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A chocolatier combines a passion for art and a love for chocolate into a career making candy and confections. Some chocolatiers turn their craft into self-employment with a specialty retail shop, while others work in the production facilities of large chocolate manufacturers. The work is often hard, but you can take credit for concocting attractive and delicious chocolate treats for delighted consumers.
Like a chef, a chocolatier prepares food products using ingredients and recipes. However, a chocolatier specializes in customized products. In large organizations, you may design and make a wide array of products, such as candy bars and special seasonal items. In some shops, you may create niche specialty items, such as chocolate-covered strawberries or truffles. Chocolatiers use equipment in large-scale operations to mold shapes and hand-held devices to add details.
The more creative talent you have in developing distinct recipes and product innovations, the greater your value to employers who want customized chocolates. Innovative chocolatiers also have a better chance at self-employment success. To make it in a specialty retail shop, you must conceive and create distinct products that capture premium prices. Many chocolatiers cultivate their natural creativity in culinary programs or internships, where they learn about chemistry, flavors and the production process.
You need a passion for chocolate manufacturing to enjoy your job and to last in the chocolate business. The pressure to create large quantities of high quality on a consistent basis is great. In some cases, you have to work long hours to complete large orders on a deadline. The routine process of making hundreds or thousands of the same pieces can be mentally challenging. You also spend many hours working on your feet and moving equipment and supplies, which means you need physical strength and endurance.
Requirements and Advancement
Chocolatiers often need an associate degree from a culinary program or a certificate from a specialized institute. You may also pursue a bachelor's degree in culinary studies. Completing an internship with a chocolate manufacturer during your studies may prepare you for immediate employment after graduation. Some aspiring chocolatiers volunteer in high school or college to learn the business. Eventually, you can start your own company if you have the manufacturing and business skills to succeed. Along with promotions to higher-level, better-paying chocolatier positions, you could become a shop manager.