RICHMOND now has its very own Olympic gold medalist.
But William Curley has won his international accolade not for athletics but for his chocolate.
The 32-year-old, whose new patisserie opened in Paved Court at the weekend, represented Scotland at the Culinary Olympics at Erfurt, Germany, two weeks ago.
He was delighted when his creations won gold in the Restaurant of Nations category, confirming his reputation as one of the best chocolatiers in the UK.
Mr Curley's numerous awards include the Craft Guild Pastry Chef of the Year and British Dessert of the Year. He has previously won medals at international events in Luxemburg, Basle and Chicago.
The Richmond shop is Mr Curley's first independent venture, but he has worked with some of the top names in European cuisine.
He spent six years at numerous Michelin-starred establishments with respected chefs including Pierre Koffmann at La Tante Claire, Marco Pierre White at The Restaurant and Raymond Blanc at Le Manoir aux Quatre Saisons.
He was also chef patissier at the Savoy for three years, leading a team of 20 pastry chefs, and has studied in France and Belgium Top London chef Pierre Koffmann said: "During my 25 years in the business, only one or two like William have ever come along. He is a fantastic pastry chef and chocolatier."
Mr Curley took part in the Olympics accompanied by his wife and business partner Suzue, who is a respected patissier in her own right, having worked at Claridges and the Savoy, where she was in charge of the famous afternoon teas.
At the new shop in Richmond, located in a former art gallery, Mr Curley will create pastries and chocolates using hand-sourced ingredients. Heirloom single estate cocoa beans and virgin Madagascan vanilla scent the air around the chef's table, where a few lucky customers are encouraged to indulge and luxuriate in the exquisite flavours and textures.
Mr Curley said: "I've planned this shop for the last ten years. Pastry and chocolate are two of the wonders of the food world and my pastries embody the spirit of the great people I've worked with."
The shop is open Tuesday to Saturday from 10am to 7pm and on Sundays from 11am to 4pm.