It's very important to us that our instructors for our programs be working chocolate professionals as well as educators. They bring practical, real-world experience to the programs. Plus you have the support of people who really care about your learning experience. That's also why our Master Programs happen "in the field" in actual chocolate production facilities.
Keeping us ALL on track:
What our graduates have to say
“Julio was a superb tutor! He was personable, open and completely honest, in addition to being highly knowledgeable. The other students, too, were an asset!” - Kathleen, June '15 Graduate, Chocolate Making from the Bean
“I always looked forward to feedback from Rachel! Her responses always inspired me to want to try harder. In the videos and in her responses she seemed super down-to-earth. I just loved her!” - Maddy, March '15 Graduate, Professional Chocolatier Program
“Though it was rather difficult learning chocolate via an online course for someone who best learns hands-on, I found the material to be fully loaded with all the knowledge a beginning chocolatier needs. The instructors/tutors did an amazing job keeping up with all the questions the students threw at them (and) I found the videos/tutorials to be the perfect added bonus to some of the lectures, helping to resolve some of my many questions.”
Hannah, Nov. '14 Graduate
More about our Lead Instructor
I founded au Chocolat in 1981 in Vancouver, B.C. after moving there from California, and spent 10 years as master chocolatier. Au Chocolat started as a chocolate-making retail and wholesale business (the present owners are now only wholesale). Our specialty was gourmet chocolate truffles and we had a multitude of flavors in stock at any one time.
Our gourmet chocolate truffles were hand-made. We then either rolled them in a traditional dry coating such as cocoa or nuts or coated them with fine chocolate. At first, we did the chocolate dipping by hand but as sales increased we moved to an enrobing machine. The machine was a life-saver – especially during the holidays when demand for our chocolates peaked.
Our other gourmet chocolate offerings were molded from solid chocolate (our signature was a chocolate duck with a jaunty bow around his neck made with a mold taken from our childhood favorite – a yellow rubber ducky), panned chocolate items such as chocolate-covered espresso beans and our perennial favorite – chocolate mousse cake. In the summer, we included ice cream products as well. When time came to semi-retire from the day-to-day chocolate making business, I was able to sell to a friend-of-a-friend who loved the chocolate-candy making business as much as I did.
During that time, I also taught chocolate-making programs and courses on starting a business for many different organizations. As well, I've written numerous articles on chocolate and chocolate candy making.
I wrote my first cookbook, Oh Truffles by au Chocolat, and while the book is now out of print, it was a best-selling cookbook with a second printing. My goal with the cookbook was to teach home cooks how to work with chocolate and then give them lots of different chocolate recipes to try.
Besides becoming proficient in working with chocolate for obvious business reasons, I always encourage creativity and joy in the chocolate-making process itself. Working with chocolate can be a very sensuous experience. Early chocolatiers used their hands to temper the chocolate and coat the truffles or sugar fillings – some companies still do. Like kneading bread, successful technique becomes one of "feel". The chocolatier knows just when the chocolate mass is ready to use.
I wish you much success in your endeavors and will be delighted if our programs can be of help in getting you where you want to go in an industry that is my passion.