I was born in a small mountain village close to the city of Salerno Italy in 1956. With my mother Adelina and brother Tony we migrated to Tasmania in 1958 and settled in the small Hydro village of Tarraleah where my father had been living alone since 1956. We transferred to Wayatinah where I spent the next thirteen years. I attended New Norfolk High School as a year seven student. When we moved to Morilla Estate, I attended the local High School. My year eleven and twelve years were spent at Elizabeth Matriculation College where I successfully won a Tertiary scholarship to the new Tasmanian College of Advanced Eduction (University of Tasmania).
My four years studying Materials Design and Technology along with Science prepared me for a 26 teaching career with the Tasmanian Education Department. Following an accident in 1988 and advice given to me by my surgeon in Melbourne I established a commercial hazelnut orchard at Kettering where I farmed over 2500 trees. Why Hazelnuts? I had already been growing hazelnuts for my own consumption at home and it seemed logical to grow something that I was familiar with. Our orchard was established in order to produce a high quality hazelnut suitable for Confectionery. During this phase of my life I was involved in an eight year research programme in conjunction with the university of Sydney and the Rural Industry Research Development Corporation (RIRDC).
Chocolate has always been a passion of mine so once I started harvesting our first crop of hazelnuts I developed our award winning nougat which led to the designing of my first chocolate “The Amore”. I built a commercial facility under my house where I designed and made chocolates for commercial clients and for the export market. During this period I continually designed and worked on flavour profiles with the idea of one day opening a chocolate boutique. We established our first shop in 2011 in a disused service station in the coastal village of Kettering.
Sarah Black has been with Nutpatch since the opening of our first shop in 2011. Sarah has both a Batchelor degree and Masters degree in sports science, a chef and completed a year in pastry and a further three years training with me at Nutpatch to become our production manager and senior chocolatier. Sarah is a very passionate, creative and hard working chocolatier.
Martine Siltman is currently in training as our apprentice and has been with us for two years. She is making excellent progress and has become a wonderful asset to a Nutpatch.
Our second chocolate boutique opened on February 2017 at Number One Murray Street Pier, within walking distance of historic Salamanca and in the centre of the famous Hobart wharf area.
It was paramount that this new shops layout and design would clearly focus on showcasing our beautiful creations as if walking into famous chocolate boutiques of Paris, Rome and New York.