Confectioner

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Chocolatier

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 Practical Artistic or CreativeSkill Level 2


Confectioners mix, shape and cook chocolates, toffees and other sweets and lollies. They undertake many of the individual steps in the process of cooking and creating confectionery such as weighing and mixing ingredients, combining, dissolving or boiling them, and coating confectionery in chocolate. Future Growth Strong Confectioners may also ensure that production equipment is properly cleaned and maintained. They control the temperature of pressure cookers, check the consistency of products during the cooking process, and check the details of production schedules to make sure the right quantities are made.

Putting on touches

ANZSCO description: 831113: Operates machines and performs routine tasks to make and wrap confectionery.

Alternative names: Chocolatier, Confectioner, Candy maker,

 

Knowledge, skills and attributes

A confectioner needs:

  • a passion for chocolates, sweets and other forms of confectionery

  • good hand-eye coordination

  • the ability to stay on their feet for extended periods

  • to be able to work as part of a team

  • the ability to undertake detailed and intricate work

  • to maintain a high level of hygiene and be health and safety conscious.

Duties and TasksLollies


Confectioners may perform the following tasks:

  • examine production schedules to determine confectionery types and quantities to be made

  • check the cleanliness and operation of equipment before beginning production

  • weigh, measure, mix, dissolve and boil ingredients in pans

  • operate equipment that refines and tempers chocolate

  • assist with coating chocolate bars and preparing chocolate products

  • control temperature and pressure in cookers used to make boiled sweets, starch-moulded products, caramels, toffees, nougat and chocolate centres

  • operate equipment to compress sugar mixes into sweets

  • check batch consistency using a stainless steel spatula or measuring equipment such as a refractometer

  • sort and inspect finished or partly finished products.

 

Working conditions

Most confectioners work full time. Senior confectioners provide on-the-job training to junior employees and coordinate work in a team environment. Confectioners usually work for confectionery manufacturers in large factory environments, but may also work in smaller, boutique confectionery shops or factories. They may be required to stand for extended periods, and their work is often repetitive. As confectioners work with food, their workplace is required to be sterilised and cleaned regularly. They are required to follow strict health and safety guidelines. They usually do shift work, which may include weekends and public holidays.

Tools and technologies

Confectioners operate confectionery manufacturing and processing machinery such as boilers, baling presses, compressors, conveyor driven machinery, and storage silos, tanks and bins. They may also operate jar filling systems or wrapping machines. Confectioners may also operate industrial kitchen equipment such as ovens and cookers, deep fryers, steamers and mixers, as well as regular kitchen appliances such as microwaves and refrigerators. They may also operate laboratory equipment such as sonic and water baths, chemstations, stirrers and centrifuges. They are usually required to wear safety equipment.


Education and training/entrance requirements


To become a confectionery maker you usually need to complete a traineeship in food processing. The traineeship takes 24 months to complete.

 

Chocolatier
   Manufacturing & Production

Practical Artistic or CreativeSkill Level 2

A chocolatier is a chocolate maker. They create a variety of chocolate confections, such as chocolate truffles, bonbons, chocolate bars, chocolate-covered fruit, and more. Their clients may be individuals or companies who want unique, branded chocolate products, such as golf-club shaped chocolate lollipops for a country club or customized chocolate pillow mints for a luxury hotel. Future Growth Strong

A chocolate maker is the one responsible for creating chocolate from scratch; they’re involved at the very beginning of what’s often called the from-bean-to-bar process.

Chocolatiers, on the other hand, experiment with chocolate and other ingredients to make mouth-watering and fancy creations like truffles, bonbons and ganache.

A chocolatier is a specialized chef who creates candies and confections from chocolate, and their work revolves around choosing between varieties of chocolates and accessory ingredients and creating finished candies of all types and sizes.
  
Chocolatiers have a job that is intricate in nature. They typically work in the kitchen with many different styles and types of chocolate, and are very picky about the building blocks for the candies they create. An additional complication is that different types of chocolate have different properties; they may melt at different temperatures or harden at different times, and some may blend well while others are best left as stand-alone ingredients. A good chocolatier must keep all of these concerns in mind when creating their food.
  
Chocolatiers may spend time creating candies of their own conception, but often fill either regular orders (for dessert menus or pre-selected assortments) or customer-specific orders. In the latter case, customers typically speak one-on-one with the chocolatier and the chef helps guide the customer through possible selections that may suit his/her needs.

Put simply, a chocolatier can be defined as someone who makes and sells confectionery made from chocolate. They may be responsible for the whole process from start to finish, from devising a recipe, through to making the product, and finally packaging, displaying and selling. They may be salaried or self-employed and can become a Master Chocolatier once they have acquired the relevant skills and experience. They may work in a specialist chocolate shop, whether artisanal, independent or part of a worldwide group, or indeed as part of a professional kitchen or at the production facilities of a chocolate manufacturer.

 

ANZSCO ID: 831113

Alternative names: Chocolate maker,

Specialisations: Chocolate Maker, Artisanal entrepreneur, Sommelier, Chocolate historian, Chocolate taster, Chocolate consultant

- A chocolate taster is trained to analyze the flavor of the chocolate, check the aroma and inspect for flaws. When you go for an interview, you may have to undergo a blind taste test to identify the flavors and ingredients of different chocolates. This is usually something that comes with practice, which is why experience is so valuable.

- Chocolatiers create and decorate handmade confectionery. It’s a skill that requires much patience and usually comes with plenty of hands-on experience.

- Chocolate Consultant: Study and experience are essential for this job. You can’t hope to understand all the flavors and brands of chocolate in a hurry. The job description may include developing new products, conducting market surveys, training employees, minimizing waste and advising on marketing.

 

Knowledge, skills and attributes  

To be a chocolatier, you should have a passion not just for chocolate, but for culinary arts in general. To get ahead, you should possess the following aptitudes and characteristics.

  • Creative thinking skills: Similar to other artists, chocolatiers must constantly rely on their creativity to create new chocolate masterpieces.

  • An adventurous nature: A chocolatier never stops looking for new flavour combinations; they must always be willing to seek out ingredients and discover other ways to make new creations.

  • Patience: Chocolate can be very challenging to work with; the slightest change in temperature can change its consistency and it is, therefore, essential that chocolatiers have patience (and lots of it).

  • Attention to detail: Chocolatiers spend a lot of time working and perfecting their creations, so it’s not surprising that a lot of them share this quality. It’s also critical that they produce flawless work to stay on top of their field.

  • The ability to handle pressure: A lot of things can go wrong in the kitchen, and a chocolatier must be able to handle every stressful situation with poise and grace.

  • Time management skills: In most cases, chocolatiers will have to juggle several orders at any given point in time and missing a client’s order is tantamount to career suicide. Being able to manage their time is therefore very important.

  • Marketing skills: If you’re new to the chocolate business, it’s also crucial that you’re able to market yourself well to attract potential employers and investors, should you hope to start your own business.         

 

Chocolate Maker
Chocolate Maker
(Source: CocoaBox)

"Chocolatiers are culinary artisans(or chefs) who source and blend high-quality chocolate(couverture), made by chocolate makers, to create their own unique chocolate products e.g. bonbons, truffles, pralines or flavoured bars. Chocolatiers specialise in fancy fillings, flavours and shapes of chocolate, think of all those delicious camels or strawberry cream flavoured delicacies.
But very few chocolatiers make their own chocolate."

Chocolatier
Master Chocolatier
(Source: Tasting Table)

Duties and Tasks

Depending on their level, chocolatiers also have other duties, which typically include:

  • processing cocoa beans, tempering chocolate, molding chocolate, and storing chocolate properly.
  • checking and examining production schedules to make sure that the correct amount of chocolates is properly made and delivered to customers
  • assisting with preparing chocolate products
  • ensuring cleanliness of kitchen and equipment
  • controlling temperature and operating equipment when creating chocolate products
  • discovering and testing new ingredients to create new chocolate concoctions
  • tempering, moulding and designing chocolate to create masterful creations
  • tempering, dipping, moulding, decorating and sculpting, they will make individual chocolates, including truffles and those filled with fruit, caramel, coffee or liqueur, chocolate bars and chocolate confectionery, and all manner of chocolate-based desserts including entremets, tarts, cakes and pastries.
  • design and make chocolate showpieces, explore flavour combinations and devise new recipes, particularly for seasonal occasions like Easter, Halloween and Christmas.
  • Custom orders, whether for corporate clients or retail customers may also be a part of the chocolatier’s remit.
  • inspecting finished products to ensure quality.

Working conditions

Chocolatiers are usually on their feet all day, balancing large trays of chocolate and perfecting the little details of their work. They don’t normally have fixed hours, because some creations can take longer than a normal working day (this ancient Mayan temple chocolate replica took 400 hours to make!), but they usually start early as palates are still fresh in the morning.

It’s also common to work during the holidays since this is the time that most orders usually come in (think: Valentine’s Day and Christmas).
 

Education and training/entrance requirements

To become a confectioner you usually have to complete an apprenticeship in Food Processing. Entry requirements may vary, but employers generally require Year 10.

Training is usually both on and off the job. The off-the-job training is provided through Registered Training Organisations.

To start a career as a chocolatier, or chocolate maker, you need formal training and experience in the industry. To earn qualifications for this job you can complete an associate’s degree program in pastry arts or go to culinary school to learn about food and cooking from around the world. You can also choose to get on-the-job training or complete an apprenticeship with an experienced chocolatier to learn the skills you need to be successful.

For instance, having a degree in pastry and baking arts will give you the technical know-how to work with different kinds of ingredients, including chocolate. You’re also most likely to receive some hands-on experience by apprenticing under a master chocolatier, which will help you gain more exposure.

Employment Opportunities

Becoming recognized as a chocolatier in this competitive field can be a difficult task. Aspiring chocolatiers should begin by earning a degree as a pastry or confections chef from an accredited culinary school, and then serve as an assistant or apprentice in a kitchen or confectionery to gain practical experience. While some chocolatiers work as self-employed subcontractors, many are hired by hotels, restaurants, and confectioners. Employers generally prefer applicants who have education, practical experience, and a portfolio of past work.

Prospective chocolatiers often find employment assisting experienced chocolatiers. This allows them to further hone their skills in preparation for advancing to a head chocolatier position or opening their own chocolatier business.

 

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