Page 23

42

Chocolatier If I told you there was a career that involved contributing to the happiness levels of the world and it involved having access to free chocolate, you’d think I’d just regurgitated the plot of Roald Dahl’s Charlie and the Chocolate Factory and passed it off as fact. But in reality, there are many Willy Wonkas working all around the world, creating handmade chocolate treats that instantly make the world that little bit sweeter. They are the chocolatiers that give children sugar rushes, make diabetics sad and keep dentists in business. When I write of the chocolatier profession, I’m not referring to working at the Cadbury factory (although that sounds alright too). When I refer to chocolatiers, I mean highly skilled people who are dedicated to hand-crafting chocolate delights, à la the character played by Juliette Binoche in Chocolat. Of course, there’s always a place for mass-produced chocolates at the dessert buffet but, as a career choice, becoming an independent chocolatier is very different from a shift monitoring the Cadbury Crème Egg machine at the factory. Chocolatiers usually start out as pastry or confectionery chefs, then work their way into the chocolate scene, although this isn’t always the case. While chocolate might seem a simple thing to eat, it’s a very challenging food to work with. As such, many years are invested in learning the techniques needed to make successful sweet treats. From learning about cacao percentages to becoming an expert in the art of tempering and having a good understanding of food safety, becoming a skilled chocolatier is no easy feat. Becoming a chocolatier is possible almost anywhere and in some parts of the world it’s easier than others, with France, Belgium, Switzerland, Mexico and eastern Canada all having very vibrant chocolate-making traditions. Some cities have chocolate-making

schools. Canada’s Ecole Chocolat school is well regarded, while the Chocolate Academy has locations everywhere from Singapore to Spain, Chicago and Moscow. Most chocolatiers tend to run their own businesses, crafting chocolates for the masses or producing bespoke chocolate delights for events such as weddings. Some choose to work in high-end restaurants, six-star cruise ships and luxury hotels. Regardless, the ultimate endgame that most chocolatiers aspire to is becoming known as a master chocolatier. Considered the best of the very best, master chocolatiers compete at the World Chocolate Masters each year. Imagine being a judge at that event! Combining sheer culinary talent with creative flair, chocolatiers may be working in a job that has existed for centuries, but the need to innovate is still present. As such, a successful chocolatier must have an eye on current food trends and the ability to consistently bring new flavours, designs and creations to the table. In short, you really do need to be like Willy Wonka (without exploiting an army of orange, short-statured people, of course).

The lowdown

Education or qualifications: No formal educational requirements. Experience required: Many years working as a pastry chef or confectionery maker are needed before stepping into the role of a chocolatier. Training: On-the-job training by apprenticing under another pastry chef or chocolatier is common, as is attending culinary school or a chocolate academy. Restrictions: Diabetics will struggle with this profession.

I can get paid for that?  

NOTE: This e-gallery is for press purposes only. No images or other copyrighted materials seen here may be reproduced. Contact patrick@smi...

I can get paid for that?  

NOTE: This e-gallery is for press purposes only. No images or other copyrighted materials seen here may be reproduced. Contact patrick@smi...

Advertisement