We all have a voice in our head that controls that oh so sweet tooth of ours. It is quite gratifying when we treat ourselves to a little sugar every once in awhile. As we are taking steps to move toward a healthier lifestyle with natural and organic products, there is no reason why we should cut corners with our desserts. St. Petersburg, Florida is home to a chef who has been providing our community with heavenly and healthy chocolate cakes, long before it was so fashionable. Emmanuel Roux, owner of Gateau O Chocolat, creates the most delicious flour-free cakes. Made with only a few natural ingredients, they are perfect for dinner parties, birthdays or gifts because everyone can enjoy them!
There is certainly a reason why Gateau O Chocolat’s slogan is “Heaven’s official chocolate cake. Now available on Earth!” Each one is made with single-origin, Ecuadorian Rainforest Alliance certified chocolate, organic butter and eggs from small farms, and organic, carbon-neutral Florida cane sugar (that’s right, it is gluten free!). Roux keeps the ingredients to a minimum, but the taste is more than maximum.
“When you read the label, you don’t need a PhD in chemistry,” Roux stated as he explained the non-toxic ingredients in his scrumptious cakes. He initially got the idea when he and his lovely wife were dining at an intimate restaurant in Paris, France where they were served an exquisite slice of chocolate cake that was actually healthy. He wondered how he could bring this wonderful idea back to the States, where he owned a few restaurants at the time in Downtown St. Pete.
After experimenting with the purest ingredients, Emmanuel found success at the end of 2010 and Gateau O Chocolat was born! DTSP is incredibly thankful that he did, because his products are top-notch; they are good for us without tasting too dry like other gluten free cakes.
How can you taste Heaven on Earth? While Emmanuel’s kitchen is located right here on 4th Street in Downtown St. Pete, the company ships anywhere in the country and even Canada. Visit their website or call 727-251-1879 to place your order or find out more information. Gateau O Chocolat can be found in various Country Clubs and hotels in the area, and also make great corporate gifts or the perfect dessert for your next party (I was originally introduced to Emmanuel and his cakes at an Entrepreneur Social Club, held every Thursday night at 6:00 pm at beautiful NOVA 535. You never know what sort of goodies you will run into at these meetings – there is always a surprise. In this case, an enjoyable chocolaty surprise!).
Aside from being The Flourless Chocolat Cake King, who is Emmanuel Roux? Simply put, he is a Renaissance Man with a fascinating life story. Born in Tunisia, he was raised in both France and Tunisia. There he lived on a wheat farm lined with olive and apricot trees. The farm had an incredible link to history, as it was where General Patton experienced the first enemy fire during WWII.
As Emmanuel reflected on his family’s farm, he said that before their visiting friends would depart, everyone would open the trunk of their car so that the cook and gardener could gift them with a large basket of fresh vegetables.
“To me, having organically grown veggies is a luxury that I favor over many others,” Roux said during our interview. His love for fresh vegetables explains why he has such an important role in the Urban Farm found at the Faith House Community Garden, St. Petersburg (located at 302 15th Street North). He began this beautiful garden about two years ago with Bill Bilodeau. Interested in volunteering or touring the garden? Call 727-822-4981.
Emmanuel attended school in Switzerland for hotel management. Then he found himself working for an oil research company in the Sahara where he had some “wild experiences” that had to do with twenty-tons of dynamite accidentally blowing up. (I’m glad everything worked out in his favor because now St. Pete has Emmanuel’s amazing flour-free cakes here to blow our minds with flavor!)
With the hotel knowledge gained through his studies, he landed a job as a Captain Steward on a French military helicopter carrier. This opportunity gave him the chance to travel the world, often drinking champagne for breakfast (because each job has it’s perks right?).
In the 1970s he hopped over the pond and found himself working as the General Manager of the affluent Lotos Club in New York City. Then in 1979, he pioneered the field of handmade flavored pastas out of Savannah, Georgia. Why? Because no one had done it before.
Finally making the ultimate transition to St. Petersburg, Florida – Emmanuel Roux teamed up with jazz trombonist, Buster Cooper, and began an elegant jazz club and the first martini bar in St. Pete – The Garden Restaurant on Central Avenue. Roux also added Redwoods to Downtown St. Pete, which was a high-end fine-dining restaurant with attached sushi bar. In 2009 Emmanuel sold the eateries and began devoting his time to gardening and perfecting the Gateau O Chocolat Cakes.
Downtown St. Pete is home to many unique personalities, such as Emmanuel Roux, who truly make our community one-of-a-kind. To meet more people like Roux and to be introduced to the 5-star places to go and fabulous things to do in DTSP, create a profile on DowntownStPete.com today. When you order a flour-free cake from Gateau O Chocolat, post a picture of you enjoying it on Downtown Now to share with our other awesome members!