When it comes to the best jobs in the world, spending your days eating chocolate and then rating it is surely up there in the list of top careers, eclipsed only by perhaps those people Japan pays to pretend to be ninjas .
So after Mars Incorporated announced earlier this year that they were hiring for some new chocolate tasters, we decided to see if we could bag one of the eight jammy spots on offer.
Clearly qualified after years of finishing off multi-packs of Galaxy and family bags of Maltesers, I decided to put my well-honed eating skills to the test and hopped on a train to Mars HQ in Slough for an interview.
Perhaps the only interview in the world that involves eating six different pieces of Snickers in one sitting, the nation's beloved chocolate giants told me their key criteria for potential candidates was a "passion for confectionery" and "good taste buds" (check, check), with the successful tasters then being paid up to £10.25 an hour – over £120 a week.
A bit like the Olympics, there's six different stages to securing the dreamy role, and absolutely no awkward writing exams, with each part solely designed to test different sensory experiences.
First up: Perception, which despite sounding like a module in your driving theory, is actually weirdly fascinating and almost certainly my new party trick.
All you need to do is eat various white, colourless skittles from the brand's limited edition Pride pouches whilst holding your nose and try to guess the flavour. And whilst it sounds easy, weirdly, without any colour clues, it's impossible.
Next we moved onto basic taste training, where I was handed a concerning plate of what looked like five tequila shots, with each completely clear shot glass containing either a sweet, salty, bitter or sour solution.
Ever competitive, all my years of eating and drinking finally came to fruition, and I scored a solid five out of five. Forget the university degree, that's going top of my CV.
But it turns out that's the moment I should have signed the contract, collected my days wages and legged it out the building, as rather than ending on a high note, I moved on to the Textures challenge… And it did not go well.
The premise is simple: get various types of food, hold them between your teeth, and simply assess how hard they are on a scale of one to ten. Child's play, I know.
Chocolate fondant? Soft. Boiled sweet? Hard. Peanut? Medium. Marshmallow… My downfall.
In a fit of sugar-induced hysteria I somehow deduced that marshmallows, the famously chewy and bouncy sweet, were difficult to split in two, and therefore, surely, must be hard. Perhaps Mars were trying to mess with my logic, I thought, as I marked it an embarrassing 8/10 for hardness, before the cheers of laughter ensued.
There's no feeling of idiocy quite like saying a marshmallow is hard.
With my job prospects as both a chocolate taster and surely also a wordsmith in tatters, I tried to bring back some sense of professionalism we moved onto odours.
I was handed five different vials of different smells that I had to recognise, including hot oil – a scent that apparently is often met with disgust, apart from by me, naturally, who couldn't detect a thing.
After three right answers, the examiner was evidently anxious I was about to steal her job, rudely marking me down for smelling marzipan when it was almond, and liquorice when it was aniseed. Potato, potahto, tomato, tomahto.
But it turns out that I was right to be suspicious, with the final task passing me a plate of four different pieces of Snickers, and asking me to group them together into pairs.
Source: Read Full Article