How do you become a chocolatier

10 Dec 2020

Chocolate Knowledge

Are you considering a cocoa-inspired career change? How about becoming a chocolatier?

Whilst we don’t like to brag, we think we have the best job in the world. For us, it doesn’t get much better than working with chocolate. And, the best thing about pursuing a chocolatier career, is that anyone can do it. It doesn’t get much sweeter than that.

We think our chocolatiers are some of the best in the world – their passion for cocoa has meant Hotel Chocolat has been able to come out with award-winning chocolate collections year after year. However, they weren’t born with this talent. After years of chocolatier training, our chocolate enthusiasts were able to pursue their dream chocolatier job. As we think everyone should be able to pursue their chocolatier career, we’ve shared some of our insider secrets on how you can become a master chocolatier.

What is the difference between a chocolatier and a chocolate maker?

To commit yourself to a chocolatier career might require dedication and commitment to cocoa, but it doesn’t mean you have to turn the bean into cocoa yourself. The difference between a chocolatier and a chocolate maker is simple.

Chocolate maker

The chocolate maker is responsible for turning the bitter bean of the cocoa tree into a delightfully aromatic and deep solid cocoa bar. In contrast, the chocolatier is responsible for flavouring the chocolate, turning it into a delicious treat.

Chocolate makers have their own techniques of chocolate making, although most opt for variations on the drying, roasting, conching and pressing method. Professional chocolatiers then buy the chocolate from the chocolate makers. Chocolatiers in the know buy couverture, or chocolate with a higher percentage of cocoa butter, which gives it a glossy sheen and a satisfying snap. Then they’re ready to melt the chocolate and turn it into delicious new cocoa treats.

melted chocolate on a whisk


Although our chocolatiers don’t grow the chocolate themselves, they do have an in-depth understanding of the journey the cocoa bean undertakes before it can be enjoyed. As we directly grow some of our very own cocoa beans on our St Lucian farm, our chocolatiers are able to appreciate how to use different types of bean to achieve different-tasting chocolates.

For example, our single-origin 100% Dark Chocolate Batons offers chocolate made from one type of bean only. Each region has different conditions for the cocoa plant. Our chocolatiers know this, and so they create a bar that allows the bean’s unique flavour profile to shine. They also know how much cocoa to use in each bar, understanding the importance of the cocoa percentage.

Although a career as a chocolatier won’t have you farming cocoa beans in a cocoa field, you should gain an appreciation of how to make chocolate, from bean to bar. The best chocolatiers understand how to get the most out of the particular chocolate bean they’re using in their creations. To learn more about the rich journey of the cocoa bean, check out our blog on how chocolate is made.

What’s a chocolatier’s average working day?

You wouldn’t be mistaken in thinking that a chocolatier career is a lot of fun. In fact, we sometimes have to pinch ourselves when we remember we get paid to taste chocolate! However, this doesn’t mean it’s a completely hassle-free and easy job – even if chocolate allegedly reduces stress levels.

In an interview with the BBC, leading chocolatier Paul A. Young describes how he tastes one of his chocolates every morning, whilst his palette is still fresh. After that, he’ll spend the day going through admin and spending time in the development kitchen, brushing up on his chocolatier skills and creating new recipes to sell in his shops across Britain.

Chocolatier Barry Colenso, who has spent 30 years in the industry, spends his days in a similar manner. He starts his morning dreaming up new inventions, and in the afternoon he puts these dreams to reality, tempering his chocolate so that he can put it into moulds and fill them.

Whilst these daily routines sound like a working day from heaven, it’s important to remember that the job requirements of a chocolatier are hugely varied, and that both Young and Colenso are experts in the field with decades of training under their belts. For those who are looking to start a chocolatier career, know that you won’t be given the inventor’s hat for a while.

Professional chocolatiers spend decades mastering every aspect of chocolate making, from tempering the chocolate, to making the fillings for them. Once you have honed your chocolatier skills, you can start getting more bold and adventurous with your chocolate creations.

What training will you need?

chocolate puddles with different flavours

Anyone can pursue a chocolatier career. However, it isn’t as simple as making truffles in your kitchen – a chocolatier needs to hone tricky skills in order for them to become masters in their field. To find a job in the sector, start with the basics and get some good, old-fashioned culinary training, or take a look at some professional chocolatier courses near you.

This might be a Level 1 Diploma in Professional Cookery, or training to be a pastry chef in a Pastry School. Alternatively, you could get an apprenticeship in a restaurant, working in the sweets department. This gives you good, basic culinary skills for you to build your knowledge upon. Apprenticeships are a great option as not only do you learn from professionals but you also get paid! Whilst the hours might be long, the experience is certainly rewarding, and the skills you gain from an apprenticeship in the world of pastry are second-to-none.

There are even a few chocolatier apprenticeships available, although these are very competitive, and so it may be better to gather some general pastry skills before you refine your area of expertise. You can also take additional chocolate masterclasses and workshops to improve your skills further.

How to kick-start a chocolatier career

As we’ve already mentioned, it takes time and patience before you can become a full-time chocolate inventor. If you’re in the early stages of your career, then you’ll probably want to pursue an apprenticeship. After that, you can get a job in a kitchen or at a culinary school. For those looking for a career change, attending culinary school and chocolate workshops is the best way to hone those chocolatier skills.

chocolatier piping cream into macarons

Each of these options have their own advantage: with an apprenticeship you get paid (albeit a small wage) and you learn on your feet. Once you’ve completed your apprenticeship, you might be offered a full-time job with the very place you trained at. Getting a job in a kitchen also gives you a deep insight into the culinary world. It will also give you a wide range of skills that you can later refine and use for chocolate-making.

The one downside with these options is that it takes time. You’ll have to be willing to put in a good few years of hard graft for a fairly low wage. Whilst this is fine for fresh-faced graduates, those who have already spent a good few years in the professional world may want to consider going into culinary schools, or partaking in classes. The training you receive here is second-to-none, and you can even look for chocolate-orientated-only classes. Nevertheless, excellence comes with a price – make sure you save up, as these schools, workshops and chocolatier classes don’t come cheap.

What other chocolate jobs are there?

Chocolate taster

A chocolatier invents and creates their innovations, but a chocolate taster gets to evaluate whether the creation is any good. Although a chocolatier job allows you to taste your inventions, many companies require a separate chocolate taster who can evaluate, compare, and test the chocolate. This is because we all have different palettes, and whilst you might think your latest flavour combination is revolutionary, others may have a different opinion.

Chocolate factory

Life in a chocolate factory can vary tremendously. From packaging the products, to hand painting the creations, this isn’t your typical factory job. Being surrounded by the mouth-watering aromas of cocoa is enough to make anyone enjoy a nine-to-five shift, and there are always extras around, ready to be nibbled on! Other roles such as management or finance are also available to those looking to work in a chocolate factory.

Chocolate shop

Working in a chocolate shop is certainly not an option to pass off – does it get much better than surrounding yourself with chocolate, every day? A role in a chocolate shop lets you gain an in-depth understanding of chocolate, and you get to meet fellow chocolate-lovers with whom you can share your love of chocolate. It also means it’s likely you’ll get free goodies and discounts on chocolate products. Who can turn their nose up at that?

We hope we’ve inspired you in your quest to find a chocolatier job. Don’t be frustrated if you don’t succeed straight away; it took us many years to form our chocolate story. If you want to know more about the behind-the-scenes action of chocolate, then take a look at our careers page to find out more.