Is a culinary education worth it if I only want to make fudge?

Discussion in 'General Culinary School Discussions' started by breadandbutter, Oct 7, 2018.

  1. breadandbutter

    breadandbutter

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    Hi, I want to start a fudge business using the traditional method on marble table tops. I tried searching for a fudge making course but couldn't find anything. So I was wondering, since I'm not particularly wealthy, should I take a chocolate/candy making course or would that be a waste of money if the end goal is to only make different kinds of fudge?

    My goal is to make fudge that is as good as the stuff you get in professional fudge shops. There is no tempering involved in making fudge and if I want to make something like a salted caramel fudge I can theoretically use free internet resources/recipes and learn how to make each "helper" ingredient from scratch.

    What do you think, is culinary school worth it in this case or would I be better off saving that money and eventually investing it in equipment and ingredients? Thank you in advance.
     
  2. foodpump

    foodpump

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    Good question. Are you sure you can run a business on fudge only?

    A sugar/ confectionary course would benefit you in the following ways:

    Complete knowledge of the hows and whys of sugar cooking and crystallization.

    Exposure to chocolate work, ganache, and other confectionary work

    With the above knowledge you are capable to troubleshoot.

    But with taking a course, you will need to learn about packaging and labeling, and you will learn that wholesale is preferable to retail.
     
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  3. sgsvirgil

    sgsvirgil

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    There are many ways to gather the experience and knowledge necessary to operate your own business. The best and cheapest way, in my opinion, is simply getting a job working with the food you want to learn about. Sure, a culinary education will benefit you but, that benefit is strictly limited to your interests in the culinary world. In other words, should you ever decide this life is not for you, a culinary arts degree is not going to help you get a job outside of the food industry.

    Having said all that, is going to culinary school just to learn about fudge worth it? No. Not even if you go to a cheaper community college and go through the culinary arts program. So, unless you have an interest in learning about food and cooking in general, culinary school would be a waste of your time and money if your interests are restricted to just fudge.

    @foodpump makes a great suggestion. Try and find a confectioner's course or some classes that focus on chocolate. Otherwise,
    I would recommend that you get a job working for a pastry shop or a cafe that specializes in fudge and chocolate. That will likely benefit you the most and you will get paid for it.

    Good luck. :)
     
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  4. chefbillyb

    chefbillyb

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    Culinary schools full program wouldn't give you what you need. You need a specialized skill in making many verities fudge. This isn't something to fudge on. I would look at trying to apprentice with someone who does it the way you want to do it. Call up a Culinary school near you and ask if they could do a specialized class to meet your needs. They may also be able to point you in the right direction....

     
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  5. breadandbutter

    breadandbutter

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    @foodpump yes, it would start off being centered around fudge and if it is a successful venture I would love to make more items like salted caramels, brittle, toffee and things of that nature. You make some great points that I've been thinking a lot about. I have a background in design and am friends with some designers who make menus and labels for a living so that area is more or less covered. It's having the ability to troubleshoot problems and make other candy items down the road that has convinced me to take a confectioner's course. There are a few in my area that have gotten solid reviews and aren't too expensive. The wholesale vs retail point is definitely food for thought as well. Very helpful tips, thank you.

    @sgsvirgil I see your point about culinary school being overkill. Foodpump's idea of a confectioner's course is more doable and less risky. I would love to apprentice in a fudge shop, that was what I wanted to do from the get go, but unfortunately there aren't any where I live :(. A few high end chocolate shops but I've checked their menus and none of them make fudge. So the next best thing is a confectioner's course with an emphasis on chocolate. One of those courses offers 40 hours of training in a chocolate shop so I'll probably end up going with that one. Thank you for your comment and putting culinary school into perspective, I needed to read that to put my mind at ease.

    @chefbillyb Unfortunately there aren't any places that make fudge where I live and I was considering buying a plane ticket to the UK or Michigan and try to apply for a job in one of the well known fudge shops but I think Foodpump's idea of learning the basics of confectionery, chocolate making and in particular the science of sugar cooking & crystallization will be more beneficial in the long run should I decide to expand the menu later on and make other types of candy, or if I run into problems making the fudge. I've seen a few fudge making videos so far and some actually show the entire process and also list the ingredients, cooking times, equipment and temps. They don't mention specific brand names but more of a general "4 cartons of cream" type of deal. There is enough information out there to start experimenting with. Then it's a matter of practice and honing the technique. I'm going to start small, make some fudge on a small marble slab using the same technique they use in the old school shops, give it to family and friends, try selling to local cafes or farmer's markets and take it from there. Thanks for your comment and for the youtube link, much appreciated.
     
  6. foodpump

    foodpump

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  7. breadandbutter

    breadandbutter

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    Brilliant. Thank you SO MUCH!
     
  8. chefross

    chefross

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    I live in Michigan's upper peninsula, home of Mackinac Island, the purported fudge capital of the Midwest.

    Come work at Murdicks Fudge shop for a summer, and you will come away with all the knowledge you'll need.

    During the summer these places utilize college students to make the fudge, The workers mold the fudge and passersby watch as they work the fudge and then finally cut it in preparation for sales.
    There are many resources on the internet to find one of these places to work and pick the owners brains. Best of luck
     
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  9. breadandbutter

    breadandbutter

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    @chefross thank you. I think I'm going to take the confectionery course first just to get the basics covered for future troubleshooting purposes, it's a relatively short course, but reaching out to Murdick's and other shops afterwords is a fantastic idea. That is the best way to learn how to do this, from the masters themselves.
     
  10. sgsvirgil

    sgsvirgil

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    @sgsvirgil I see your point about culinary school being overkill. Foodpump's idea of a confectioner's course is more doable and less risky. I would love to apprentice in a fudge shop, that was what I wanted to do from the get go, but unfortunately there aren't any where I live :(. A few high end chocolate shops but I've checked their menus and none of them make fudge. So the next best thing is a confectioner's course with an emphasis on chocolate. One of those courses offers 40 hours of training in a chocolate shop so I'll probably end up going with that one. Thank you for your comment and putting culinary school into perspective, I needed to read that to put my mind at ease.

    You can take all the courses in the world about fudge and chocolate. But, without practical experience, the knowledge is useless. In this business, you have to be willing to go where the work is. Its not going to come to you. You should resolve any apprehension you may have about relocating before you decide this life is for you. :)

    Good luck. :)
     
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  11. breadandbutter

    breadandbutter

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    Good point!