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Best of times, worst of times: Hayleigh Bazelya

Categories: Behind the stalls

The likes and dislikes of the founder of Chocolicious

Fantasy job
I would love to be a show jumper. I have always loved horses and have ridden for years. In fact, I thought about pursuing it professionally, but I had a young family and thought I ought to do something a bit safer. But I still ride horses and one day you will see me in the show jumping ring.

Worst job
I qualified as a beautician and worked in the industry for a few years. I hated doing manicures and pedicures. It is just incredibly boring, sat for hour after hour cleaning, filing and painting people’s nails.

Favourite holiday destination
The Maldives. It was just amazing, the food, the climate and the people were just wonderful. I am a real hot weather person and loved it there. I would love to go back.

Favourite childhood dish
Sitting down to a full Sunday roast dinner with all the trimmings. I loved it as a child, and I still love it now I’m a mother with my own kids to cook for.

Worst childhood dish
I don’t like pies of any kind. I don’t know if it is the pastry, but I have never liked them even as a child and never feel quite right after eating one. I still avoid them today, and because I’m now in charge of the menu at home, no-one tries to make me eat them.

Signature dish
I make a mean steak with a red wine sauce. That is a favourite, whenever I cook it. It doesn’t matter what I cook with it, the steak is always what people talk about afterwards.

Worst kitchen disaster
I remember when I just left home at about 17 years old. I had never cooked in my life. I tried to make some rice and peas. I took a bag of rice, poured it all into a small milk pan, and left it. When I came back it had expanded to fill the pan and dried out to a rock hard, solid mass. I had to throw the whole lot away—including the pan.

Best recent meal
That was in a lovely little Italian bistro we found. It was pan fried chicken with asparagus and wild mushrooms, with a peppercorn and white wine sauce. Nothing about the meal was over-complicated, but the quality of everything on the plate was excellent and it was beautifully cooked and presented.

Worst recent meal
A seafood curry that was the total opposite of the Italian meal. You could tell the fish was old and had been frozen. It was overcooked and had this chewy texture and you couldn’t really taste what fish it was. The spicing overpowered the main ingredients, which weren’t balanced. The whole thing just didn’t work, it was awful. I don’t think I finished it.

Best recent film
Insidious: The Last Key, which is the last in a series of ghost horror movies. It is about a family who move into a haunted house where beings from another dimension try to take control of them when they are dreaming, and they have to unlock certain mysteries in the dream world to defeat them. I like that kind of horror movie—it isn’t just about gore, there is a kind of thriller aspect.

Least favourite school subject
Art. I really wanted to be good at it, because my sister is an amazing artist, but I was awful.

Favourite school subject
I liked all of the sciences but my favourite was chemistry. I found them interesting and you tend to do well at school in the subjects you like. It is interesting that you can probably make a link with the fact that I liked chemistry at school and I’m now a chocolatier.

Favourite drink
I don’t really drink, unless it is a special occasion. Then, I like champagne and champagne cocktails.  

Worst drink
Beer. I don’t like it at all.

Sporting hero
Torvill and Dean. They were so good, they raised ice dancing to another level and changed the sport. Even though they retired nearly 20 years ago, there hasn’t been anyone from any country who has had the impact they did.

Favourite album
The Immaculate Collection by Madonna. It was released in the nineties and I first listened to it as a kid. It is an album I’ve kept listening to over the years, and I still love it.

Worst thing about London
Getting around is frustrating. Both the traffic and the transport systems are not nearly as good as they should be for a city like London.

Best thing about London
I love how multicultural it is. You meet different people from different parts of the world every day. No two days here are the same, and I like that.

Favourite way to relax
Going to the gym; that is my ‘me time’. I’m a real gym geek. I have a personal trainer and do everything, including all the weights. I also swim and sometimes have a sauna. I really get the best out of my gym membership.

Favourite city
I would say Venice, it is very romantic and had a lovely relaxed atmosphere about it when I visited.

Pet hate
People who are constantly cynical about things. I can’t understand people who are negative, even about things they have no experience of.

What is your hangover cure?
The gym.