Wendy Buckner: owner & head chocolatier, received her training at The French Pastry School in Chicago, IL. Wendy has worked in several prominent patisseries and chocolate kitchens before developing The Hot Chocolatier. She also brings her training as a visual artist to her culinary experience.
Brandon Buckner: co-owner & assistant chocolatier, received a MFA in Painting from The University of Iowa, Iowa City. His training in design and studio art makes him an asset in custom chocolate creations. Brandon also designed the logo, packaging, and this very website you are viewing.

Wendy and Brandon Buckner started The Hot Chocolatier in 2008. As a locally-owned Chattanooga, TN based company, the couple wanted to bring their experiences - from the various cities in which they had lived - back to the their hometown. The concept of The Hot Chocolatier became a reality when Wendy and Brandon began introducing artisan chocolates, confections, one-of-a-kind sculptures, showpieces, customized favors, and corporate/wedding gifts upon opening the doors of their first location within the Business Development Center along the North Shore area of downtown Chattanooga.

August, 2011 brought about a remarkable and much needed change for The Hot Chocolatier as the business moved to Chattanooga’s Southside. The current location on 201 West Main Street, Suite 101 is the flagship retail shop and working kitchen for The Hot Chocolatier. With the move came some great changes; like a split kitchen to allow hot and cold items to be made at the same time. Whereas the business focused solely on chocolate items before, the menu has expanded to in-house gourmet pastries and desserts. Visitors arrive to find that they can watch the pastry chefs and chocolatiers working to fill the cases in the retail shop. This open floor plan was a big factor in relocating the business. The chocolate kitchen features a wall of windows through which guests can watch as freshly prepared chocolate items move through various states of production.

After visiting a number of shops/production facilities in Paris, France and Belgium as part of a travel study through a MakeWork grant, Wendy and Brandon felt that Chattanooga needed something of an artisan chocolate/gourmet dessert boutique-style shop to call their own. These kinds of shops exist in San Francisco, New York, Chicago, and Atlanta; so why not in Chattanooga too?

By working in small-batches with the freshest ingredients - purchased locally when possible, The Hot Chocolatier promises only the highest quality of products - developed through interchanges of both exotic and comforting flavor combinations - to its customers.

The Hot Chocolatier would like to thank The Chattanooga Neighborhood Enterprise, CreateHere/Springboard/MakeWork, The Chattanooga Market, Chattz Coffee, hard-working employees, friends & family (who continue freely volunteer their free time when needed), and our local patrons who continue to spread the good news about good chocolate!

photo by tim barber

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