Chocolatier and pastry chef Ruth Hinks graduated in 1994 from the Silwood School of Cookery in her native South Africa with a Grand Diploma in Cordon Bleu cooking, before training with Cacao Barry in Meulan, near Paris. Aged 23, she emigrated to Australia with her parents and at 25 she was appointed Head Pastry Chef at the 5 star Windsor Hotel in Melbourne – a position she also held in 2006 at Edinburgh’s Sheraton Grand Hotel.
In 2005, Ruth married David and in 2008, they launched Cocoa Black, a manufacturer and retailer of luxury boxed chocolates and celebration cakes, based in Peebles. To help raise awareness of her new business, Ruth entered and won several professional pastry chef competitions. The industry awards she achieved (UK World Chocolate Master, UK Confectioner of the Year) transformed Cocoa Black into a celebrated luxury brand, with regular customers including royalty, celebrities and passionate foodies the world over.