Hello to all the chocolate lovers! Meet Kate Burton who runs The Cocoa Den, a Totttenham based creative chocolate business. Not only that, but Kate also recently became a Pilates instructor, so if health and fitness is more your thing (or ALSO your thing) she's got you covered with her "Pilates with Extras" workshops. Read her interview with (chocolate lover) Rachel Ho to find out more!
Photo supplied: Kate Burton, founder of The Cocoa Den
Where did you grow up and what did your parents do?
I was born in Essex but moved to South Wales aged three so grew up there on rugby, welsh cakes and cwtches (Welsh for cuddles - about the only Welsh word I know!). Both my parents are Welsh and were teachers, the main benefit of which was frequent (mostly camping) holidays in the UK and Europe. Although my heart will always belong in Wales, eventually I was drawn by the big lights, diverse experiences and opportunities that London offers...and I've never looked back.
Describe your relationship to Tottenham.
I've lived in London for almost 20 years moving from place to place, but I've finally found home in Tottenham. I've been a long suffering Spurs fan so was familiar with the area (or at least the high road between Seven Sisters station and White Hart Lane!) but it wasn't until my partner and I decided to explore it as a location to live that we fell in love with it. I love the green spaces, the creative and entrepreneurial people and businesses, and most of all the community. It's the first place I've lived in London where I know and hang out with my neighbours and I've met so many interesting and inspiring people during the three years we've lived here.
What is The Cocoa Den and why did you start it?
The Cocoa Den is my creative chocolate business which I officially launched in autumn 2014 after years of dabbling with chocolate making as a hobby. I've always had a creative/artistic side that had been stifled by the pressure to get a 'proper' job that (especially in London) pays enough to cover the cost of living. After 15 years of the 9 til 5 (or more like 9 til 8!) in fast paced and sometimes thankless and unrewarding jobs I decided I needed a better work/life balance doing something that would challenge but reward me, play to my creative side and most importantly, made me happier.
Photo supplied: The Cocoa Den creative chocolates
Over the past decade, chocolate has become an insanely popular food or sweet treat and many brands are doing amazing things with it. I wanted The Cocoa Den to bring something unique to the party, while allowing me to combine my love of art and of course chocolate! Therefore, My products are packed with personality, from beautiful chocolate sculptures to cocoa butter prints that deliver a personal or fun chocolate message.
I also take The Cocoa Den on the road regularly, doing interactive chocolate making and decorating experiences, team building workshops, curated crafty pop-ups, parties and seasonal markets which allows me to meet so many amazing people and brings the social element that I sometimes crave from not working in an office environment! The greatest reward for me is people's positive reaction to my products and events...it makes the hard work of running a business worth while.
You also recently become a Pilates's instructor. Tell us more about that.
Whilst The Cocoa Den continues to grow, it's still quite seasonally focused. Earlier this year I decided to turn another passion, Pilates, into a business venture along side The Cocoa Den business & hopefully supplement quieter times.
It also has the added benefit of keeping my healthy and strong and preventing repetitive strain injuries from chocolate making! I'm in the process of securing a venue for weekly mixed ability mat and pre & post natal classes. I also recently successfully tested a format that I'm hoping to roll out on a monthly basis in the new year, "Pilates With Extras" which combines Pilates with networking events, creative workshops and therapies for local people, sometimes women specifically. Watch this space, I'll be promoting these soon!
As a woman, how do you think Tottenham has changed? What would you like to see change?
Fortunately, I don't remember personally experiencing anything negative related to being a woman while living in Tottenham. In fact, it's great to see and know so many local women running their own businesses in the area. It's an inspiring time to be living and working in the area. In terms of change, a lot is already changing in the area and I'm all for it if it brings positive benefits and stays true to Tottenham's diverse cultural roots, supporting the original businesses and communities that have made it what it is toda Favourite thing to do in Tottenham?
I can't pin down one thing but my perfect day in Tottenham right now would involve brunch & coffee at Craving Coffee, a walk at the Marshes or Wetlands, a cheese toastie, chat and cheeky vino at Wine n Rind followed by a mince pie from Prestige Patisserie and later on cocktails at Mona Bar and a roast at The High Cross (assuming it's a Sunday) or pizza at True Craft. Anything you would like to add?
There are so many other amazing small businesses in Tottenham that I may not have mentioned above but they are equally deserving of our love...support local small businesses! You'll meet some amazing people along the way.
Photo supplied: The Cocoa Den chocolates for Christmas
Find our more about The Cocoa Den & Pilates With Extras:
Get chocolatey Christmas gifts and stocking fillers at www.thecocoaden.co.uk