I started training as a pastry chef and my first job in the industry was at Lindt Chocolate; I made cakes and other products first and then went on to learn about chocolate. From there I enjoyed the precision you need to have while working with chocolate and the fact that it is an art form.
It is a very creative job which is probably what I enjoy most about it. From having a great training source such as Lindt it allowed me to learn thoroughly while on the job. As a pastry apprentice it isn’t always all that common to learn and work with chocolate, so I was very lucky. I thoroughly enjoy pastry as well and I may think about expanding into this more for my customers. I always enjoy a baked treat, tarts are my favourite.
I would say my first chocolate products would have been things like brownies and mousses because unless you know the theory of working with chocolate there really is no point. One time I tried to make chocolate hearts for cupcake decorations and couldn’t figure out why they wouldn’t set.
Now that I have been trained in chocolate I can make many products, most of which are moulded chocolates that have flavoured fillings. These are my favourite products because they are creative, take precision and can have such great flavour; I am really enthusiastic about getting the flavour component of my chocolates just right.
Preparing the chocolate for use is great, I enjoy the tempering and crystallisation process. I like the science behind it and when everything turns out just right you always get a little bit of enjoyment out of it – even if you have done it a million times before.
The general working-with-chocolate part is great and I love it, but understanding what the general public enjoy, like and will purchase is hard for me. What I prefer as a chocolatier and pastry chef isn’t always the same as the general public. I can’t be too creative and get ahead of myself or nothing I make will get sold.
Yes, ever since I could remember. When I was a child I used to make my own little shops at home and put all my belongings on a table and insist that my mother and father bought them from me. It is really all I have ever wanted to do.
Currently I am in the process of making dairy-free white chocolate. I have tried a couple of recipes and I am determined to create it myself while getting the best flavour possible. Texture is difficult in this respect as the dairy in white chocolate gives it that smooth melting feel in your mouth.
Be prepared to make time to practice off the job. When I worked at Lindt I would often go home and practice my piping skills and chocolate tempering so I could do it better at work. Working with chocolate cannot be taught in a couple of lessons or even a couple of weeks, it takes time and experience. Even I don’t know everything.
Also, never forget chocolate is an inanimate object. That is something valuable a TAFE teacher of mine told me.
Think there's a career out there that you could learn to love more than chocolate? Take a look at our online courses and become your own career connoisseur.