Why I want to be mentor in this category: A lot of the processes in making truffles can be foreign to home cooks. I've been there, learned through practice, and would be happy to help others.
What inspires me in this category: Truffles are so versatile. They allow you to express your creative side by experimenting with new flavor combinations while working with one of the world's most beloved ingredients- chocolate!
Experience: I've been making truffles at home using basic small kitchen equipment and creating my own formulas since 2009.
Biggest Lesson Learned: So much of candymaking is about what's happening on a molecular level. Attention to detail is crucial to making successful truffles- you have to weigh all the ingredients and constantly keep an eye on the temperature of your ingredients. But the joy of creating homemade truffles is worth all the effort!
Books, classes, teachers that have helped me: Greweling's "Chocolate & Confections: Formula, Theory, and Technique for the Artisan Confectioner" is an absolutely indispensable resource. Shotts's "Making Artisan Chocolates" and Scharfferberger's "The Essence of Chocolate" are also useful.
Education, Awards, Pro Experience: I'm self-taught without professional pastry experience. You might need to ask someone else about some advanced techniques, but I am pretty adept at developing formulas, making ganaches, tempering chocolate, and making other components in the home kitchen.
Use the freshest, finest ingredients you can afford. You'll taste the difference.
Because accurate measurements are so important, a quality food scale and digital thermometer are worth the investment. Other than that, you can make great truffles with basic kitchen equipment.