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  1. Chocolatier's Hourly Wage

    Bahahaha! That is what it sounds like. The chocolate they want to use is not bad. I personally want to try using local bean-to-bar chocolate which increases my costs significantly. They are actually open to it though, but more likely as a separate line from their regular product. I'm not sure what I think about having two separate lines of chocolates under the same roof. We'll chat about it more. I think my goal would be to merge our brands down the road if I plan to take over the business when they retire. Maybe it's not polite to talk about it, but it is the topic of this forum so I guess I'll be transparent - we decided on $20/hr for the slow summer months with the expectation of a raise as the sales increase and the busier season comes. I think it's reasonable. The low pay for pastry work sounds frustrating. But you're right, it's easy to see how the cost add up. I think collectively pastry chefs, chocolatiers, artisans need to charge more for their products to actually have reasonable profit margins. It just doesn't really help put you at an competitive advantage. We kinda need everyone to be on board and do it.
  2. Chocolatier's Hourly Wage

    Thank-you, @Tri2Cook! You're right - it's not much of a stretch at all to explain how our chocolates are different and possibly targeting a different market. I just suck at business talk, haha. But it is something I am happy to learn. I am just moving from a home business to a commercial space (only production, no retail space of my own) but I'm basically starting fresh. I worked for other chocolatiers before and my own business was more of a hobby than anything else. I am trying to get my product out there in retail shops now (not the greatest to split the tiny profit margin with others, but at least it is exposure). Honestly, I love the owner of the shop that wants to hire me. They are a lovely place and because I would possibly even take it over when the owner retires, I would LOVE to just pour my heart and soul into their chocolates entirely. However, at this point, our visions for the product are a little different. Not bad different, but just different. So unless we could harmonize those visions, I still feel compelled to carve my own path as well.
  3. Honey in Ganache

    Thanks for the input! I will definitely experiment. I did two experimental batches - they got eaten too soon to gain the information I wanted, haha. I guess my invert sugar does crystallize, but it still seems to have a smoother texture where honey seems to get a little gritty. It's reassuring to hear that it doesn't seem to crystallize in ganache. I guess I will have to see what the texture is like. @AnythingButPlainChocolate How did you find the texture to be?
  4. Chocolatier's Hourly Wage

    Thanks, @pastrygirl! The shop is in Vancouver, BC - pretty much right downtown. I will look up pastry jobs in my area. Assistant chocolatier is $15-ish, so definitely more for the head position. I was honestly thinking $20-$25 ish. Extended medical benefits would be nice, but my family is covered by my hubby's plan for now. They would want a product made with different ingredients than I would use for my personal brand, so either way I would be making two different products. Unless I can convinced them otherwise. I think they want to scrap their current recipes and start fresh. I shouldn't be so precious about sharing recipes - I just want to be sure that I always have the freedom to make whatever I want for my own brand without conflict.
  5. Chocolatier's Hourly Wage

    I have an opportunity to work as the head chocolatier for a local chocolate business. I will be going in to discuss with the owner tomorrow. I am notorious for undervaluing myself and my skills, but I want to change that. I have worked in the industry for 10 years and worked in one of the larger artisan local chocolate companies for 5 years. Does anyone know what the going hourly rate it for this type of position? I would be developing new recipes and running all production operations myself. It's only a part time gig (at the moment, as they have very small production). I will continue with my own business on the side for now - the owner knows this and is completely comfortable with it. I would possibly even be able to be the successor to this business once the owner retires. Also, anyone have input on working as an employee while developing recipes for another business? I feel so protective of my recipes that I will be sad to see some become the property of another business. I guess it is just all part of the nature of this line of work. I could be a sub-contractor and just provide this company with product, but they would prefer that I work and consult with them in-house and utilize their facilities.
  6. Honey in Ganache

    I keep running to you with all my questions! This community always have the best answers. I am wondering about the use of honey in ganache to act like invert sugar - binding with the water to lower the Aw. Has anyone used it successfully in the capacity? I usually use invert sugar in my ganaches, but I there are some more health-conscious customers that I know would love to see me move away from sugar. I'm not sure that I am willing to do it, but I will certainly explore the option! My main concerns are efficacy at preserving, its taste, and its texture. My personal experience has been that is is difficult to get the flavour of honey to challenge the more dominant flavour of chocolate, so I'm not exceedingly worried about the honey flavour being too strong. However, honey does crystallize when left to sit, unlike invert sugar. Has anyone experienced honey crystallizing in ganache or do the other ingredients present prevent it from doing so? I will eventually be doing some experimenting, but I thought I would test the waters first. Thanks!
  7. Thank you @Jim D. and @Kerry Beal for your input in the Krea Swiss HotChoc sprayer! It's too bad - I thought perhaps it was promising. I guess I will look into the Fuji chocolate package.
  8. Has anyone tried the Krea Swiss hotChoc? I know @markwightman was going to try it quite some time ago. It would be convenient to use something specifiy designed for use with cocoa butter/chocolate.
  9. Coloured Cocoa Butter

    Thanks for the advice, everyone. I appreciate all the options I have to explore! The only company I had never heard of is Roxy and Rich - ironically, the most locally available to me. I have used transfer sheets from Glarus Gourmet before. I should have thought of getting the cocoa butter there as well. I didn't love their transfer sheets though. They seemed to smudge more easily and didn't always transfer quite as well as others I have tried (granted, I think I was being hasty one of the times I removed the sheets, so it was probably my fault anyway).
  10. Coloured Cocoa Butter

    Hi All! I know this has surely been talked about, by my search for this information on the forums has been challenging. Would anyone care to share their favourite brand of coloured cocoa butter for decorations chocolate molds, etc? One with a diverse selection of colours. Or do you find it preferable to melt cocoa butter and add a fat-soluable powdered colour? Thanks for sharing your experiences! Christy p.S. I was just reading about Kerry's EZ temper and I simply MUST HAVE ONE! Wow! What a brilliant product! Kudos, Kerry!
  11. Also @JeanneCake - if you are selling the guitar, let's talk. I am possibly looking for one. ETA: can you email me at christy @ christysconfections .com (no spaces) with a photo, price, and measurements, etc?
  12. Thanks Jeanne and Lisa, I really appreciate the advice! I have found what looks like some excellent chocolate-specific ones new (I love the ones at oscartek and Orion) and but they are just so costly ($20,000 ish!). There are less fancy-pants new ones for around $5,000 that would suit me well, but still more than I can really spend. I wonder if the huge price difference reflects the quality of the cooling and humidity controlling mechanisms or if it is a difference of beauty and perceived value. I don't want something that doesn't work well. I'm grateful for the reminder to be cautious. I was going to go check out a local restaurant equipment auction where they have several cases like this (not for chocolates, but I need a regular refrigerated one too). Now I am a little nervous that they may not be in decent working condition...
  13. Hi everyone! I hope I'm not posting in the wrong section. I am looking for recommendations on where to find a used/economically priced climate controlled (low humidity and refrigerated, but not too cold) chocolate display case as well as a regular refrigerated display case (bakery style). Something like this, but it doesn't need to be too fancy looking. I am living in Canada on the West Coast, so the closer to local, the better. I'm finding it very challenging to find something. I found and excellent deal on a couple of used ones in the USA, but the seller doesn't want to deal with the hassle of having it crated and shipped. I'm trying to keep up to date searching on the Ecole Chocolat graduate forum as well as The Chocolate Life classifieds. Also, does anyone know if a smaller table-top type climates controlled chocolate display case exists? Or are the only options out there for larger models? Warm Regards, Christy
  14. Making Caramel with Milk

    Hi All, I am having a caramel problem. I have access to some delicious water buffalo milk (28% fat). I attempted to use it as a replacement for heavy cream(36% fat) in my usual caramel recipe. Unfortunately, when I added the hot milk to the hot sugar, the mixture split into an ugly, grainy mess. I did manage to improve it by blending it with an immersion blender, but the final texture was still grainy. The flavour was great though! The method I used was to make a dry caramel with white can sugar, then I added a small amount of glucose and the buffalo milk that I had heated to a simmer. I cooked this to 252 and added butter before pouring into a pan to cool. Does anyone understand the science better who could recommend a different method or adjustment to the ingredients that might make it have a smooth texture as caramel should? My supplier for buffalo milk does not have a separator, so using buffalo cream at this time is not an option. I thought about adding butter to the buffalo milk when heating it to bring the fat content up to that of the regular cream, and/or using an emulsifier or something like lechithin or xantham gum. Any thoughts? It seems I am constantly coming to you for help. Thanks, as always.
  15. Rose Jelly

    Hi Teo, Thanks for having patience with my questions and taking the time to lay it all out for me! This is something completely new for me. I'm very intrigued by the idea of making a jelly that isn't fruit based. Can you clarify something for me? The 100g water with 100g sugar that I should be adding my essential oil drops to, that is for me to determine how many drops per 200g of jelly I need to get the desired flavor? Or is this something that is being added to the pâté de fruit at the end? Also, to determine the correct amount of citric acid, I guess I need be be looking up how many grams of citric acid would be in x number of grams of my chosen fruit that I am replacing with water? I find it incredibly interesting that confectionary suppliers carry essential oils to use as food flavoring. I am actually completing my studies as a certified aromatherapist and I work for a professional aromatherapist as well. I definitely know all about essential oils! However, all the governing bodies that regulate our profession have guidelines we must adhere to regarding safe practices - one of those guidelines is that we cannot recommend the ingestion of essential oils! Because they are so potent they can cause serious harm when ingested. I imagine as confectioners we would only use a small number of drops in a recipe, so it would be extrememly diluted. Interesting indeed. ETA: I just want to clarify that I am not intending to be negative or critical about the use of essential oils in food. I think this is a good idea and must be much different than recommending the ingestion of oils for pharmacological purposes. Many thanks! Christy