A Gay Willy Wonka?


By Bob Smith

In the December issue of Out we asked three questions of Comparte's Chocolates' Jonathan Grahm, the 21-year-old openly gay chocolatier to the stars, who has been running the Brentwood, Calif., business since he was 19. Here are the exclusive outtakes from that interview.

Were you a chocolate connoisseur as a child? Did your s'mores have to be made with Valrhona chocolate with 71% cocoa?

I was never really big on chocolate. It's so funny because now chocolate's my passion. My family owned a winery'Bonny Doon Vineyards'and my grandmother used to take me to restaurants like Spago when she paid her calls. I was more interested in gourmet foods than I was candy, which is where I get some of my inspirations for my unique and interesting chocolates.

So you would have rather had escargot than M&M's?

Well, I wouldn't go that far. I won't eat snails or rabbit.

What about chocolate bunnies?

Now those I would eat.

And which part first, the head or the tail?

I always like head first.

Was it hard coming out as a fudgepacker?

[Laughs] Now who says I'm a fudgepacker?

Good answer. What's your favorite part of chocolate making?

It makes people happy. What's better than chocolate? I can have the most difficult people in the world in my store and all I have to say is 'Would you like a sample?' Then they smile and they're instantly happy. I love my job.

Have you ever had any chocolate experiments that didn't work out?

Yes. I made a Cajun truffle with cajun spices and habanero pepper. Well, to me, it tasted like blackened chicken. I hated them but I didn't want to waste food, so I brought these to one of my events and gave them away, warning people that they were an experiment and telling them not to judge me by my Cajun Spice Truffle. They laughed and everyone ended up loving them!

Is there any male Hollywood star whom you'd like to pour chocolate over and lick off?

Hmmm. Who says I haven't done that already? [Laughs] Let me think' Ryan Phillippe, I'd take my sweet time making sure I got every last bit. If we threw Brad Pitt and Jude Law into the mix, there'd be a lot of love nuts to go around.

Are there any celebrities who you'd really like to try your chocolates?

I definitely want all the women from Sex and the City to try some of my chocolates. I have the Desperate Housewives, and now I need them. Sarah Jessica, if you're reading this, come and get 'em, baby' I am waiting!

What's your take on white chocolate? Isn't it just candlewax with sugar?

[Laughs] Almost. I use white chocolate but I'm not a big fan. It's not really chocolate. It's cocoa butter and sugar. Dark chocolate has the most anti-aging antioxidants, gay men out there. That means eat more dark chocolate, boys! White chocolate doesn't have any of that. Sure, it's fun to play with, but the darker the chocolate, the better!

Chocolate is anti-aging? Should you eat it or rub it on your face?

Do both! Next year I'm actually going to come out with a line of chocolate skin care products. Everything from a chocolate bubble bath to a chocolate skin scrub.

So you can loofah with a Nestl' Crunch bar?

Sort of.

Are you planning a Walt Whitman Sampler for the gay market?

Who's that?

He's a famous gay American poet.

I guess I should've known that.

We'll let it pass. You're 21.

I go to UCLA. [Laughs] I know the names of the cast of Queer as Folk.

Which of your chocolates would you send to a boyfriend on Valentine's Day?

There's so many things I could do. It would involve chocolate, love nuts, rose petal truffles, chocolate body frosting, a chocolate shower bar, and champagne truffles. It would be everything for a great Valentine's evening, but in chocolate!

Sounds like your boyfriend might lose his figure.

I guess my boyfriend and I would have to work it off in the bedroom too, which I wouldn't mind. But, no, really, chocolate's not fattening. I weigh 120 pounds and I eat chocolate all day long!

With nuts or without?

Definitely with nuts. Love Nuts.

For more on Grahm, pick up the December issue of Out.