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Doing a Chocolate Internship


BritoJ
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Hi All,

I have been able to get an internship with a chocolatier in her shop for 2 weeks and I wanted to ask you if you have an input on things that I should be looking for while I am there, what kind of questions I should ask, I am not sure if it is appropriate to start asking about the "books" I mean profit margin and those kind of things. Should I just stick with chocolate questions only?

Also if you want to share how you started with chocolate that would be awesome as well!!! :biggrin:

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Hi All,

I have been able to get an internship with a chocolatier in her shop for 2 weeks and I wanted to ask you if you have an input on things that I should be looking for while I am there, what kind of questions I should ask, I am not sure if it is appropriate to start asking about the "books" I mean profit margin and those kind of things. Should I just stick with chocolate questions only?

Also if you want to share how you started with chocolate that would be awesome as well!!! :biggrin:

I accidentally found this website of a young chocolatier who lives about 3 hours away from my home and asked her if she would teach some classes. Then my confectionary partner, Barbara, asked her sister and the three of us went July of 07 and July of 08. We had a wonderful time learning and doing and laughing and eating, of course. We started right at the very beginning and worked from there. There was more doing than talking which was good for us. Not to mention the incredible Italian hot chocolate maker... :wub:

Interestingly enough, this young woman is Kerry Beal's protege. She learned at Kerry's feet some years ago.

We'll no doubt go again next summer and add some new lessons to those already learned.

None of us intends to become a professional chocolatier so it was somewhat informal in intent.

Good luck to you. :smile::smile:

Edited by Darienne (log)

Darienne

 

learn, learn, learn...

 

Life in the Meadows and Rivers

Cheers & Chocolates

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I accidentally found this website of a young chocolatier who lives about 3 hours away from my home and asked her if she would teach some classes.  Then my confectionary partner, Barbara, asked her sister and the three of us went July of 07 and July of 08.  We had a wonderful time learning and doing and laughing and eating, of course.  We started right at the very beginning and worked from there.  There was more doing than talking which was good for us.  Not to mention the incredible Italian hot chocolate maker... :wub:

Interestingly enough, this young woman is Kerry Beal's protege.  She learned at Kerry's feet some years ago. 

We'll no doubt go again next summer and add some new lessons to those already learned. 

None of us intends to become a professional chocolatier so it was somewhat informal in intent.

Good luck to you. :smile:  :smile:

Where is this person? I'm in Ottawa and am wondering if this person is around here as I would love to participate in such a class.

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My mothers voice is still firmly established in my head - "you don't ask people about money!" - she would consider it rude.

However if you are interning with someone I think the questions of how best to run a business and how to make a profit will and should come up - maybe not the first thing you discuss however.

When I have students that are interested in starting a chocolate business I spend some time talking about the costs of supplies, maybe some tricks to getting a better price for supplies (valuable lesson number one - always take goodies to your suppliers) and try to make sure they have a reasonable idea of pricing for their products. I don't have a chocolate production business however (mine is education and I have a day job), so I'm really only helpful for covering the basics - doing an internship with a producing chocolatier would be a great source of information if they are willing to share.

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I accidentally found this website of a young chocolatier who lives about 3 hours away from my home and asked her if she would teach some classes.

Where is this person?  I'm in Ottawa and am wondering if this person is around here as I would love to participate in such a class.

Hamilton.

Darienne

 

learn, learn, learn...

 

Life in the Meadows and Rivers

Cheers & Chocolates

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First of all you have to ask yourself if you want to learn how to work with chocolate; the techniques, tricks and methods, or, if you want to learn how to run a chocolate business....

Most professionals--that is people who earn their living solely by making and selling chocolate, are very, very, very reluctant (read: Never) to tell someone they just met all about how much their gross earnings are, how much their foodcost is, and how much their overhead is.

Why?

The start-up capital needed for a small choc. business is paltry compared to that of a restaurant or catering business. In other words, no chocolatier wants to personally train up their competition......

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how about the thread here on eGullet about "Starting a Chocolate Business"?! I think it is linked in the index, if not, I'll edit this post with a link. At any rate, there's lots of good information there if you're afraid to ask at the internship.

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I have no idea what its like in the food industry, but I am a part-owner in a business and its a clear no-no to have other people talking about our "books".

If it were me, I' just stick with chocolate questions.

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The biggest thing is to learn about chocolate on this experience! the chocolatier has never met me and if she brings up the topic, of course I will be listing but the main focus is to see the everyday routine and get more practice, and since she is opening her store to me I will try to learn everything that she wants to share.

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The biggest thing is to learn about chocolate on this experience! the chocolatier has never met me and if she brings up the topic, of course I will be listing but the main focus is to see the everyday routine and get more practice, and since she is opening her store to me I will try to learn everything that she wants to share.

Each chocolatier would be different, of course, but I don't think it would be out of line to prepare a polite list of techniques and issues that one might want to learn about. You might give a copy to the teacher...or not. Depends upon the personality of said teacher I guess.

In the case of our own Hamilton ON chocolatier, she asked us what we would like to learn and I (spokesperson of sorts :hmmm: ) sent her a prepared list. And then we covered a certain number of the issues listed there in July 07.

And then in year two, July 08, I asked her if we could learn about some of the issues on the original list not covered in 07, plus a couple more we had decided we wanted to learn, and again we covered some, but not all, of the revised list. We reviewed the stuff from the first year and built on that.

We were lucky of course. Not only was she a professional, she was also a dear. :wub: There was much laughter. I have dozens of photos capturing our experiences at her place. The joys of a little digital camera.

...I think I mentioned before that Kerry Beal is her mentor :wub: ...

Edited by Darienne (log)

Darienne

 

learn, learn, learn...

 

Life in the Meadows and Rivers

Cheers & Chocolates

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Yes Mari was my very first student. She came down to the house to buy my little Sinsation - left without buying it and with a promise that I would teach her how to work with chocolate. A month later she was in business. No business plan of course. (I shouldn't talk!)

Funny - I'll go over to her place - ask why she is doing something a particular way - and she'll say "because that's how you told me to do it". Makes me realize just how much my techniques have evolved since I first taught her.

Mari is an artist and approaches chocolate as an artistic person would. I tend to take a more scientific approach - especially when things go wrong. When she's having trouble she'll call and say - "why did this happen? and don't give me the science stuff - just tell my why it didn't work!"

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Mari is an artist and approaches chocolate as an artistic person would. 

Ne'er was truer statement made...

I tend to take a more scientific approach - especially when things go wrong. 

I'm with you on that one.

And she is SO proud of her marble table which you helped her to get!!!

Edited by Darienne (log)

Darienne

 

learn, learn, learn...

 

Life in the Meadows and Rivers

Cheers & Chocolates

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