceases to inspire you?
Kuhu: I can never pick one.
Tejasvi: Paris, Paris, Paris!
Disclaimer: The opinions expressed in this feature are those of the interviewee and do not necessarily reflect those of DSSC & its affiliates.