Ahh a chocolatier -- a recession-proof job if ever there was one.
Being a chocolatier is often regarded as romantic and exciting but there's lots of hard work involved in creating confectionery from chocolate. While having a strong affinity for chocolate is good, there are many important aspects to master.
A job working with chocolate is best for those who are creative and have a knack for sweets.
A chocolatier is a type of chef that specializes in chocolate and can craft a wide range of ridiculously tempting chocolates. You'll make fillings for chocolates such as praline, caramel and truffle, or hand decorate chocolates and seasonal specialties.
Becoming a chocolate maker requires knowledge, skill, creativity, putting in long hours, and the patience of a saint. You'll acquire chocolate-making talents, such as tempering, molding, candy production and confections, and recipe creation.
To be a professional chocolatier, you will learn:
• The chemistry of chocolate flavors and textures
• Tempering, dipping, decorating, and molding
• Confectionery formulae based on ganache, sugar syrup, and fondant
You must be able to handle pressure and seemingly endless repetition, you must be strong physically as well as mentally, and you'd better like working independently.
Having a sense of aesthetics is good too. And since Halloween, Christmas, Valentine's Day, Easter, and Mother's Day are major chocolate holidays, know you'll have a busy season from October to at least mid May.
As for formal education, you can go either hard-core culinary training at a university or cooking institute, such as Ecole Chocolate School and The Chocolate Academy (We said it was a cool job). Or you can opt to work or volunteer with someone who manufactures chocolate.
The chocolate business is a tough and competitive industry filled with skilled chocolatiers. But patience and perseverance will get you through. The pay is not a bad chunk of chocolate with salaries starting at $25,000 but can (do) increase based on experience and location.Copyright © 2014, The Baltimore Sun