Ok, How to Become a Chocolatier


Chocolate is often referred to as “the food of the gods” – and for good reason. From its rich flavors to its luxurious texture, chocolate is an indulgence that has been enjoyed by millions of people all over the world. If you love making delicious creations with chocolate and tend to be a little creative and artsy, then becoming a chocolatier could be a great career path for you. But where do you start? In this blog post, we will explore all the steps it takes to become a professional chocolatier. Or - you can skip the path altogether like me!


My Journey


Check our YouTube video for more details about my chocolatier journey, but I just skipped a lot of the advice I'm about to give you.  I sent emails out to many chocolatiers around the country - used AOL.com many years ago - and asked for advice.  Many of the books were in German, and there were no formal programs, so my opportunity was limited.  I bought equipment and set up a home "maker space" to create and learn about chocolate.  It took me a long time with a lot of failures along the way before I developed the competence and confidence to allow others to taste my confections much less sell them.  Today you can take a much more efficient route, but I would still encourage you to grow your network of chocolatiers and chefs.  I have never stopped learning and for me, this is one of the greatest joys of the profession. 


Training and Education 


If you want to become a professional chocolatier, there are several routes you can take. One option is to attend formal culinary school, which will provide you with comprehensive training in a wide range of pastry and bakery skills. But unfortunately, most of these programs only teach an introductory experience in chocolate and confections and don't provide enough training to become a true chocolatier unless there is an opportunity for a more comprehensive elective.  There is the possibility that you could also do an externship with a local chocolate shop or factory. 


You can also learn the basics through online courses or YouTube videos, which are often more affordable options than traditional schooling. Even Instagram today is loaded with tips and ideas on how to attack new techniques. However, these courses may not teach you everything you need to know about being a successful chocolatier; nothing beats hands-on experience in the kitchen. 


Finally, one of the latest ways to gain training is through more formal and comprehensive online training programs.  One of my absolute favorites is through Melissa Coppel in Las Vegas, NV.  These are reasonably priced programs and she is frankly a rock star.  She can bring the formal training of a professional kitchen directly into your home.  Also, if time allows, you can do in-person training with her as well.  She provides recipes and videos for you to review later that teach you basic skills as well more advanced techniques. 


Learning On-The-Job


Once your basic training is complete, it’s time to get some hands-on experience in the kitchen. Many aspiring chocolatiers choose to apprentice with established professionals for an extended period before setting out on their own. This allows them to learn from experienced professionals who can share valuable tips and tricks on how to make delicious chocolates at home or in a commercial setting. Working alongside experienced chefs can also help build your confidence in your skillset and give you valuable insight into what it takes to succeed as a professional chocolatier.  Also, you will be able to create your own set of basic recipes that you can use when you launch your own journey.          


Practice Makes Perfect 


The key factor that separates amateur bakers from professional ones is practice—and lots of it! As any master chef knows, practice makes perfect when it comes to baking treats like cakes and cookies—but this rings especially true for making high-quality chocolates at home or in a commercial setting. To hone your craft further, consider joining local cooking clubs or competitions; these are great ways to get feedback from other top pastry chefs so that you can refine your skills even more quickly!   And did we mention feedback?  Be open to criticism early on and take it seriously and incorporate this advice into your next batch. 


Conclusion


Becoming a professional chocolatier requires dedication, hard work, and practice—lots of practice! But if you have what it takes then becoming a skilled artisanal chocolate maker may just be one of the most rewarding professions out there! From attending formal culinary school or taking online classes to gain invaluable hands-on experience through apprenticeships or baking clubs, there are many ways aspiring chocolatiers can hone their craft until they reach perfection! With enough patience and determination anyone can become an exceptional chocolate maker - so why not give it a try? Good luck on your journey toward becoming a world-class chocolatier!


If you are ever in our area and would like to chat further about learning opportunities, be sure to send an email to info@hillcountrychocolate.com and connect with me before your visit.  I would never have been able to open our chocolate factory without the support and advice from many before me.  We like to pass that same tradition along to others.  

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