Learn How to Turn Your Chocolate Addiction into a Culinary Career

Chloe Doutre-Roussel is a 'Freelance Consultant in the Chocolate Field.' Sally McKinnon is a 'Professional Chocolate Taster and Buyer.' Where do you sign up for these culinary careers, you ask? To be a chocolate expert, you'll need more than a passion for your velvety smooth muse. A chocolate taster's culinary career begins with a general culinary degree, followed by an apprenticeship in the dark (70% cocoa) arts of chocolate.

Chocoholic Workoholic

Job satisfaction ranks high--stratospheric--for chocolate tasters. One taster puts it simply: "It's the best job in the world. I get paid to taste chocolate every day." McKinnon gloats: "My desk is covered in chocolate--it's fantastic." But what does a chocolate taster do?

A culinary career in chocolate tasting spans a range of professional activities. Doutre-Roussel, for example, not only selects chocolate lines for Fortnum & Mason, but also teaches culinary arts seminars and tasting courses, trains sales teams, and organizes chocolate conferences. McKinnon's culinary career involves intensive market research; to a choco-expert, this means traveling Europe tasting chocolate and hosting customer tasting sessions.

Going For It

As you might imagine, chocolate tasting is a pretty popular culinary career. Still, Chocolate Taster McKinnon comments: "There are so many opportunities available, I'd say people should go for it." But what does 'going for it' entail? Your extensive chocolate-eating experience alone will not land you one of these coveted jobs. Aspiring chocolate tasters also need a culinary arts degree.

A Culinary Degree in Chocolate Arts

McKinnon and Doutre-Roussel followed different paths to their chocolate dream careers, but both began with a solid culinary foundation. McKinnon launched her career with a bachelor-level culinary arts degree. Most tasters recommend a degree in nutrition or food science. Marketing, product development, and merchandising coursework can also be crucial. Doutre-Roussel developed her expertise through trips to chocolate plantations, factories, and artisan chocolatiers worldwide.

Chocoholism is one of the few addictions that--with the right culinary arts training--can lead to a (legal) career. With a culinary degree, you can put your palate to work on behalf of fine chocolate everywhere.