Upon reading this thread, I now find I want to know how to make my own chocolate and bacon.
Someone posted something about sugarcraft and chocolate work. I just want to know -- how did you go about learning it? I live near the Bay area, and I've been searching for classes to learn it for months now. I really haven't had much luck. I've been fascinated with "Kings of Pastry" for awhile now, but there's no way I'm ever going to be able to spend the time or money to go to pastry school since it would just be for fun.
SoCalVal, are there any culinary schools near you? You may want to call and see if you can take private lessons with an instructor or senior student. Chocolate classes should be easier to find than sugarcraft classes. If I lived in the area, I'd give you my contact info.
If you have a community college near you, they may also have classes, either credit or non-credit.
There are at least two culinary schools near me, and one culinary program at one of the community colleges (all are professional programs). I've been taking classes here and there at the community college over the past seven years, but, for pastry work, that program does not offer anything past fancy cakes and some chocolate work (so, nothing like sugarcraft or working with modeling chocolate). Don't get me wrong; I LOVE that program but really want to learn the more artsy stuff (blown sugar, pulling sugar and figure modeling, to name a few). I think both of the culinary schools require an official chat with whomever makes the big push to enroll students; I can't get information on what they have to offer (even if they offer stand-alone courses) without having to give them all my info to contact me (which I don't want to do as this is just a hobby for me).
For the past year or so, I've been looking into taking glass-blowing classes at some studios and, maybe, some painting and sculpting classes at a JC so I could at least get the art part down, never mind figuring out how to work with edible mediums.
What I've found in the Bay area hasn't really been what I want to learn. For example, when I do a google search, the courses I find offered are on things I'm not about to pay these little schools to learn -- usually a lot of money for stuff I'd learn at the JC's program here (but cheaper and more extensively here). In 2012, someone opened a sugarcraft school in Pennsylvania. That school offers exactly what I've been seeking, but I have not yet found those classes here -- classes like airbrushing, animal & figure modeling, blown & pulled sugar and mold-making.
My wonderful husband, always encouraging, suggested sending me to take classes there, but I vetoed that as the classes are really expensive ($975 each), which we really can't afford.
I'm going to keep looking, though. If someone could open a sugarcraft school out there, then I figure it's just a matter of time before someone opens a sugarcraft school out here (there was a cake camp in Henderson last weekend that offered some promising classes, but it was too far away for me to try to get to it this year).