What I Know About Style




Co-founder of Cocomaya Joel Bernstein on chocolates, cappuccinos and Connaught Village

Why a chocolate shop?

We wanted to create a magical, dreamy place with an other-worldly atmosphere. Then we realised we wanted to extend to an artisan bakery. I really believe things should be handmade. I can’t bear anything that isn’t.

Are you a big chocolate fan?

I love good food. Period.

Who cooks here?

We have two chocolatiers, one pastry chef and one choux chef.

How did you get together with your co-founders [Walid Al Damirji, who has his own accessories collection and Serena Rees, founder of Agent Provocateur]?

Walid and I have been friends for years. Serena loved what we did and joined us.

Why did you choose Connaught Village?

It’s close to the West End and has a lovely village atmosphere.

Did your experience at Liberty [as former head of concept] influence the style of this store?

No, I think I influenced Liberty and that experience has nothing to do with what I’ve done here.

What’s your favourite chocolate?

The pomegranate is quite unusual – it’s slightly tart.

Can you name-drop some celeb customers?

No.  We do get the fashion crowd because the store is so visual, but we also get the serious food posse which is a huge compliment.

What’s your guilty pleasure?

Three cappuccinos a day.

What’s your philosophy on life?

Live and let live.

Cocomaya, 35 Connaught Street, W2; www.cocomaya.co.uk; 020 7706 2770; open Mon–Sat 11am–7pm

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