Former Art Students Create Artisan Chocolates

February 4, 2014 | | Student Success

Wendy and Brandon Buckner

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.

After visiting a number of shops/production facilities in Paris, France and Belgium as part of a travel study through a MakeWork grant in 2011, Wendy and Brandon felt that Chattanooga needed a retail artisan chocolate/gourmet dessert boutique-style shop to call their own. In August, 2011, the couple moved The Hot Chocolatier to Chattanooga’s Southside and expanded the menu to include in-house gourmet pastries and desserts. The Hot Chocolatier celebrated its fifth year anniversary in October 2013.

About the owners:

Wendy Buckner - owner & head chocolatier - received an Associate’s degree in Studio Art from Chattanooga State in 2001 and went on to graduate from The French Pastry School in Chicago, IL in 2005. 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, designer & assistant chocolatier - received an Associates/Transfer Degree in Studio Art from Chattanooga State in 1995, transferred to UTC for a BFA in Painting in 1998, and went on to receive a MFA in Painting from the University of Iowa, Iowa City in 2005. His training in design and studio art makes him an asset in custom chocolate creations. Brandon created The Hot Chocolatier logo and package designs for products and also works at Diversified Companies as a Graphics Specialist.