My chocolate journey.
Story time! Every now and I then when I’m meeting new people in the pastry world, the question of how I got started comes up. I worked in kitchens for many years before getting involved in pastry. It started almost 11 years ago when I was attending teacher’s college in 2010. I had recently gotten into sugar work, and when I was entering a sugar showpiece at a restaurant trade show in March I was asked if I’d be interested in participating in a chocolate competition. I said yes without any hesitation, not realizing that I would be competing at the National Selection of World Chocolate Masters – the winner would get to represent Canada in an international competition in Paris. Fake it till you make it, right? The thought of winning never crossed my mind, knowing that I lacked a few skills here and there.
Just a quick idea of what we had to do in 2 days (with some items prepped in advance): a chocolate showpiece, 2 types of bonbons (moulded and dipped), plated desserts and an entremet. Practice! Practice! Practice! With only 5 or so weeks ahead of me (did I mention, the competition was in May?!), I would go to school (in Kingston) Monday to Friday, and then drive back to my mentor’s shop to practice. There were weekends where I would come back to Toronto only to spend most of my time at the shop – I don’t even think my parents realized that I was in town. Long story short, the weekends leading up to the competition involved many hours of chocolate work.
When I got to the competition, I realized I was way out of my league. As you might imagine I didn’t fare too well, but I did leave with something: motivation! Exposure to that level of skill lit a fire in me. It motivated me to continue learning and working on my craft. In fact, the world-class chocolatiers out there still motivate me to continue learning and improving to this day.
Whether you want to compete at the World Chocolate Masters, or just want to be able to make some treats for family – the goal of this section is to provide a solid resource on the basics of working with chocolate. To do that, we’ll try to provide as much helpful information here as possible. So, if you are reading through this part of the blog and there is something you think we should add or improve, please let us know!
What is chocolate?