Careers in Chocolate
Roving reporter Scott talks to three professional sweet-workers to see what it's like to do chocolate for a living.
Many people love it so much it becomes an addiction; and who could blame them? The sweet, brown stuff has been seducing millions over hundreds of years. There's nothing better than sinking your teeth into a big chocolate bar or sipping a rich, hot chocolate. And although chocoholics enjoy consuming cocoa, there are also many career options available for those who want to do more than eat chocolate.
Run a chocolate tour
Suzie Wharton, a self-confessed chocoholic from birth, runs Chocoholic Tours of Melbourne and has been since 1995. The idea of starting chocolate tours formed when she was working with the City of Melbourne and they stopped running their chocolate walk. She took matters into her own hands and started her own business.
"If you have an idea and a bit of a business plan and if you can go to some sort of mentor; you can find somebody who likes the idea," says Wharton. When starting her business, she received help from Tourism Victoria. Her background owning and operating a motel and restaurant helped, "I dealt with people all the time. In this sort of job you've got to be caring and like people..."
"Chocolate's my passion... it's just having a passion for whatever you want to do and just keep working at it," says Wharton, "I'd say in like any business it takes a long time... it doesn't happen overnight. I've been going for 12 years, so it's taken me that long to get it up to the stage it's at now."
The question remains though, does she ever get tired of discussing chocolate over and over again? "No! Never!" Wharton quickly replies. "It's a huge subject. It's not just about eating it, it's about growing it and all the different people involved in it as well."
Work in a chocolate factory
Another option for chocoholics is to work in a chocolate factory. Judy Sun worked in a chocolate factory for 2 years, packing and assorting the chocolate.
"We were on a large production line, handling chocolate all day," says Sun. "It's probably some people's dream job!"
The best part for chocoholics is the free chocolate, but Sun warns that overindulgence can ruin the job. "Yes, we were allowed to eat all the chocolate we wanted," says Sun, "I must admit, I ate a lot my first week, but I got tired of it after that."
Become a lolliologist
Of course, there are alternatives for those with a sweet tooth who don't particularly want to work with chocolate. There are also career options for working in confectionery.
Lolliologists at the Suga lolly shops work and mould rock candy right in front of customers. They create hand-made lollies and candies in 'candy kitchens' daily.
Mat Brick, a lolliologist, started his job by walking into a store and starting work the next day! "All the training at Suga is done on the job but it certainly does help if you have worked in the hospitality industry before," he says.
Brick has been working at Suga for four years and says the process of creating confectionery can be complicated and, like Sun, also admits "I don't eat lollies near as often as I used to now that I work with them every day..."
So whether chocolate or other types of confectionery are your addiction, there are career options to attract any sweet tooth.
"There are lots of jobs in chocolate... pastry chefs, chocolatiers... there's lots of chocolate salons and chocolate shops and if you love it you can start there and really carry on to other things," says Wharton.
"Just do it. Get involved," says Brick.
Just don't eat too much!
For information about starting your own business, check out our Starting your own business section. And for more chocolate-related jobs, check out our career profile of a professional chocolatier in our Career profiles section.
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