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How do I break into confections without breaking the bank (or looking like a complete idiot)?

post #1 of 7
Thread Starter 

Hello everyone,

 

I am new to this site and forgive me if I am posting a question already posted. I am interested in learning how to make confections (candies, syrups, jellies, jams, etc.) and work professionally in that field. Considering I am already in debt up to my ears from attending grad. school 3 times, going to culinary school is out of the question for now. 

 

What is the best way for me to start learning the ropes? Can I just go and try and find a part time job without experience or is there a way I can get some kind of apprenticeship? I don't want to just start cooking from a book with no one to tell me if I am doing it wrong/right. I was thinking about asking someone if I could shadow them, but I don't want to waste anyone's time, my being 'green' and all.

 

Thank you for your advice. 

post #2 of 7
The Internet is a wonderful thing, lots of information written and visual, learn techniques and practice at home until you have the ratios and techniques down pat. Ratios are very important because in a mass production arena you will have to be able to produce what you will hopefully have learned on a small scale. Learn sugar cooking temps, what they mean, how to temper chocolate, how to make a firm and chewy caramel verses a caramel sauce, hard candy like lollipops, ganache.. Very simple processes, just a matter of learning them. Practice.
post #3 of 7

Welcome to Chef Talk @brownin329.

 

I will add....

 

To make getting a "shadow" position easier it is good to bring something to the bargaining table.

 

A good book to start with IMO is Peter Greweling's Chocolates and Confections (thanks @foodpump).

It is a CIA text with easy to understand instructions as well as pretty pix.

 

Figure out what you want to start with and then research the equipment carefully before you purchase.

Invest (remember the best is not necessarily the most expensive ;-) in the tools you need for these first recipes (impulse purchases will kill your budget and take up valuable counter and cabinet space)..

 

Use the best ingredients you can afford (with these items you will find the best is usually the most expensive lol)... store properly and always follow the recipes exactly as written.

Nothing ruins my day faster than wasted ingredients so I repeat.... follow the recipe exactly.

 

Last but not least.... if after you have used a recipe twice without good results switch recipes as most likely the one you have was written poorly/has a typo.

Don't try to alter measurements thinking you will have a better outcome (remember what Einstein said)...

 

The majority of CT members (both pro and foodies) have decades of experience (and are very generous with their time :-) so search here before looking on the net for answers to your questions.

I guarantee 99% of the advice on this site will be correct (vs Suzy Homemaker's blog).

Not saying Suzy's blog has no merit but the quality of the knowledge contained here will blow her out of the water.

 

mimi

post #4 of 7
Thread Starter 

Thank you, but I think the Internet is a confusing and overwhelming place filled with lots of people who think they know but don't really know; it's why I came here. 

post #5 of 7
Thread Starter 

Thanks. I will look at the book. I am not sure which Einstein quote you're talking about, but okay.  I'll just start with the book.

post #6 of 7
Quote:
Originally Posted by brownin329 View Post
 

Thank you, but I think the Internet is a confusing and overwhelming place filled with lots of people who think they know but don't really know; it's why I came here. 

 

Don't completely discount the internet.

I am not a fan of any one person but there are some youtube pieces that may be of interest when it comes to technique.

 

just sayin'

 

mimi

post #7 of 7
If I were in your place, I would get me to a place that makes candy, and get my foot in the door. I'd work doing the dishes, whatever I had to do to get inside. Then I'd be the biggest help I could to them. Do they need help getting ingredients? Be there. Stay later. Ask question. Be curious.

Jason Sandeman

http://jasonsandeman.com

Developing Systems So You Can Cook

Reply

Jason Sandeman

http://jasonsandeman.com

Developing Systems So You Can Cook

Reply
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