A confectioner is a chef that specializes in making candy. While this Willy Wonka-esque career sounds like a dream come true to many, becoming a confectioner requires careful training and study. Part artist, part gourmet chef, a confectioner's job can focus on anything between creating hand-poured truffles to creating a new world-class chocolate bar for the masses.
Candy making, like most cooking, is based in scientific principles of heat and chemistry. Although a confectioner may be more likely to have eatable results, both he or she and a scientist work on factual certainties about how substances react to one another. Trying to learn candy making by intuition is likely to result in a lot of burned chocolate and smoldering sugar. Instead, most confectioners learn their trade from masters in the field.
Many cooking schools offer confectionery classes as part of a pastry chef degree program. Believe it or not, it is possible to get a two or four year degree specializing in candy. Learning pastry chef skills can be greatly beneficial to the career of a confectioner, as they can utilize many decorative techniques and artistic principles in designing candy. If getting a degree in candy making isn't quite enough, consider also that many programs offer financial aid in the form of loans, grants, and scholarships, all to help talented confectioners make delicious candy.
However fancy the treats may look, becoming a confectioner does not require a fancy degree. While attending a full-time cooking school can help start a career, there are many other ways to gain experience and hone candy making techniques. Many instructional books teach candy making, and provide useful recipes and reference guides. Taking an entry level job at a candy store that makes its own products can also teach insider information about the industry. Community centers and colleges may also offer more casual candy making classes that last a weekend or a few days.
The jobs awaiting an aspiring confectioner are limited only by imagination. Some choose to open small boutique stores for their delicacies, using word of mouth and local advertising to promote the store. If successful, owners may be able to create franchises or brands around their own specialties. Other confectioners may open up mail-order companies, supplying corporate events, weddings, and other celebrations with customized, made to order candy.
Confectioners can also find jobs in the corporate world, working as researchers for established candy companies. Although it may take a while to climb the corporate ladder, many may find it satisfying to watch their products being enjoyed by consumers worldwide. For those with an addiction to dime-store candy bars and treats, working for one of the larger confectionery companies may really be a dream come true.