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Hasty Torres
7 candid questions with Hasty Torres of Madame Chocolat.

Francine Kizner
Hasty Torres in her Beverly Hills chocolate boutique Madame Chocolate.

Married: 1 year
Kids: 0
Notable: Hasty is the founder and chocolatier of Beverly Hills chocolate boutique Madame Chocolat (www.madame-chocolat.com), which was recently featured on E! Entertainment’s, "The Girls Next Door." She is married to celebrity pastry chef and chocolatier Jacques Torres (www.jacquestorres.com) who was her mentor, chef and boss while in training. Jacques owns two chocolate shops in New York City, has authored two cookbooks and has hosted multiple Food Network shows.

[1] How did Jacques propose to you, and did it involve chocolate?
He actually proposed right here in the (Madame Chocolat) chocolate factory. It was very fitting since we met because of chocolate and we fell in love because of chocolate, but it’s ironic that chocolate is the one thing that keeps us apart.

We were both working late in the factory and he slipped the ring into a bowl of hot water. He asked me to get a scraper out of the bowl, but when I put my hand in it was blazing hot. I told him it was too hot and tried to offer him a different scraper, but he kept saying that he needed that particular one. I told him again I couldn’t get it because the water was so hot, so he put his hand in the water and his face turned bright red. He said, "It is really hot!"

He pulled the ring out and said something like, "Will you really have me," or "Can you really be with me?" and I was just speechless. I started crying and shaking and moving away from him. I was in total shock. Then he tried to put the ring on my finger but it got stuck on my knuckle, and through my tears, I remember yelling, "Push harder!"

[2] Why did you decide to open your own shop instead of going into business with Jacques?
For years, my dream was to open Madame Chocolat in LA. I went to USC and got a business degree and was in finance for six years before deciding to turn chocolate into a career. I went to New York to study with Jacques, and I had to commit to living there for at least a year. At the end of that year I felt like I was ready to go back to LA and open my shop, and I only started dating Jacques the last two or three months I was in New York.

When I came back to LA, it took me nine months to find my location and nine months to build and open the store. It opened in November 2006. We had a long-distance, bicoastal relationship throughout all that time. Never in a million years did I think I’d marry Jacques Torres.

Today, looking back, it would make sense to do something together, but right now I’m in LA and I can’t move because my business is so new, and he’s 1,000 times busier in New York so he can’t move either. We just try to see each other as much as we can.

[3] Do you have plans to live in the same city eventually?
Yes. We’re hoping to try to get pregnant in 2009. There’s a significant age difference between us—I’m 33 and he’s 49—and we both love kids. We really wish we had them yesterday. We’re still figuring out how to make it all work, but sometimes we joke about just opening a store right in the middle of the country.

[4] What’s your favorite one of Jacques’ chocolates, and what’s his favorite one of yours?
There are so many categories, I don’t know where to begin, but for bonbons my favorites are his European peanut butter, which is totally made from scratch, and his new apple pie one, which has a pie crust on the outside. Another favorite is his dark chocolate truffle with cocoa bits.

As for my chocolates, I think he really loves my bonbons. I think he thinks they’re pretty, like pieces of jewelry, and his favorite ones are the Champagne kiss and the lady bugs. He also really likes my caramel.

[5] What do you like to cook together that’s not chocolate?
Jacques loves to go fishing. He has a boat, and when I’m not in New York, he actually stays on it. When I’m there, we stay in the apartment. So we eat a lot of fresh seafood and paella. He has Spanish blood in him and I’m Persian, and we’re really influenced by our backgrounds so we use a lot of saffron and basmati rice. We also love being healthy and eat a lot of fresh salads.

And we love going out to eat. One of the perks of being married to a celebrity chef is that all of his friends are celebrity chefs and they all own amazing restaurants.

[6] After being featured on "The Girls Next Door," helping the girls make some body-part molded birthday gifts for Hugh Hefner, have you been receiving more risqué chocolate requests?
Yes. A lot of women are asking for the body parts and most of the requests are coming from the Midwest area. Hardly any are coming from California. It’s a hard process if the clients aren’t local since we have to do the molding on site.

[7] In the future, do you dream about starring in a your own TV show with Jacques?
Jacques is working on his own show right now, which is supposed to be on PBS. His producer will eventually have me on as a guest, but it’s definitely the Jacques Torres chocolate show. In LA, I’ve been asked to do a few things, and of course I always say yes. The opportunity for us to do something together hasn’t come yet, but of course we would love to do something. We work so well together, we’re energetic and we make each other laugh a lot. It would be fun.

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