Finding A Job As Pastry Chef

August 24, 2008 6 Comments

Finding A Job As Pastry Chef

How to Find a Job as a Pastry Chef

I receive a lot of emails every day from people young and old interested in going to culinary school. Some want to start their careers in the restaurant industry, some are looking to change careers. Check out the culinary career page for a great culinary arts resource by offering articles, schools listed by state, chef interviews and opinions both pro and con about attending school.

Recently I received this email from Wendy who wrote me and said,

“I have a culinary degree and a baking and pastry degree. It was my dream to become accredited in pastry as soon as I got out of school, but I got stuck making salads in a job I hate because no one will hire me, not even as an assistant because I lack the 3 years experience. How do I get experience if no one will hire me? I’m 41 years old and I’m sick of not having my dream job.” Wendy

I sent this email to my friend Chef Jennifer Field, a graduate of the Orlando Culinary Academy, Le Cordon Bleu Culinary Arts School. Chef Jennifer has worked as a pastry chef in several restaurants and offered Wendy the following good advice:

Hi, Wendy.

I do feel for you.  I graduated from culinary school in baking and pastry when I was 39, and it can be hard to break into a game that is generally a “young person’s” game.  Sounds like you are working at a garde manger station.  Many garde manager folks are also dessert platers–is that your situation?  If so, perhaps you could work into a full-time pastry position.

What market are you in and how competitive is it?  I’m a little surprised that there is a 3 years of experience rule to even get an assistant position.  Do you want to work in fine dining?  Catering?  Banquets?

You might have to put in your time in a less-than-ideal (for you) pastry position to gain the necessary experience that the job market you’re in requires.  Are you in a position to stage somewhere to get some experience?

You might have to think outside the box a little and consider advertising that you’ll make special desserts for dinner parties or something.  Craigslist is great for things like that.  And of course, take pictures of everything you do, even if you’re just experimenting.

Also, you might consider asking for a working interview for a job you’re interested in.  Tell them that you’ll be happy to do a Mystery Basket or just work in production or on the line for a few hours as part of the interview process.  That way, the person hiring you (not to mention the people you could potentially be working with) would get a chance to see you in action.  Then you’ll be able to show them what you can do.

Those are just a couple of ideas.  I know that breaking in can be frustrating.  Sometimes when doors aren’t opening when and where you want them to, you have to just get out the Skill-saw and cut out your own door.

Best of luck to you.

 

Last modified on Wed 28 September 2016 7:36 am

Comments (6)

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  1. wendy green says:

    It is impossible to work into a position that does not exist. i plate desserts that some one else makes because we don’t have the equipment, ingredients or time at the inn where I work at.
    This is an upscale inn and everyone is astonished at my low pay, undependable work hours or total lack of benefits.

    I cannot advertise that i will make treats for parties because of the health codes, in NC it is illegal to bake and serve people for your home for profit.

    I live in a 1971 trailer, single wide with my parents. no room for anything. The health inspectors are even going after the man who makes the desserts for the inn that i work at.

    The three year rule just to be an assistant is thrown in my face every where i go.

    I went to sand hills community college to get my degree and they don’t do anything to help you get a job.

    I’ve offered to take a pastry position at less pay, much less just to get experience and all i get are complaints about how hard they have it and they cant afford to hire another person, then they complain about how bad the people they are. I was a straight A student, always on time and stayed until the job was done. i have excellent letters of recommendation but still no job besides salad girl.
    it i can get a catering job ill do it, my point is i cant get past the interview.
    I’m told we will call you and they don’t.

    The Carolina hotel told me that they couldn’t hire me as long as i was a student and then i graduated and went back and they said we are sorry, we cant hire you because we just hire 10 students and we have to favor students, i reminded them of what they told me and they said we are sorry, we just dont have any openings.

    If i could get hired,i could do the job and no, i can’t afford to work for free that’s why I’m still at the inn.

  2. Katherine says:

    I too started in a garde manger station even though I really wanted to do pastry. The first thing I did was tell the chef that I was interested in pastry. Then I started baking things at home and bringing them in for the staff. I would simply place a plate of my home-baked creations in a central location. The reaction was amazing! Then, at Christmastime, when a great deal of baking was required, I volunteered to come in on my day off and do a lot of baking to freeze for storage. Again, great reaction! When the chef and sous chefs (who HATE to bake) realized that I could save them many hours, I was promoted to pastry chef. Additionally, before I was moved to that position, they were purchasing large quantities of expensive frozen products. I am producing better stuff and saving them money. I think experience IS important because I get better at what I do every day. But the final result is the main thing. Good luck!

  3. Diane Adamson says:

    I have a kid that is 12 years of age and she really wants to be in the pastry maket she told me that tonight i told to follow her dreams some of her favorite chefs are Rachel Ray and many more what collage should she go to any commets would help

  4. Michelle says:

    I too am wanting to become a pastry chef. I’m having difficulties getting the money, and it’s frustrating for me. My fiancee and I are wanting to get married, but we don’t even have the money for that. I have an idea for a dessert, but I’m not sure how I can patent and start a company with this treat before someone else takes my idea. Any help with this matter would be greatly appreciated.

  5. D says:

    I know these comments were posted years ago. However, what I learned is that after submitting countless apps for pastry jobs, in which the employers use the online applications, I have not find success in getting my foot in the door. I work at Publix Super Market and fyi they offer decorating apprenticeship jobs that provide pay, training, opportunity for advancement, and most importantly experience to put on one’s resume. They offer culinary internships, as well. I attended a culinary school, so I don’t want my skills to go to waste. I want to build my skills in pastries, so I am now researching pastry apprenticeship programs. I found a few nationwide ones. After a few years I will be proficient with an emphasis on decorating 😀

  6. jeyemenel says:

    i’m 15 and i’m so excited to work

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