I was always a perfect right and left brain mash-up. I was artistic and creative, but also very analytical, intellectual and pragmatic. When I went to college, I decided I was going to law school and that law would be the best career for me to utilize my skills.
I went to Harvard for law school and practiced in New York on big financial deals. It was thrilling and fun. I had the the income to go to fancy restaurants and try all sorts of food. I traveled pretty extensively. I loved what I was doing, but a part of me was missing.
Six years ago, my husband and I moved to Austin. This city is so vibrant, incredibly creative and unique. People really celebrate doing unusual and out of the ordinary things. I wanted to be a part of that.
I decided it was time to retire from law and go to culinary school. It was a different world. There’s a side of the culinary world that is very rigid — steeped in history and tradition, which is inspiring, but it also creates conventions and ways of doing things.
When we did a week of chocolate, it was the first time I realized you could shape and color and mold these pieces of chocolate into something way more than just a square or a circle while maintaining the integrity of its flavor. I asked: “Why are aren’t people doing more? There are so many fun things we could do with this.”
The response was because this is how it’s done.
It was that kind of mindset that made me question what I wanted to do with the medium of chocolate. I knew I wanted to build a business, so we created Maggie Louise Confections.
I found all these different shapes out in the world that nobody was using. I didn’t realize at the time it’s a lot easier to not use them. But I was making mistakes and painting and taking the colors of the world and translating that into chocolate stories. Chocolate has always been taken so seriously. To me it was something that people enjoyed when they were celebrating or sharing a moment of joy. I thought it should be fun and interesting and colorful and vibrant.
I needed to solve problems. Chocolate doesn’t all have to be the same shape if you have packaging that allows for different sized pieces in a box. I needed to find a way to ship it from Texas where it’s 100 degrees. Those are the problems keep my intellectual wheels turning.
In the end, the reset for me was to change the way the world looks at me — to look at me as a culinary person and not a lawyer.
This work is really tough. It’s very physical. The hours are really long. You know, most people spent their life striving for the corner office, not to be in a kitchen. I knew I had it in me. And I wanted to live my authentic life and be my true self. At the end of the day, you put your feet up and, you know, you’ve worked a hard day.