So You Want To Become A Pastry Chef
A pastry chef is an important component of the brigade de cuisine system in a professional kitchen. Pastry chefs or artists are of course responsible for preparing, baking, and decorating the desserts.
Being a cook or chef is not for everyone, but if you still want to work in a professional kitchen setting and have a hand in creating delicious and aesthetically pleasing food, then you should think about pursuing a career as a pastry chef. Plus, a perk of the job is that you are able to test out your own creations!
Qualities of a Pastry Chef
The first important characteristic of a good pastry chef is someone who possesses great attention to detail. Baking is about precision and careful measurements. A pastry chef might have to go through a series of small, detail-oriented steps and processes before they are able to produce their final result.
In addition, it is essential that pastry artists are able to carefully decorate a dessert and add small visual details to the final result so that it can be artfully served.
Creativity is another essential quality for pastry chefs. Creativity is needed to plan menu items, bake original creations, and decorate a visually-appealing dessert. Great pastry chefs are able to creatively add unique touches to create an exceptional dessert.
Baking and pastry design is both an art and a science. Aside from the artistic and creative aspects of the job, it is critical that baking professionals have a solid understanding of the science behind their craft. For example, pastry artists must have a grasp on measurement techniques, the combination of ingredients, as well as food nutrition.
Pastry Chefs often work closely with the Executive Chef or Chef de Cuisine to plan dessert items that will complement the daily menu. A pastry chef must constantly research and create new dessert items to include on the menu that will entice customers into ordering them.
Also, a pastry professional may be required to train others in the kitchen to either prepare or plate dessert items. Aside from preparing the baked goods, a pastry chef must determine the appropriate garnishes, pairings, and toppings to include with each respective menu item.
A pastry chef is often required to be on their feet for long periods of time and get up at early hours to start the dessert or baking preparation before the rest of the kitchen begins their daily tasks. Although this is a time-consuming and detail-driven occupation, it is also a rewarding position as you are able to produce your own creations based on your individual vision.
How to Become a Pastry Chef
If you are looking to qualify for a basic, entry-level position in this field, you should be able to earn your diploma in a little under a year. However, obtaining your two-year associate’s degree in Pastry Arts will most likely lead to more lucrative positions in the future. If you are interested in an executive position as a Pastry Chef or manager, you should look into baking / pastry bachelor degree programs.
The higher form of education you receive, the more likely you will be considered for a top-paying position in pastry arts or design. There are thousands of culinary schools that include exceptional pastry arts programs for you to choose from across the country. In choosing the right school for you, make sure that you consider school accreditation, experienced faculty members, and industry-approved kitchen facilities.
The average salary for a pastry chef is around $42,000 annually*. As you gain experience in the kitchen, your expected salary may increase, particularly if you move to a higher ranking executive position at the restaurant or eatery in which you work. At the upper end of the scale, you could be making close to $60,000 annually.
The great thing about being a professional pastry chef is that once you have obtained the necessary skills and educational degrees to receive a job in the field, you can take your talents pretty much anywhere! Pastry chefs may work in restaurants, bakeries, for catering companies, or even in their own private businesses. This is an exciting and rewarding career option for those who have a passion for creating great desserts.
*Bureau of Labor Statistics