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13 Questions: Louis Barnett

by Ouch Team

29th October 2007

People think I'm ...

Some sort of mascot that my parents shoved in front of the company to give it some PR appeal. That’s not fair, because I started the business. I'm the one who’s here until 3 or 4 in the morning producing all the chocolates, moulds and everything. Journalists say things like “You’re obviously not in the production room”.

I want to ban ...

Louis Barnett
Bad quality chocolate and unfair trading to farmers. A lot of companies use compound chocolate with vegetable oils in, and it loses its good qualities. We use pure Belgian chocolate, and the company we get it from has high trading standards.

Not a lot of people know that I ...

Am still a country boy at heart. I do lots of sports like fishing, and I’m a bit of an adrenalin freak as well. I love biking, body-boarding, stuff like that. Obviously I do sports that don't involve catching or throwing anything. My dyslexia and coordination are hundreds of times better since I took up fencing though. I would recommend it to any dyslexic person. Dad threw the car keys down the stairs the other day and I caught them - which was amazing for me.

The best piece of advice I would pass on is ...

You can do anything if you work at it hard enough. Have faith in what you're doing, and most importantly, enjoy it.

I struggle with ...

Spelling and maths. I'm so glad that there are calculators, and that email has a spell checker. Otherwise, my mails wouldn't make any sense.

I excel at ...

Louis Barnett, hard at work making chocolate
Chocolate. It’s not just a food to me anymore. The last course I did was on sculpting chocolate, so now it’s art as well as a product and a future career. It’s the most diverse ingredient on the planet. There are so many different blends and different types of beans. Did you know that there are five types of crystals in chocolate? I've read lots of books about it.

My ideal dinner guest is ...

Richard Branson. I've always wanted to meet him, because of what he’s done in business and everything else. A while ago we actually tried to get some business with Virgin. We would talk about how he started out, what it was like for him and maybe do some deals as well.

I couldn't live without ...

My pets. I have two dogs and an owl. Humans don't sit on your shoulder or jump up and lick you. One dog is called Branston, as in the pickle, and the other one is Jet. The owl is Jewell.

If I didn't live in the UK, I'd live in ...

Spain or Greece, because I love their food and the weather is nice and warm. I'd also like to go travelling and see Iran, because I have a very good friend from there who would love to take me and show me where she used to live.

Where do you spend most of your time?

In the production room at the factory unit making boxes, chocolates and fillings, and doing the packing and wrapping. The only thing I don't like is washing up.

My first job was ...

Close-up: Louis puts the finishing touches to another of his edible chocolate boxes
Before I started making chocolate, I did 18 months voluntary work in a falcon centre. I cleaned out, did some gardening, and after a while I flew the birds. We used to do falcon displays for corporate events, and at Drake Manor Zoo every Sunday. I was always working towards having an owl as a pet. I now have an African eagle owl.

When I come home in the evenings, I ...

Spend most of my time on the computer, chatting to friends on MSN, talking to people and leaving new bits of info on my company's Bebo page, and playing boring games like checkers.

Success is ...

Prevailing in what you want. Not necessarily when all goes to plan, but when you've got to a state you are happy with and have completed all your goals. Further success for Chokolit will be getting out there distributing abroad, going to different places like the Netherlands, Sweden etc.

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