If you appreciate the delicate nature of a small batch of chocolate, you know that every piece is a work of art. From creamy chocolate-covered caramels, a decadent chocolate truffle, sugar free chocolate, to a liqueur-filled chocolate, each fine chocolate takes patience, dedication, and hard work to perfect.
But who’s the mastermind behind all of your favorite bitesize chocolate confections?
That honor goes to none other than a chocolatier, and they require all of the aforementioned skills—and more—to be successful in their industry.
If you’re interested in turning your passion into a career or you simply want to learn more about the impressive individuals who make your favorite chocolate delights, you’re in the right place.
What is a Chocolatier?
When you think of a chocolatier, perhaps you think of someone similar to Willy Wonka from the movie, Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory. In reality, there’s so much more to creating great chocolate products than that. A chocolatier actually has many other important responsibilities. Some of their daily duties include:1
- Blending a unique combination of ingredients to craft specific flavors
- Tempering chocolate to a certain texture
- Sculpting chocolate into various designs and decorations
- Storing chocolate at the appropriate temperature
- Designing molds to create the desired shapes
- Adhering to all food and safety regulations
How to Become a Chocolatier
If only becoming a chocolatier was as easy as eating chocolate.
Although they do sample a fair share of their handiwork, the road to becoming a chocolatier is long and arduous—but it’s also a whirlwind of excitement centered around honing your chocolate-making skills.
Let’s dive into the typical steps involved in becoming a chocolatier.
#1 Complete the Appropriate Schooling
Before you’re ready to open the next world-renowned confectionery shop, learning the fundamentals of your craft is essential. That’s right, we’re talking about going back to the basics.
From understanding the common ingredients chocolatiers use to creating your own specialty recipes, it all starts with receiving the proper education. While there’s no singular path mapped out that guarantees an immediate apprenticeship or role as a chocolatier, some of the common educational foundations include:2
- Earning an associate’s degree – After obtaining a high school diploma, many aspiring chocolatiers go to school to earn an associate’s degree in culinary arts. If possible, search for a program with a concentration in baking and pastry arts. There, you’ll often learn the entire process of making chocolate, from picking ingredients and making the product to packaging and selling your goods.
- Giving yourself an informal education – A degree goes a long way, but immersing yourself in the world of chocolate can help you go even further. You can research classic recipes and recent chocolate trends, listen to podcasts related to the industry, and read articles and books on how to make chocolate.
Then, it’s time to practice making batches of chocolate. Work on tempering it to the consistency you like (which takes a lot of practice). Learn what your strengths are and ways to improve on your weaknesses. You’ll be living, breathing, and eating chocolate for the foreseeable future—which sounds pretty wonderful.
#2 Gain Practical Experience
After you’ve acquired the basic skills, whether through formal education or by teaching yourself the chocolatey ropes (or maybe a combination of both), it’s time to gain practical experience.
Working in a bakery or a kitchen where they make artisanal chocolate can give you valuable insight into a day in the life of a chocolatier. You can learn to make all things chocolate including how to make a delicious chocolate bar, cookie, etc. There are a few different ways you can gain practical experience, including:
- Attending a chocolate school – A school dedicated to chocolate may sound like a dream come true (and it is), but it’s also a lot of hard work. If you’re wondering how chocolate is made, a chocolate school will teach you all about it. From taking online classes to assisting in a real confectionery kitchen, there are numerous chocolate schools to choose from. Most programs will teach you complex topics, like tempering chocolate, curating chocolate molds, and proper handling and safety techniques. You will also learn how to work with different types of chocolate like milk chocolate, white chocolate, and more.
- Finding an apprenticeship – Working in a kitchen under a professional chocolatier provides first-hand practice in all things chocolate. Some educational programs offer work placement upon finishing their curriculum. You can also take it upon yourself to apply to various apprenticeships that focus specifically on creating chocolate.
#3 Acquire the Necessary Skills
You’ll learn many hard skills along your journey to becoming a chocolatier, including:
- Making and tempering chocolate
- Crafting your own recipes
- Packaging and selling your products
In addition to hard skills, you’ll also accrue soft skills along the way. Soft skills are habits that shape the way you work on your own and with others. Some soft skills may come naturally, while others you will be able to learn and perfect on the job.
Some of the essential soft skills for an aspiring chocolatier include:
- Passion – Becoming a chocolatier is not for the faint of heart. Sure, loving chocolate and a variety of chocolate candy is an important prerequisite. But your love for chocolate alone won’t help you create award-winning confections. Rather, being passionate about every part of the chocolate-making process is essential, from handpicking each ingredient for your next batch to sprinkling dusting powder on individual pieces after they’ve cooled.
- Creativity – Making chocolate into an edible masterpiece is more than simply following instructions. It involves putting your flair on a tried-and-true recipe and making it your own. Your natural curiosity and creativity are invaluable assets that can aid in crafting new flavor combinations and exterior designs.
Attention to detail – If you’ve ever tried making chocolate, you know all too well that creating it from scratch is an exact science. If your recipe says to use .7 ounces of milk powder and you instead decide to use your best judgment, you will not end up with chocolate—or at least, not the chocolate you want to share with customers.
Being a chocolatier is about paying attention to all of the finer details like precision measurement and focusing on heating your chocolate to an exact temperature to obtain its famed glossy appearance.
- Patience – Creating chocolate from scratch is a labor of love. You begin by roasting the cocoa beans and grinding the resulting cacao nibs with other key ingredients.3 All in all, it’s a time-consuming process. You can’t rush perfection, so practicing patience is a fundamental skill for a chocolatier.
#4 Apply for Chocolatier Jobs
With a new set of skills, a brain full of chocolate-related knowledge, and the drive to take your passion to new heights, you’re ready for the last step of becoming a chocolatier—applying for jobs.
After attending school and earning some hands-on experience through an apprenticeship, you can use those contacts to help you search for any potential job leads. Don’t hesitate to reach out for a recommendation letter or to find out if they know of any chocolate companies that are hiring.
Experience Chocolatiers at Their Finest at Ethel M Chocolates
Becoming a chocolatier won’t happen overnight. But you can make your chocolate-filled dreams a reality with patience, determination, and a passion for chocolate. Just ask the chocolatiers at Ethel M Chocolates.
Our chocolatiers are dedicated to using superior ingredients to make high-quality chocolate candy you won’t find anywhere else. They appreciate the value of putting their heart and soul into what they do, which is why we make all of our chocolates in small batches. And when it’s time to box up the goodies, the chocolatiers pack each piece by hand, so you’ll know that each box was carefully packaged.
Stop by our factory in Henderson, Nevada, and take a self-guided tour to experience the magic of being a chocolatier for yourself.
- Indeed. How To Become a Chocolatier (With Job Duties and Salary).https://www.indeed.com/career-advice/finding-a-job/how-to-become-chocolatier
- Food and Wine. How to Become a Chocolatier. https://www.foodandwine.com/desserts/chocolate-jobs-chocolatier
- Red Cacao. How Is Chocolate Made? https://readcacao.com/how-is-chocolate-made/
- Indeed. The 8 Essential Resume Sections. https://www.indeed.com/career-advice/resumes-cover-letters/essential-resume-sections