What’s in my travel bag: Moo Chun Hoe

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Qatar’s answer to Willy Wonka?
Meet the Marsa Malaz Kempinski’s own chocolatier.


For many people, getting to work with chocolate must seem like a dream job. And, on meeting Moo Chun Hoe, the chocolatier at the Marsa Malaz Kempinski, The Pearl - Doha, the truth is quickly revealed: yes, it is a dream job. “I love the flavours and the ability to create whatever shapes pop into my mind,” he says. “Chocolate in moderation can be very good for you, and of course I love eating it myself.”

Born in Malaysia, Moo originally wanted to be a pastry chef, but changed his mind when he met a chocolatier during his first apprenticeship. After training at the Callebaut Chocolate Academy, he then worked for a number of top hotels before moving to Doha. “Every day, I check the quality and consistency of the chocolate served in our restaurants and on display at our Café Murano, ensuring we have enough pralines and truffles,” he explains. “Chocolate can be temperamental and difficult to work with at times. I might then make a sculpture for a brunch or special event, often with a particular theme.”

It can be unusual for a hotel to employ a chocolatier, but for Moo the role should not be overlooked. “Everything can be mass-produced to save time or money, but then you lose the love and passion that we chocolatiers put into our creations,” he says.

Working his way from Malaysia to Doha involved a lot of travel, and whenever he is on the move, this talented foodie always has these items to hand.

Chocolate recipe book:I like to take one travelling with me, so that when I try a different flavour I can work out how it was made and see if I can replicate it.

iPad:This is useful for looking up recipes and making notes, and I like to document my travels both visually and literally.

Smartphone:I’ll be honest, I never go anywhere without this, home or abroad. I like to keep in touch with friends and family back home.

Notebook:Handy in case I come up with a recipe while relaxing by the pool or on the beach. Those seem to be the moments when my creative mind works overtime.

Chocolate bar:Valrhona Araguani 100%. I take it not only because I love chocolate but also to increase my blood sugar levels, as I sometimes get light-headed during a flight.

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