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Sweet success

Eating chocolate for a living might sound like a dream job but it could become a reality for you if you are a cocoa-lover. All you need to do is come up with new flavour ­combinations, test new products and travel round the world sourcing ­ingredients.

education Updated: Aug 27, 2013 16:59 IST

The lowdown


Eating chocolate for a living might sound like a dream job but it could become a reality for you if you are a cocoa-lover. All you need to do is come up with new flavour ­combinations, test new products and travel round the world sourcing ­ingredients. Although no formal qualifications are required to become a chocolate taster, those blessed with sense of taste and smell can do wonders in this field. As a chocolate taster, you will spend your days in inspecting candies for appropriate sheen or cracks in the chocolate coatings and smell the ­delicate ­chocolates for aroma. Since the cacao bean is the source of all ­chocolate, its flavours can be imparted by a multitude of ­variables, such as weather, soil ­conditions, ­post-harvesting processing etc. With so many ­variables affecting the flavour of one chocolate bar, it’s ­important to taste carefully so that you can extract the fullest ­flavour ­potential. One needs to know everything about ­chocolates and above all a clean and ­sensitive palate because chocolate flavours are rich and ­complex

Clockwork
9am: Start my day with a cup of tea at my workplace. Morning briefing with the staff and discuss the day’s schedule
10am: Go through the stock and inventory
10.30am: Take a round at the pastry shop and other outlets
11am-11.30am: Banquet meeting
11.30am-12pm: Chefs’ briefing
12pm-3pm: Production work starts
3pm-3.30pm: Lunch break
3.30pm-4pm: Evening briefing
4pm-7pm: Quality check and development of new products like cakes, pastries, chocolates and breads
7pm-9pm: Implementation of new tested products and the launching scheme
9pm-9.30pm: Final round of the pastry shop and banquets, inspecting the quality and the ­set- up of the area
9.30pm-10pm: Give instructions to the staff on night shift
10pm: Done for the day

The ­payoff
It starts from Rs. 20,000 per month in the Indian market and the rest depends on your ­experience and work

Skills/TRAITS
* You need to be enthusiastic and passionate about chocolate
* Sensitive taste buds so that one can make out the slightest ­difference in flavours
* One has to be ­updated about the latest trends
* Amazing amount of patience
* The job involves a lot of ­interacting with suppliers, design agencies who do the packaging, and of course, ­customers. So you need to be a ‘people person’ — a good ­communicator

Getting there
After Class 12, do a bachelor’s course in nutrition and food ­technology or applied science (hons) in food technology which will give you some basic ­knowledge in ­selection, ­preservation, ­processing, ­packaging, ­distribution, and use of safe, ­nutritious and wholesome food. Getting some experience in product development, from the retail side or the supplier side can be of great help

Institutes and URLs
* University of Delhi; www.du.ac.in
* University of Mysore;www.uni-mysore.ac.in/food-science-and-nutrition
* Institute of Hotel Management, Catering Technology and Applied Nutrition, Goa; ihmgoa.nic.in/ihmgoa.htm

Pros and cons
* Immense creative satisfaction
* The job could be demanding
* You have to make a conscious effort to eat healthy in order to maintain your calorie intake

One should opt for this profession only if he/she has a passion and love for chocolates. One needs to be patient and rational to make a mark in this field --- Vikas Shrivastava, executive pastry chef, Le Meridien, New Delhi