January 07, 2022

Are you Interested in being a chocolatier and how to become one?

Are you Interested in being a chocolatier and how to become one?

Are you Interested in being a chocolatier and how to become one?

If you love chocolate and are looking for a fun and exciting career, you may have considered becoming a chocolatier. You see shows on tv about making enormous, intricate chocolate sculptures and think you'd like to try your hand at it. Maybe you've traveled the globe and were so impressed with chocolate creation you tried and want to learn how to make it yourself. Perhaps you are tired of working the corporate grind and would love to express yourself creatively with candy and chocolates. Then being a chocolatier might be the perfect career path for you.

What does a chocolatier do?

Unlike chocolate makers who make chocolate from bean to bar, chocolatiers use couverture chocolate from outside manufactures. Chocolatiers melt coverture chocolate and then temperate it to create hundreds of different confections. Essentially chocolatiers are like chocolate chefs. Chocolatiers create their style of chocolate, mixing and blending different thicknesses and flavor profiles to find their signature blend.

The chocolatier will use many different methods to create products of all shapes and sizes with tempered chocolate. Many experienced chocolatiers develop their techniques and even invent their own equipment to help them make chocolates faster. We'll go through some of the methods now.

  • Hand-dipping: Hand-dipping chocolate is the art of dipping chocolates by hand or with a utensil. Essentially all chocolatier businesses begin this way. I can't think of any chocolate product that can't be hand-dipped.
  • Hand Funneled / Piping: Hand Funneling is a technique used by chocolatiers to deposit chocolate onto or into other things. Some examples of hand funneled chocolate are nonpareils, wafers, and molds. Some pastry chefs that focus on chocolates will use a pastry bag instead of a funnel.
  • Enrobing: Enrobing is a technique used by chocolatiers to cover chocolates by running whatever is being chocolate covered under a curtain of chocolate. Enrobing is the most effective way to cover many different centers in chocolate.
  • Cooking: Chocolatiers cook centers that they then cover in chocolate or sell uncoated. Some examples are Cream Centers, Easter Eggs, Caramel, Nougat, Brittles, Toffee, Fudge, Ganache.

So that's what a chocolatier does. Now it's time to get your hands dirty and find out how to become a chocolatier. There are a few common paths to becoming a chocolatier, but first, let's clarify what a chocolatier is. A chocolatier is a person or company that makes confectionery from chocolate. Chocolatiers are distinct from chocolate makers, who create chocolate from cacao beans and other ingredients. In other words, a chocolatier is similar to a chef whose main ingredient is chocolate.

There is no exact way to become a chocolatier. As with most things in life, success is a symptom of hard work and determination. With the right amount of dedication and drive, the rewarding career as a chocolatier could be yours. Let's go over the most common ways to get your career started. 

  • Culinary School: Pastry chefs study all aspects of pastries and desserts, including chocolates. Some of the most talented chocolatiers in the world are pasty chefs. Culinary school is probably the most straightforward path and will put an aspiring chocolatier on the most straightforward way to being a professional.
  • Apprentice: Gaining employment with a chocolate company is another straightforward path to starting a chocolatier career. Apprenticing under an experienced Confectioner, Chocolatier, or pastry chef will give you real-world experience right away.
  • Self Study: Some aspiring chocolatiers may not want to dedicate themselves to full-time employment. Perhaps they are looking for a retirement or second career and want to open their own business. Many books on the subject are available, and many chocolate companies started at one point in someone's kitchen.

Let's discuss a little further the pros and cons of each path.

  • Culinary school is usually not free and can be rather expensive. It is also a significant time commitment requiring years of hard work and study to finish. The main advantage of acquiring a culinary arts degree is that you attain the techniques and ability to create chocolates and education that encompasses everything you will need to embark on your career, including cost accounting, time management, and managerial training.
  • Apprenticing: This option costs you nothing out of pocket, and you will typically get paid. If you are apprenticing under a highly-skilled individual, you will learn to make it as a successful chocolatier with hands-on experience. The drawback to apprenticing is that you are not in control of your learning pace. You are entirely at the will of your employer and may not learn anything new for months or may even years.
  • Self-Study: This is an excellent option for someone who wants a new or second career but doesn't necessarily need one. Having no deadlines or the stress of needing to make things work to survive another day is a great way to hone the craft. One of the drawbacks to this path is not having anyone to reach out to when things do not work the way "they're supposed to." Making chocolates is a complex process that is very much an art form. It takes years to understand how to do the same thing repeatedly, getting similar results each time.

Now that you've read this post, you know exactly what a chocolatier is and what it takes to become one. 

Ready to learn more? Browse our prodigious collection of Chocolate articles!