Chef Randy Olmstead’s tagline is, “Indulge your senses.” Through the years as a chocolatier, he’s made thousands upon thousands of candies that are created for people to do just that.
“First you have to see it," he says. "Then you’ll smell the aroma. As you taste it, use your mind to transport you to a memory. That’s my favorite part.”
Chocolate, for most people, is evocative, and that’s what’s special about The Perfect Truffle.
Chocolate has been part of Randy’s life as far back as he can remember.
“My first experience with chocolate was as a young child. My grandmother would work making chocolate during the holidays of Easter and Christmas. She, my mother and aunts would be in the basement hand-tempering several hundred pounds of chocolate. They were making candies for the church and the community and elsewhere.”
Studying as a pastry chef at L’Académie de Cuisine, Randy did not intend to become a chocolatier. However, during the lessons on chocolate, he says, it brought back some memories of his grandmother.
“I could recall sitting on the steps of the basement with the huge marble slabs of chocolate sitting there, and the aromatic-ness of the chocolate seemed to seep into my DNA a little bit. Even to this day, the smell of chocolate is more satisfying to me than eating the chocolate,” Randy says.
Opening The Perfect Truffle was the niche Randy knew he could fill. And he was right. He’s been making small-batch, artisanal art in the form of chocolate for 15 years. Through the years, a young man, fascinated by the chocolate, would pop in from time to time to taste the truffles and chat about chocolate. He often said, “I’m going to work for you.”
After graduating from Linganore High School, Cody Marwine attended the Culinary Institute of America in New York’s Hyde Park. He studied and worked alongside world-renown chefs and had diverse experiences with travel, learning about flavors and the science of food. His trajectory changed when his brother sent a photo from The Perfect Truffle.
"I always wanted to make candy in general," Cody says. "But, the only way to make the best candy is to learn all aspects of everything else. At the restaurant, Jean-Georges at Nougatine, working with Johnny Iuzinni—his style of desserts was very different.”
Cody developed a strong palette for acidity and balance while working with Fabian Von Hauske from Mexico City. And, because the desserts were acidic and super salty, it led to how he develops flavors.
“Overall, I wanted to learn how to make candy, and making candy by hand is slowly dying just like a lot of trades. My goal is to expand to other candies because there are other wonderful candies, like caramels and toffees,” Cody says.
When Cody returned from New York, Randy began suggesting a succession plan. Randy is emphatic.
“Cody needs to be the one," he says. "He has a lot of the same vision and ideas about flavors, tastes and quality that I have. He’s younger, with a different palette, with experiences of different flavors from around the world. He was able to come up with other flavors I wouldn’t even think of.”
The plan is in place, and Cody has big shoes to fill. Randy closes by saying, “I’ve been doing this for 15 years. Cody’s ideas are just a little bit sharper and a little bit fresher. For this company to continue the growth and path of success it’s had over the past 15 years, I think it’s time for the next generation to take over. That’s why I am passing The Perfect Truffle over to Cody.”
What’s next for Chef Randy includes Florida, scuba diving, Wounded Warriors and saving the oceans. We wish him well and can’t wait to see what delectable treats Cody creates.
The delicious truffles on the cover are handmade at Frederick's award-winning Perfect Truffle on North Market Street. They are the perfect gifts for clients, colleagues, friends and family. You can even have a custom truffle or chocolate bar made with your logo or design of your choosing. What a great way to support a local business this holiday season! PerfectTruffle.com