Connie Yuen was slaving away at her 9-5 office job for eight years before she realised she had chocolate running through her veins.
In an incredibly bold move many of us are terrified to take, Connie gave in to the allure of following her passion and threw it all in to go to study a patisserie course.
Three years on, she's now the head chocolatier at KitKat Chocolatory living out everyone's dream occupation.
We caught up with her to see if having unlimited access to KitKats is all it's cracked up to be and what advice she can give to anyone unhappy at work.
What would you consider to be the ‘light-bulb’ moment in your career?
My light-bulb moment came eight years after I'd been working in an office job.
One day I simply decided that enough was enough–I wanted to follow my passion. I enrolled in a patisserie course at the William Angliss Institute and discovered a love for working with chocolate.
I spotted the Nestlé role at KitKat Chocolatory as I was finishing up my course, and I've been here ever since!
Do you have a piece of advice for young women trying to get their start as a chocolatier?
My advice for young women is to be bold, focused and tenacious.
If you're interested in becoming a chocolatier then you also need to love a challenge—no two days are ever the same and chocolate definitely isn't the easiest ingredient to work with.
What’s your favourite thing about being a chocolatier?
I love being able to play with KitKat bars all day, of course!
In my role, every day is a new adventure as I get to test a range of interesting ingredients and flavour combinations for one of Australia's most loved premium chocolate brands. Recently, I was also given the amazing opportunity to bring to life new creations with Ruby chocolate—the world's only new chocolate variety to be revealed in 80 years.
Being one of the first chocolatiers around the globe to work with Ruby was definitely a career highlight.
Is there a moment in your career when you’ve looked back and thought, ‘I wish I’d done that differently’?
I really wish that I'd started my Patisserie course sooner! I've always been a foodie, and while both my parents working in the food industry may have been an obvious sign, it took me a while to realise!
I was certainly apprehensive about making a career change and I wish I doubted myself less. However, I've definitely made the most of my new role and can't wait to see how it evolves over time.
Have you experienced instances of sexism throughout your career?
Unfortunately, you do hear about a lot of cases of sexism in some industries–not just hospitality. Thankfully, we have a great team here at the KitKat Chocolatory boutique, and I have ensured that the staff feel welcome and supported.
What would you tell your 13-year-old self?
I would tell myself to enjoy being young, stop worrying about the little things and not try so hard to be an adult. Even now, I still feel like a big kid in a candy store.
Have you had a mentor that has championed you throughout your career?
It was actually my chef friend, Pierrick Boyer, who persuaded me to study Patisserie. I received a huge amount of support from my teachers at William Angliss Institute during my course and even after I have graduated for which I am very grateful for.
And of course, my Mum has always been my number one fan and does an exceptional job to keep me grounded.