Ilene C. Shane
When Ilene Shane was a personal chef, her boss, Ralph Lauren, asked what he should do to lose weight. Shane replied, “Yard work.” Shane’s sense of humor served her well throughout the eight-year gig with Lauren, and continues to inform her playful techniques as a high-end chocolatier. In 2001, Shane co-founded a boutique chocolate company, SweetBliss, with her partner, Iris Libby, and Lauren’s favorite buttercrunch chocolate biscotti.
Now, Shane and Libby own a chocolate and confection factory in Chelsea, where Shane creates mischievous concoctions like a fizzy Belgian chocolate frog filled with Pop Rocks, or the Kaplunk, which drops a marshmallow-filled Belgian chocolate dome into a mug of cocoa. SweetBliss is sold at Bergdorf Goodman, Saks Fifth Avenue and Dean and Deluca, high-end vendors that Shane never could have imagined. “I didn’t have a clue. I just kept following what seemed right and what seemed comfortable,” Shane says before singing, James Brown-style, “I feel good!” —LF