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How Do I Become a Chocolatier?

Going to culinary school will increase an individual's chances of becoming a chocolatier.
The winter holiday season is the perfect time to start a chocolate business.
Chocolates covered in coconut flakes.
Chocolate.
A selection of chocolates.
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  • Written By: Margo Upson
  • Edited By: Bronwyn Harris
  • Last Modified Date: 15 April 2014
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Making candies and confections from chocolate is a dream job for many people. Spending days surrounded by fine chocolates and seeing the smiles on people’s faces as they bite into one of your masterpieces sounds like bliss. Making a couple of batches of chocolates for the holidays is a lot different than becoming a chocolatier, whose job is to make quality chocolates year round, however. The job can be very stressful, with long hours and hectic holidays.

To become a chocolatier, you must first consider your experience in the field. If, like most people, your experience working with chocolate is limited to home kitchen specialties, it may be a good idea to seek out some formal classes. There are two ways to go about this. One is to take a few essential classes through a local trade school or culinary program. The second is to attend a formal culinary academy. A culinary academy degree will take a lot a longer to complete than just a few classes, but you will be able to learn more of the techniques you will need.

After completing your education, the next step is to seek an apprenticeship under a master chocolatier. This will give you the hands-on experience necessary to become a professional and open your own store. Working under the direction of someone already in this field can be an invaluable experience.

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During your training, begin considering your niche, something that will make your chocolates stand out from your competitors’ products. There are hundreds of options available to you. Considering this before you become a chocolatier can give you a focus when planning your business. You could work with different treats dipped in chocolate, cream-filled chocolates, or specially flavored chocolates. Having a product that is unique, but will still be in demand, will help you to stand out from the crowd of other chocolatiers.

After gaining experience under a master chocolatier, it is time to open your own chocolate shop. Find a location that will get a lot of traffic going past. Design a marketing plan, and get the name of your shop out to your potential customers. Opening around the winter holidays, with enough time to let people know about your business, is a great way to build a customer base.

A job working with chocolate is great for those who are creative and have a natural affinity for sweets. Those who choose this profession will be working in a field that many chocolate enthusiasts only dream about.

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Discuss this Article

anon307263
Post 12

How much is chocolate when you are a master chocolatier? I just can't think how much they cost.

I agree with sunshine. I will just keep on eating them.

anon283482
Post 10

I would like some advice on how to open a chocolate shop.

indemnifyme
Post 9

The culinary industry is definitely hectic, so I'm not surprised being a chocolatier can be hectic and stressful. I have a good friend who used to work as a baker in a bakery. She loved making baked goods and was very creative, but it was really stressful for her!

You have to make sure you make enough of whatever food you're selling so you don't run out. But then if you make too much and it doesn't sell, the food is wasted, and that's a waste of money. I imagine the chocolate business is kind of the same.

Plus you have to deal with doing customer service and all the other tasks that come along with running a business.

JessicaLynn
Post 8

@sunnySkys - I think it might be wise for a chocolatier to hire someone to help run their business. I know this isn't always true, but a lot of the really creative people I know are lacking in common sense!

Anyway, the chocolate business actually sounds kind of stressful. Not only do you have to worry about setting yourself apart from your competition (and there seems to be a lot) you also have to deal with the seasonal nature of the business. I don't think people buy much chocolate during the summer, compared to the holiday season or Valentine's Day.

sunnySkys
Post 7

It sounds like you really need culinary and business training to become a chocolatier. If a big part of being successful is opening your own chocolate shop, just knowing how to make chocolate isn't going to be enough!

I definitely think that if anyone wants to do this as a career, they should take a few business courses as well. Or, hire someone knowledgeable to help you run your shop so you can concentrate on making chocolate.

I think I will personally just stick to eating chocolates of all kinds!

orangey03
Post 6

There is a huge difference between melting some chocolate chips to use in truffles and making them the chocolatier way. I got a book on truffle making as a gift from a friend, and just reading about all that went into the process made my head hurt.

You have to temper the chocolate. You have to get it just the right temperature to react a certain way and maintain its texture.

When I make truffles, I just shove some semi-sweet chips in the microwave and use the melted chocolate as the dip that will form the exterior. They don't taste anywhere near as wonderful as gourmet chocolates, but for me, they will do. I won't put myself through the stress of doing it like a chocolatier does, because I would be setting myself up for failure.

SteamLouis
Post 5

A friend of mine is a chocolatier. As far as I know, he only did a six month course to be a pastry chef and then decided to make chocolates as he enjoyed that the most. His undergraduate program previously was completely unrelated.

He doesn't have his own shop or his own kitchen. He shares a kitchen with other pastry chefs and chocolatiers. He sells his chocolates to chocolate shops in the area. This is actually good for him because he doesn't have the cost of running a shop.

And being a chocolatier isn't as easy as it seems. There are times when he doesn't get much orders. So it's not like a regular paycheck. But as friends and family, we get lots of free chocolates like @honeybees.

myharley
Post 4

I don't make my living as a chocolatier, but consider myself somewhat of a chocolate connoisseur. I love good chocolate and have found once you get used to eating quality chocolate, the cheaper kind doesn't taste quite as good.

One of my favorite ways to eat chocolate is with fresh fruit. There is a chocolate shop I stop at often that has fresh fruit kabobs with chocolate drizzled over raspberries and blackberries.

Most people are familiar with chocolate covered strawberries, so these are a nice change. This small chocolate shop has been in the same location for close to 40 years. One reason I think they have been so successful is they have great quality, but also come up with new and different things all the time.

Since many studies have shown how dark chocolate can be beneficial, they have many more dark chocolate choices than they have had before.

SarahSon
Post 3

Ever since my niece was young she knew she wanted to have her own chocolate shop. I don't think she even knew what a chocolatier was, she just knew she wanted her own store where she sold chocolate and candy.

When you visited their house, you always knew there would be some new kind of chocolate treat she had made. She is also very creative and comes up with the most delicious concoctions that I would have never thought about.

I think the creativity is something that really sets her apart. She did go through some specific training and apprenticeship programs. In addition to that, she also took some business classes so she was knowledgeable about running her own business.

Today she makes her living as a chocolatier. She is doing something she loves and is bringing happiness to many people at the same time.

sunshined
Post 2

I don't think I would ever be able to become a chocolatier or even work in a chocolate shop. It would be way too tempting for me, and I would probably gain 50 pounds within a few months.

I have always loved the taste of chocolate and have some kind of chocolate almost every day. If I was surrounded by this all of the time, I don't think I would have the willpower to stop eating it all day long!

There is a specialty chocolate shop in our neighborhood, and I like to buy gifts there from time to time. Every time I walk in that shop, the smell of chocolate is so inviting and I walk out of there with more than I intended to. The free samples are pretty good too!

honeybees
Post 1

When I was in college, one of my friends worked at a chocolate shop. This was a good friend to have, as she would often bring some sweet chocolate treats back to the dorm.

Before this I had never thought much about the process of making chocolate and all the different things you can do with it. She learned quite a few interesting things about chocolate while she was working there.

Even though she was not interested in becoming a chocolatier herself, she was able to pick up some great tips about making candy and chocolate.

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