A Weymouth chocolatier is taking part in a charity challenge to help the friend who taught her to make chocolate.

Laura Whittaker, founder of Levoco Chocolates, is taking part in a charity 24-hour macaron baking challenge hosted by her friend and renowned pastry chef Damien Wager.

She founded her chocolate business in 2022 following a workplace injury that sent her down a completely new career path.

Many years ago Laura worked with Damien, who owns Edible Art Patissiere in Cheltenham, and various macaron boutiques inside Harvey Nichols stores across the country.

He was the driving force behind Laura's career change - teaching her how to make chocolate.

Laura said: “I injured my hand in a work accident and got into a very depressive slump, so I reached out to Damien and asked him to teach me how to make chocolate.”

She described him as ‘the kindest most generous person.’

Laura added: “I knew he was doing it and he asked me to be part of it and I thought that I could be part of the clean-up crew, but he said ‘no, you’re cooking, you’re doing it.’

“I’m so excited to give back and honoured and privileged to be part of something truly impactful.”

But despite her eagerness to get involved, Laura has never actually made a macaron before.

She joked: “I’m trying not to think about that. I only tasted my first macaron after Christmas when Damien sent me some.”

The challenge is taking place on Monday, February 26 to Tuesday, February 27, from 10am to 10am and will raise money for a number of foodbanks across the country.

Laura said: “This will be my first time away from my four-year-old and only a really good cause could pull me away.

“They made a whopping number of macarons last year and we are hoping to smash that this year.”

She explained that the reason that Damien hosts the annual challenge is because he was homeless for a year when he was 16 and living in a tent with his mum who relied on foodbanks to feed her kids and is ‘Damien’s way of giving back.’

The aim is to raise ‘as much money as possible via donations, sponsors, silent auctions and macaron sales from the event for food banks all across the UK.’

The fundraiser can be found here: https://www.gofundme.com/f/macaron-bakeoff-for-food-banks?member=30741549&sharetype=teams&utm_campaign=p_na+share-sheet&utm_medium=copy_link&utm_source=customer.