I just posted this on the Startup Central Group, but realized it might work better on this forum.
I want to introduce chocolates to my bakery and have taken a few chocolate making classes, mostly for a few hours at a time.
I am trying to find where I can take extended chocolate courses -- hands on -- for up to a week at a time, that will teach me:
1. How to temper using different machines (batch and continuous), and work with different depositors, etc.
2. How to create my own recipes.
3. How to design my kitchen.
Here are my limitations:
1. I will only be using already tempered chocolate. I love to read about -- and have friends in -- the bean/farm to bar business but I can't do that.
2. The courses need to be in the US.
3. I can only go for a week/course.
I have looked at ecolechocolat, but I believe it is mostly online and I want to finally get some hands-on courses. I would like, though, opinions about ecolechocolat.
I have talked to Barry Callebaut in Chicago and they offer classes, but I don't know anyone who has taken them.
I understand that the SFBI also has a chocolate course, but again, no first hand opinions.
If any of you know of chocolate-making courses or offer them, would you please let me know.
The Stonehouse Bakery
Terry Richardson used to do a series of courses that sounds like it'd fit just fine - out in california. http://www.richres.com
Hi Sebastian -
I left a message this morning for Mr. Richardson. I couldn't tell from his site if he was still offering courses, but the ones from 2013 looked great!
Thanks for the information.
I have taken both Ecole Chocolat's and SFBI chocolate courses this year. They are good courses, but you will not work with any tempering or enrobing machines in these courses. You also won't learn any recipe development at SFBI and you are instructed by Ecole Chocolat to experiment with standard recipes. Neither course will help you figure out how to best design a kitchen, but Ecole Chocolat does require that you design a kitchen focusing on the major equipment.
Ecole Chocolat is a course where you are instructed to research this information extensively and they do provide a ton of reading material on all subjects involving chocolate. You can ask questions of two chocolatiers and they will provide some information and then they will suggest you do more research. EC is about getting you to take charge of your business. I think it is a great course, but it doesn't sound like it is what you are looking for.
I was frustrated by not being able to get simple answers from tutors because in general they would say the answer depends on what you are making, where you are located and what your business concept is. I regularly read both EC's website and The Chocolate Life for information.
Honestly, I think working for another chocolatier for a week would be your best option. EC offers week-long internships once you have completed their professional chocolate makers course. The internships are free but, you pay for your transportation, lodging and food. Sweet Paradise Chocolate, in Hawaii, is one of the companies (through EC) that allows students to intern and they have several tempering machines and an enrober. Melanie, the owner, is very knowledgeable and she will teach you to use those machines if you intern with her. She also has a cacao farm, so you would get the most bang for your buck with her. There are two or three other chocolate companies that offer internships through EC, but I haven't looked into them.
Good luck and please post if you find someone who is willing to let chocolatiers try their machinery.
Thank you for all your advice and help, I left a message for Pam at EC this morning and hope to hear back soon. I think you are right, though, I want hands-on experience. Maybe an internship is the way to go. I will check on this possiblity.
Will keep you updated with what I find.
Jean-Marie Auboine runs a school in Las Vegas, NV. I am not sure if he offers anything at this level, but I would check to see.
Hi Clay -
I spoke with Melissa Coppel this morning and she was wonderful! I thought Jean-Marie Auboine only had classes for those wanting to produce competition/show-stopping pieces. Melissa showed me a couple of courses that would work for my skill level. The only challenge is that their courses change from year to year, depending on who they find for instructors. But Melissa said they should always have at least one or two more basic courses each year.
I am getting a lot of feedback on this site and I am compiling what I have found. Hopefully by next week I can do a summary here of current chocolate courses.
Thanks for doing so much to help us - at every skill level and business stage. This site is invaluable!
I think the summary of options is a great idea! I am looking forward to hearing about them.