Notes From the Chocolatier’s Kitchen: January Already?

A BIG difference from the hole and insulation!
A BIG difference from the hole and insulation!


As I sit to write this month’s notes, not only is it Notes From the Chocolatier’s Kitchen: January Already?, but it’s the end of January already?! I want to wish each of you a wonderful New Year. We hope it’s off to a great start!

Here at Delysia Chocolatier, we are so excited about 2014 and our company’s future.  2013 was a rough year and I am more than ready to leave all of that behind – looking forward towards all this new year has to offer us!

I want to apologize for being somewhat quiet the last few weeks. Juggling the holidays and a construction project definitely was a challenging feat. But I can confidently – and proudly – say that I survived the chaos and have become quite the general contractor!

I know you are all wondering where things stand on our end after the struggles with our previous contractor skipping town. I’ve had a few people actually ask if we had ‘thrown in the towel’. Quite the opposite!  For those of you who know me really well, you know that if you throw a challenge at me, I’ll find a way to make it happen.

After weeks of working with the City to sort through the mess that was left behind, I received the building permits a few days before Thanksgiving (right around the time I got quiet). By the end of the first week (which happened to fall the day after Thanksgiving), I had finished the following:

The kitchen is starting to look like a kitchen!
The kitchen is starting to look like a kitchen!
  • electrical power upgraded
  • plumbing & HVAC finished
  • framing completed (including supporting my ceiling with more than a few nails here and there, which the previous contractor failed to do)
  • insulation installed
  • masonry work started for the windows and exterior doors

The Monday after Thanksgiving we passed all of our initial rounds of inspection. Wooo, what a week – what a rewarding week!  My husband said to me, “We should have fired the contractor months ago. You’ve accomplished more in a week than he did in months!”

That’s not to say there haven’t been hiccups along the way. We discovered more sections that weren’t framed properly, walls that we thought we insulated were only insulated 2 feet from the ground (previous contractor strikes again!), windows were installed unlevel and crooked, ordering doors was an absolute nightmare resulting in some rough openings being reframed multiple times, and the cold snap delayed tape & float.

Conference room, where we'll host events!
Conference room, where we’ll host events!

The last few weeks have been challenging, trying to juggle all of the little finishing touches and to create a logical plan to finish the project, all while prepping for events and the upcoming holidays. Yes, I still do run a chocolate business – doesn’t always seem that way these days! A few friends gave me some wonderful advice I’d love to share with each of you.

  • Start drinking – then you wouldn’t care so much and things would go more smoothly (of course, humorous advice to get me to laugh!)
  • (OK the real advice) – Accept that things are meant to go a certain way and if you stop fighting it, accept the situation, and focus your energy on moving successfully in that direction the outcome will be better than you ever imagined.

That last piece of advice (the ‘real’ advice) truly struck home for me. It was something that I knew but I just needed to be reminded. It’s the philosophy that I’ve used to grow Delysia Chocolatier from the beginning five years ago – don’t stress and let the business pull me into new and exciting avenues. It’s definitely more fun that way!

Since being reminded of this, things have moved much more smoothly. Tape and floating has been finished and the space is actually starting to take shape. The walls have been primed. Doors, baseboards, and trim have been installed. The first coat of paint is being applied as we speak!!

To you, they're holes. To me, they're my blood, sweat, and tears.
To you, they’re holes. To me, they’re my blood, sweat, and tears.

My husband said to me yesterday, “Wow, it’s the first time that I can actually believe that we are going to pull this off, we are actually going to finish this project.” As you can tell, it’s been a rough few months, and we are all excited to see our hard work come to fruition.

And I can’t wait to show the finished space to each of you soon, very soon!








Nicole Patel

Nicole Patel is the proprietor of and chocolatier for Delysia Chocolatier. In 2006 while pregnant with her first son, Nicole made a batch of chocolate truffles as holiday gifts. To the delight of friends and family, she continued to create chocolates as a way to relieve stress from her corporate engineering job. In 2008, a chance trip to Becker Vineyards led to Nicole being the first in Texas to make truffles using local wines. Within five years, what started as a hobby turned Delysia into one of the Top Ten Chocolatiers in the Americas, as selected by the International Chocolate Salon.