Becoming a Pastry Chef

Wondering how to be a pastry chef?

One of the most sought after jobs in restaurant kitchens is that of the pastry chef, the chef that is in charge of desserts. After all, isn’t that everyone’s favorite part of the meal?

 

What is a Pastry Chef?

A pastry chef is the chef in charge of pastries such as cakes, and other desserts, as well as baked goods such as breads, dinner rolls, and other baked goods.  They work in restaurants, hotels, catering companies and bakeries. You can find pastry chefs in almost any food service operation that has bread or desserts, which is almost all of them.

In most five star and high end restaurants, there will be what is often referred to as an Executive Pastry Chef, as well as an assistant pastry chef or two. Not all restaurants require a pastry chef; many restaurants don’t make their own desserts, so plating them is often the responsibility of the pantry chef, the chef responsible for cold foods.

How do I become a Pastry Chef?

A pastry chef is a very specialized position and requires extensive experience. The road to becoming one can be long and grueling, but once there the job itself can be very fun and rewarding. Many pastry chefs went to culinary school with the intention some other specialty, but fell in love with baking along the way.

Many culinary schools offer special pastry programs as well; these are degrees or certifications that are set up to teach the art of desserts and baking, and don’t go into savory cooking at all. Many graduates of culinary schools continue their education with pastry arts certification after graduation so they have both general cooking skills as well as baking skills.

A Pastry Chef must be creative and be very detail oriented, as the job requires decorating cakes, and making pastries and breads that require precise cuts and folds. No other restaurant food relies on visual presentation as much as desserts.

Unlike cooking, baking relies a lot on science and precision, so you’ll have to understand the scientific principles of baking in order to be successful.

Good communication skills, as well as being a good leader are required for the job as you’ll often have people working under you. Management experience is a plus, as well.

While an education is certainly not required, it does help considerably. If it’s not an option or you’re just not sure if being a pastry chef is for you, the best way to start is by applying for jobs in small bakeries, even if it’s just as counter help to get a feel for the job, and what is required. Catering companies and hotels are also great places to start looking, as they very often have pastry departments.

There are many professional organizations and certifications that will help prove your skills and professionalism. The American Culinary Federation offers an Executive Pastry Chef Certification that proves your skills and looks great on a resume. In addition, attending seminars and conferences will only further your career.

An executive pastry chef can make a good salary if they have the right skills and ambition to succeed. It is very similar to an Executive Chef job in terms of skills and responsibility, and is not a career that will happen overnight.

Whether you choose to get a formal education or just learn as you go, if you are passionate and creative and love the idea of creating delicious and beautiful desserts that impress people everywhere, then a job as a pastry chef is a definite career that can be very rewarding.

More Information about Becoming a Pastry Chef:

Pastry Chef Education info:

http://www.culinaryschools.org/

ACF Certification:
http://acfchefs.org/Content/NavigationMenu2/Careers/Certification/Designations/CEPC/default.htm

Pastry Chef Pay, Wages and Salary info:
http://www.payscale.com/research/US/Job=Pastry_Chef/Salary

Photo Courtesy Of:
http://www.freedigitalphotos.net/images/view_photog.php?photogid=404

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