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ChristopherMichael

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Everything posted by ChristopherMichael

  1. Your point on a vacuum is not accurate. A vacuum does extend shelf life, minor as it may be, because it keeps your ganache from having air bubbles in it. Yes, the surface will be exposed to air with spores, etc as soon as you open the mixer, but that's not what the vacuum is meant to be used for, it's purpose is to keep air bubbles out of your ganache. Bacteria needs air to grow, so if you take out as much air as you can, it helps hinder the growth of bacteria. I have never heard of using multiple sugars in a ganache to extend shelf life, so that's new to me.
  2. I can actually answer my own question. I would say if you're in the early stages of the learning curve and when you read his book and have no idea of what he's talking about, then Yes it's worth going. But if you can read his book and comprehend what he's saying and you're not a beginner, then I would say No it's not worth going, but to a point. I'm going to be honest with you, I have been working with chocolate for years, previous to that I went to culinary school and was a savory chef, so I did have some experience before I went to classes by Wybauw, Shotts and Notter. I went to these classes to pretty much put any thoughts out of my mind that I wasn't good enough to continue on my path to where I am today and where the future of my business is going. When I walked out of those classes I felt that I gained confidence in my ability and not really any new knowledge that I didn't read about or that I have figured out in my kitchen while doing production. You might pick up on subtle things, but nothing major or technique changing. At least I didn't. Not to say you won't, because these guys are pioneers in the industry and they do offer great insight. One thing I have learned in my chocolate journey, you have to find your own style and techniques. Just like the great chefs of the world, usually no two chefs have the same style and usually get to an end product differently (minor differences, but different). The most important thing I can tell you, take what these guys say to heart and take it all in, but develop your own style and be confident with it.
  3. Let me tell you from experience, opening your own shop is not what it's cracked up to be. It's extremely hard to get built and open those doors. After you open is when the real fun begins. It's a WAY bigger venture than you can possibly imagine, not only in price, but more importantly, TIME. I work on average 12-14 hour days (physically at the shop, then add the hours you lay in bed thinking about it or while watching a movie, driving, etc.. I have actually watched a movie and not remember the movie, because I was thinking about the business and zoned out) in the slow season and add many more hours (some nights, NO sleep) on top of that for the season. Now we can talk about money. I'm not going to say exactly what I have spent on building (which I did most of the labor), architects, permits, equipment, misc. tools, etc. and rent while I was trying to get open, but it was 3x more than what I thought it would be and budgeted for. If you don't have 100k or more for your total budget, then forget about a enrober or Selmi. I'm sure everyones experience is different and will tell you that you can open a shop for 50k, but don't plan on doing wholesale with that kind of budget and turning a profit. One last thing, the chocolate business is getting very saturated and it seems a new chocolatier opens everyday. My belief is that now that we're experiencing a slowdown in the economy, many chocolatiers will disappear and those of us that have financial stability or that are big enough to absorb the slowdown, will be the only ones standing in the next year or two. Don't get me wrong, I love what I do, but that love will only take you so far, because you're now having to pay rent, pay the house payment, etc... So that love only comes in handy for your happiness at your job and not your pocket book. If you want a wake up call about the chocolate biz, talk to Jeff at Lilliebelle Farms. He's been pretty successful and he will tell you bluntly how hard this business is and he won't hold back, as a matter of fact, he will tell you to much reality. Sorry, if I don't sound supportive, but I gave up everything to do this and it's a VERY competitive and hard business. I almost forgot, you cannot rent equipment, but you can lease, which is harder these days because of the lending crunch and to lease a Selmi for instance, will cost in the 1000's.
  4. There is no fat in it, so I don't think it can go rancid. ← You're correct it doesn't have any fat, so it can't go rancid. I guess rancid wasn't the word I should of used.
  5. It doesn't have any crystals. I was concerned it may go rancid, because its been sitting on the shelf for a while. Thanks.
  6. Does anyone know if invert sugar goes bad or not? I thought I read about this somewhere, but couldn't find anything.
  7. If anyone is interested in the Selmi, here's the email/contact information for the guy you want to talk to. Sean Tucci @ Tomric email: stucci@tomric.com You can also call Tomric and they will transfer you to him. He's the guy you need to talk to for any Selmi sales, questions, etc... Don't bother emailing Selmi directly, because you will not get a response or at least without bugging them to death.
  8. You can rent the CIA dvd's at smartflix.com. Here's the link. CIA DVD's at Smart Flix
  9. Get a job in a kitchen before you pay money for schooling in this field. You will find out before hand if you're cutout for the industry. I see a bunch of people spend a ton of money on school and then when they graduate and start working in a kitchen, they decide this isn't the career for them. Now they're 40k in debt with no job and a $600 monthly payment on schooling that they will never use. So do yourself a favor and work in a kitchen before you spend thousands of dollars on schooling. If you have already worked in a kitchen, then get a job specifically for pastry. In other words, there's no better preparation than working in a professional kitchen.
  10. Not all the rules that apply in CA are going to be applied by Colorado or New York health departments. Unfortunately CA has some of the toughest rules that food establishments must follow, along with many other restrictions from taxes to building permits, etc.., plus it always costs more. Sweet talking a government official usually doesn't work (if ever) to get things done, because they really don't care and they've probably heard all the bull before. Telling them you need to use that equipment, because it's necessary, will probably get you laughed out of the building. If you have never done business in CA before, then you probably can't understand how much they just don't give a crap. It's their way, or hit the road and don't let the door hit you in the ass. As for hard facts about NSF or UL, I just lived it and that's all the facts that I need. Like I have said in the past, every city, county and state are different and not everyone is going to experience the same thing across the country. I know truffleguy opened up his ship last year in FL and what he experienced was a gift from someone above, because to my understanding, it was extremely easy for him to get up and running (at least as far as government agencies are concerned). Well I'm done with this aspect of my business start up, now I'm dealing with the building permits and that's becoming as big of an issue. For everyone out there, thank your lucky stars your not in SoCal, because it's a pain in my butt. Anyway, have fun opening up your shops and hopefully you won't have to follow the same difficult rules that I have to.
  11. I pretty much received that information by asking a bunch of questions and bugging everyone in the health department and other entities, including NSF themselves. I don't know exactly where the law is written or what it says exactly, I just stumbled on this information with having different conversations with different people and then put two and two together. No one actually gave up the information easily, but I have a tendency to jump into everything head first and ask a ton of questions, then put it together and hope what I come up with is correct. I was told in order to fall under a wholesale operation that you must be proposing to do at least 60% of your volume at wholesale. To be honest with you, I really don't care to much about retail as I do about wholesale, but I wanted a storefront to get my name out there and to help pay the rent. If I'm going to pay rent, then I might as well pay a tad bit more and hopefully drum up some more business in the retail area to help pay the rent. Just to make myself clear, if you don't expect to do primarily wholesale, then I wouldn't take a chance and put your business in jeopardy just so you can use the equipment that you want. I will tell you that Selmi is working on getting approved for different standards so more companies can use their equipment here in the states. I also spoke with Bakon and they should have a machine out in a couple of weeks that will be NSF. I believe it's one of their wheel temperers that holds 20 something pounds and costs $3900. So if you plan on doing more retail then wholesale, then these will be options for you. If you guys have any questions, let me know and hopefully I can answer them for you. Keep in mind that I'm not an expect at this subject, but a small guy trying to find out info that the big guys know and take advantage of.
  12. So in retrospect you didn't need the industrial drain either? ← The plumbing is more of a city thing, so I still need to be in code as far as the city is concerned.
  13. Ok. Here's an update for all of you. There's a big fat loophole in the health department's codes. If you plan on selling 60% or more of your product to wholesale accounts, you fall under the category of a wholesaler and not a retail facility. When you fall into the wholesaler category, all the rules for equipment under regular health codes are non-existent, you can use pretty much anything you want. I just want to say thanks to everyone for your kind words and input. So if anyone has a problem in the future with your health department (especially in CA) remember that you should apply as wholesale and not retail, it should make it easier and less restrictive.
  14. You guys are going to get a kick out of this one. The NSF or UL approved equipment must be in a shop that sells to customers directly. But, if you sell wholesale and don't sell directly to consumers, then you can use any equipment you want and it doesn't have to meet any requirements. But wait there's more, I can sell someone elses chocolate that has been produced on the same equipment that I want to use and it's not a problem. So basically I can sell a billion pieces of chocolate at wholesale and I don't have to abide by the standards if I have a shop that sells one piece of chocolate. Maybe it's me, but am I missing something? I absolutely don't understand this logic. Someone who wholesales millions of pieces of chocolate can use my equipment, but someone making thousands of pieces of chocolate can't. Wooow, I must be a stupid man, because that just looses me. The other thing is that someone here in the same county, which my health department is in, has two of the exact same Selmi machines. I stated that and they tell me, well we're under staffed, so we can catch everything. Come on. I serious want to punch someone in the face right now, I'm just glad I'm sitting in front of my computer and not out and about where I will probably walk up to someone and lay them out. Sorry for my frustration, but you have to live it, to understand it completely. Before anyone says it, yes I'm extremely nice to the people at the health department and never say anything negative. I understand they're only doing what they think is right, but all I'm asking for is a little consistency and understanding from my position. If there's someone with a few miles of me that use this machine (two of them actually), then why am I not allowed to use them. If there were machines that were NSF and did the job as a Selmi type temperer and enrober, then I would get one, but no one sells NSF or UL approved machine like this. Gooooood times!
  15. Just to let you know, if you plan on using that in a commercial kitchen, don't let the health inspector know about it. Wait until they're all gone before you bust it out, because it's not NSF. Shame on all of you for being handy. java script:emoticon(':biggrin:') smilie <---- why isn't this working? its suppose to be a smile Sorry guys I was just venting a little about my health department.
  16. No Rocky Mountains here use enrobers. The only thing I have ever seen them using is Hillard's Little Dipper to coat apples. All of their other confections come already coated from their factory in Colorado.
  17. I have contacted Savy, Mold'art, Sollich, LCM, Bakon, Selmi, and just about everyone that makes/builds chocolate equipment and none of them are NSF or UL approved. According to them, they don't have NSF or UL in Europe, but they do have CE, which all of them are approved for. What I'm finding is that southern Californians do not understand chocolate and don't appreciate it as much as they should, which makes it difficult for me being one of the first. The health department here in Orange County does not really have anything to compare what I'm doing to other shops. There's really not a chocolatier that has broken out of what a Rocky Mountain or See's type candy storesa re doing. We do have one Chuao Chocolatier (store only), but they don't produce here, they produce all their stuff in San Diego. Is any of your equipment NSF?
  18. Does anyone know of a tempering machine or enrobers that are Nsf or UL approved? I know that Hilliards Little Dipper is and so is Chocovision's. I can never imagine myself using either one of those, but those are the only two I can find that are NSF. I bought a Selmi Plus, but it's not NSF or UL approved and my health department tells me that I can't use it. Has anyone else have this problem? Do you know of any other commercial size temperers or enrobers that are NSF or UL approved. Thanks.
  19. www.worldchocolatemasters.com ← Thanks
  20. Does anyone remember the link for the recipe for the pastry championships for each teams chocolates/truffles? I remember seeing it a few months back on these forums, but I don't remember the link or what the thread was named.
  21. I'm starting to understand why there's no good chocolate shops in southern Ca, because it's a big task to get these guys to understand. I'm being really nice to everyone and not talking down to them or anything, I just don't know what more to say to them. I do have a bunch of paperwork for the Selmi, but I can't find anything on the Mold'art melters. As for other chocolates shops, there are two, but I don't think they like me much, because I have been taking some of their customers. Their chocolate shops are more of mainstream type chocolates and really are not like anything you would find in a boutique type shop like mine and many others on these forums. So to say the least, they really wouldn't want to answer my questions. One shop does have a Selmi, which is not under a hood, and the other has a Hilliard, not under a hood as well. Actually the women that I spoke with at the health department did the plan check and inspection for the people that have the Selmi. I pointed out that their machine was not under a hood and she told me that they do have a hood. I told her it's not under the hood and she replied to me that they must of brought it in after she inspected them. Which is not true, because they have had the machine since they opened. Anyway, I don't want to bore you guys with every detail.
  22. I met with the city today and they are requiring me to put a small one in. How often do you have to empty it ? Do you do it yourself?
  23. Ok. This just blows my mind. The health department wants me to put my tempering machine under a hood. Has anyone ever here of this? I tried to explain to them what the machine does and they keep referring it to a fudge machine or a caramel pot/burner like you see at a Rocky Mountain Chocolate Factory (they don't even have a hood mind you). We're not talking a small town or anything, were talking southern California. Any ideas out there, because I'm probably going to loose it if I have to keep trying to explain to them what it is. They're also questioning the machines I'm using, A Selmi Plus and a few Mold'art melters. None of them are NSF and they're clueless about any of them. If anyone has ever dealt with this, please share your experience. Thanks in advance.
  24. We had to put in a 100 gallon grease trap underneath our 3 compartment sink. According to my utility company, if you are putting anything else besides water and soap down your drains, you need one. Be very sure that they are looking for an under the sink trap, NOT something like a 1000 gallon trap that has to be put outside....then you are looking at 5,000.00 plus...at least in North Florida. ← Thanks for your response. If you don't mind me asking, how much did it cost to install and how much for the actual trap? Thanks
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