A pastry chef career requires special training and formal education in the culinary arts field. Pastry making is such a distinct culinary art that a lot of culinary schools provide programs specifically intended for pastry chefs.
What is A Pastry Chef?
To put it simply, a pastry chef is a culinary arts professional that specializes in baking and preparing desserts and pastries. He makes a wide variety of confections such as cakes, pies, cookies, tarts, bread, confections, and other baked stuffs. Pastry chefs are needed in many different food service establishments like restaurants, factories, bakeries, dining halls of hotels, and even in cafeterias of nursing homes. And if you watch a lot of reality TV, you’ll notice a surge of interest in pastry chefs working in specialty cake stores.
Although pastry chefs do not require any formal education, high positions at commercial bakeshops and gourmet restaurants almost always require an individual to have a culinary degree. Degree programs impart both theory and practical understanding needed to make appetizing and creative baked goods. Also, a student may study about pastry history, food safety, marketing, and nutrition. Majority of programs integrate classroom and structured kitchen time with actual experience working in a school cafeteria or at a restaurant.
Would-be pastry chefs may opt to get a one-year certificate program, a two-year associate degree, or a bachelor’s degree that normally takes four years to finish, depending on their goals, budget and time constraints. Finishing a degree course will enable you to start your pastry chef career. Of course, you’ll still have to work your way up, starting at an entry-level position in a catering company, retail establishment, or restaurant.
Many pastry chefs get into chef training with their prospective employer before being formally employed. This gives them a chance to show what they have learned and gain more knowledge from professional pastry chefs. This is usually the time when chefs decide to specialize in a particular area; training as bakers, mixers, dough molders, or other special fields. The period of training may take up to four years before you may be considered an expert in your chosen area.
A pastry chef needs the right skills and qualities to succeed in his or her pastry chef career. You must have a great sense of taste, touch, and smell in order to distinguish the average desserts from the finest ones, or to determine when something isn’t right in a certain recipe. A pastry chef frequently works for long hours and stays standing near a hot oven in a stuffy kitchen. Thus, it’s essential for a pastry chef to be physically healthy. Several states are strict in their health requirements for bakers and pastry chefs that work in a commercial setting. You may need to give medical proof that you’re not suffering from any contagious disease.
Advancement in Career
With the proper credentials and enough experience, there are a lot of opportunities to advance your career as a pastry chef. There are skilled pastry chefs who open their own restaurants, a step that may need further education in management or business. Some pastry chefs get high-paying occupations at well-known gourmet restaurants. The ones who have many years of experience in the industry may eventually become food critics or writers.
If you want to become a pastry chef, make sure you find an accredited school and develop the skills you need to succeed in your pastry chef career.