Here at LiveMom, we love meeting new moms (and dads) doing interesting things around town. Our monthly Feature series give us an excuse to learn more about these hardworking Austinites. For July, we’re celebrating Delysia Chocolatier’s Nicole Patel! Thanks to Howdy Honda for supporting local mamas by sponsoring our monthly Local Mama Feature series.
In 2006, while pregnant with her first son, Chef Nicole Patel made a batch of chocolate truffles as last-minute holiday gifts. To the delight of her friends and family, truffle making became an enjoyable pastime for Nicole that relieved the stress of her corporate engineering job. Two years later, a chance trip to Becker Vineyards in the Texas Hill Country led to Nicole being the first person in Texas to make truffles using local wines.
Within five years of launching Delysia, Nicole was named a Top 10 Chocolatier in the Americas and a Grand Master Chocolatier for two consecutive years, a designation few chocolatiers have the privilege of receiving. Nicole now pairs the process efficiency skills from her Bachelor of Science and Master of Engineering degrees with unbound creativity in the kitchen to keep Delysia successfully moving forward. Nicole never could have imagined how her experience working at a Fortune 100 company as a supply chain and business process improvement expert would prime her for distributing her own products across the country. Nicole lives in Austin, Texas with her husband Rahul and their two sons.
LiveMom: What do you love about your job?
Nicole: I love that Delysia Chocolatier has created a team where we work in a collaborative environment. We don’t have any objections to new ideas as I believe every meeting, every word, and every question is beneficial.
LiveMom: How long have you lived in Austin, and what brought you here?
Nicole: I’ve lived in Austin since 2000. I decided to move to Texas straight out of college and accepted an engineering position with Motorola.
LiveMom: How many kids do you have, and what are their ages?
Nicole: I have two adventurous boys: Sebastien (goes by Seb), 10; and Colin, 7.
LiveMom: What is your idea of a perfect day with the family in Austin?
Nicole: Brunching is our favorite family outing. We always visit NXNW Brewery for their weekend brunch hour. Also visiting our local Kerbey Lane Cafe is a must on Tuesdays since our boys get the choice to eat anything for free and they love their pancakes.
I’m so happy we’ve built a close relationship with our neighbors and their kids. It’s always nice to relax on the porch at home with our friends and kick back our feet.
We often head out of town to Jester King Brewery, which has a perfectly large-sized playground for the boys to burn-off their energy or to Pedernales Falls for a run through the water, all on our way for a weekend getaway in Fredericksburg.
LiveMom: If you had 24 hours to yourself in Austin, how would you spend it?
Nicole: Honestly, taking a nap! But on a serious note, I would probably head downtown to rekindle with the way our city is constantly changing. I’d really like to get some insight at one of the local hotels, take in the food scene, and relax in my own thoughts.
LiveMom: What do you like best about Austin? What would you change, if you could?
Nicole: I love that the community in Austin is very open to supporting local businesses such as Delysia Chocolatier. It’s wonderful and so important to our success and the reason why we have such loyal customers.
Traffic routes are what I would change as we are growing, and have been for over 5 years, faster than our roads can support.
LiveMom: What’s one piece of unsolicited advice you’d give to a new mom?
Nicole: Enjoy your children with every moment you can, while still letting them flourish and grow uninhibited (don’t smother them). They’ll grow up so fast. It feels like just yesterday that my boys were just born.
LiveMom: What is the best thing one mom can do for another?
Nicole: Support each other in understanding what goes into motherhood. Help each other juggle the responsibilities of being a parent, so everyone can get a little break every now and then. Our neighborhood has 20+ kids and all of the moms juggle the load of picking kids up, entertaining for play dates and hosting dinners.
LiveMom: What kind of music do you like? Any local musicians? Kids musicians?
Nicole: I used to be up to date on the music scene and latest artists. I had always listened to music in the car and while working. Now I often just enjoy my little bit of quiet time when I can. My favorite now, when I do listen, is any instrumental and acoustical music.
LiveMom: What’s the best way to keep up with what you are up to next?
Nicole: We are constantly posting to our social media accounts and sending monthly newsletters to our subscribers to keep them updated with our special offers and events. I’m also at our Culinary Center every day and I love visitors. My team always keeps everyone updated with our upcoming events or festivals we’ll be participating in.
LiveMom: What might we be surprised to learn about you?
Nicole: I can’t actually eat an abundance of chocolate. A very small amount is enough. If I indulge in a lot it of chocolate, it ends up giving me migraines.
LiveMom: Do you have any charitable organizations you like to work with/ donate to/ volunteer for locally?
Nicole: We developed a great relationship with Little Herds and donated to help support their fundraising. We’ve also supported a wide range of nonprofits and schools such as Shalom Austin, Sommer Elementary, Reagan Elementary, School for the Deaf and Griffin School.
LiveMom: What is your secret talent?
Nicole: With my engineer background, I feel I have a great sense of detail and timing. I know exactly how much time we will need to be in production for a mass order or for a party we are catering. Owning a chocolate company, or any food establishment, can be very challenging when it comes to cleanliness. We train our team to keep all dishes, appliances, shelves and sinks spot free of any chocolate tracing. I pride myself on having a spotless facility.
Find more about Nicole and Delysia here:
Thanks to Howdy Honda, Austin’s top rated Honda store according to Yelp.com, for sponsoring this month’s Local Mama Feature. Stop by to speak with one of their trained Honda experts in sales and service to help answer your questions and make you feel at ease with your vehicle purchase experience. They have been our neighbor of over 30 years and sell new, used and certified pre-owned Hondas. Go see them!