Do you love chocolate? Do you also love fine foods, baking and cooking? If you are only looking to improve your chocolate skills by making dishes at home, you can start with the many cookbooks on the subject. To be a simple chocolate maker, you can start at home, go to a continuing education class, or attend some classes at a local junior college. But if you are looking to really cash in on your love of chocolate, you may want to become a Chocolatier.
If you are more serious about the art of making chocolate, you can attend a culinary school to learn the trade. Learning how to transform the raw cocoa bean into chocolate is usually the first step of a chocolatier. Chocolate makers take chocolate in its original form, the bean, and then transform it into delicious candies and baked goods. Chocolates will range in sweetness, butter fat content and extra ingredients.
Becoming a Master Chocolatier
You can pursue your chocolate obsession as a chocolate maker, a culinary pastry chef, a confectioner or Master Chocolatier. A chocolate maker might be self-taught, but a culinary chef or Master Chocolatier will require specialized training.
To become a pastry chef, one will need extensive training at one of the many Culinary Institutes around the world. Any university that offers culinary programs or a specialty school will normally have a pastry program. As a pastry chef you will gain knowledge of the entire industry including baking, chocolate making and confections. Some schools offer specialties in chocolate but most are broad based.
Many of the institutions offer programs that run from bachelors degrees in Applied Science to first level certificates of knowledge. Different opportunities will open for those who hold a degree as a Pastry chef. A pastry chef can learn to specialize in chocolate or choose to branch out into other culinary avenues, such as baked goods.
The last phase of learning the skill of chocolate making is to become a Chocolatier. Chocolatiers specialize in chocolate, as well as dishes that have chocolate as one of the main ingredients. Once you achieve this level you will be able to deal with chocolate in all forms!
There are only a handful of schools in the world that focus only on the art of making chocolate. Once you attend such a school you will graduate as a master chocolatier. These schools area scattered all over the world, including Belgium and South Africa. These programs teach every aspect of chocolate making and the chocolate business. In the US, the Arts Institutes of America and American Culinary Institute have pastry chef programs where chocolate making is part of the curriculum.