Mondelēz International has put an ad out for a professional chocolate taster. And who better to describe the job than the woman who previously held it?
Caroline Robbins, 53, “didn’t think it was for real” when she came across a similar ad in a newspaper two years ago, she said in an interview with Fortune. She thought the idea of Mondelēz — the company behind Cadbury, Chip’s Ahoy, and Oreos — paying someone to eat confectionery for a living was just “too good to be true.” But it was, and she ended up leaving the world of banking for a world where her sense of taste was key and chocolate samples plentiful.
But, Robbins explained, the job is more technical than it sounds. (She said people used to “look down their noses” when she told them she tasted chocolate for a living.) The sample screening process stretches over three days and involves numerous discussions. For example, does the chocolate have smoky overtones? Vanilla undertones? Candidates will need excellent descriptive skills, Robbins said, and be able to tell the difference between two squares of chocolate.
For this reason, tasters on the chocolate panel convene in silence, going through around seven chocolate samples a session before discussing their thoughts afterwards, Robbins said. Or at least they do in stage one. Stage two requires tasters to venture alone into a booth, taste more candy, and answer questions related to “texture” and “aroma.”
“Samples never taste the same,” Robbins said.
As Robbins gets ready to work in a different role for the company — she’s moving on from her position to be a sensory technician at Mondelēz’s Reading Science Centre — she remains a chocolate enthusiast.
Applications to replace Robbins are still open and thousands have already submitted their resumes. She recommends interviewees avoid strong foods, tea, cigarettes, wearing lipstick and perfume. Chocolate tasters need “the best, freshest taste buds.”