A very interesting thing happened to me yesterday! I received a very curt Cease-and-Desist order from Chef Hasty Torres, a 90210 chocolatier in Beverly Hills . Ms. Torres is the really, real Madame Chocolat and does not appreciate me brandying about the name in any way or fashion. Madame Chocolat is the name of her company and she legally registered that name four years ago, it is hers and hers alone; lock, stock and chocolate mold! Ah, but it is more than just that…
Intellectual property or not, Ms. Torres is, in true life fact, the wife of Jacques Torres – “Mr. Chocolat” himself! That makes her Madame Chocolat not only by business registration, but also by marriage. Nuptially speaking (in French), Madame is the spousal counterpart to Monsieur Chocolat. Mr. runs his infamous chocolate empire on the East Coast (NYC) and the Mrs. is manifesting hers on the West Coast (LA). How cute is that!?!
However, cuteness aside with the addition of formal East and West Coast etiquette and/or fury, sauced with a little legal action, you can see how things can get out of hand pretty quickly! I have been given 10 days to rid myself and my business entity of anything and everything affiliated with the name, “M_ d_m_e Ch_c_l_t”. Please note that Erin, my beloved web-site guru, left on a much needed vacation yesterday for two weeks – we will move as quickly as we can on this motion, but some things will have to wait until she returns – we are trying! For instance, this very blog will say “posted by M_d_m_e Ch_c_l_t on August 22, 2012” next to it – disregard it until I can figure out how to fix it! Please, have mercy and patience with us.
I am no longer “M_ d_m_e Ch_c_l_t”, and I never was – it was only a cute pet name my customers and friends gave to me years ago and has shown up sporadically and spontaneously throughout my career. Henceforth, I renounce any affiliation with the already spoken for title, or, in my very humble case, nickname. I am just Sarah, or Chef Sarah (I worked so hard to earn that title & toke!) – please everyone, refer to me as such.
And, for the record, I am not French by any stretch of the word or ancestry, for that matter. I am a Colorado girl through and through! There is something rather humbling about us Westerners that tempers us from taking ourselves too seriously. Mostly, we are all peace keepers at heart – so lovers, not fighters! The thought of getting all lawyered up surely chaps our backsides and, at the same time, sends shivers up our spines. I, in no way, would ever choose to be the burr under anyone’s saddle, especially to two colleagues of whom I cherish, admire and deeply respect.
I would like to take this opportunity to formally apologize to both the Chefs Torres. I, in no way, ever meant any disrespect or infringement, nor did I ever plan to associate my own career with that of yours or hijack any fame or fortune from your esteemed reputations.
Please forgive me! Please forgive my customers and friends! I am sorry! Mea culpa! Mea culpa! Mea culpa!
It is unfortunate and strangely ironic that I have gleaned the attentions of some of the most reputable icons of my industry through this and not of my hard work. Honestly, I am emotionally confused by all of this. How can I feel humbled, hurt and strangely honored at the same time? Perhaps, that is a question for a different kind of professional…
Thank-you, Just Sarah
You will always be “Madame Chocolat” to me. Beautiful post, and I for one, am humbled by your hard work and dedication in bringing us the finest confections in the most beautiful setting. Where’s the “love” button?
Dearest Sue Ann, I am truly grateful for your kind and complementary words of comfort and taking the time to express them. Thank-you from the very bottom of my chocolate lovin’ heart!!!