Pastry Chef Overview
Pastry chefs are baker extraordinaires who can do it all. They’re ready to prepare and decorate cakes, mix up pizza doughs, tackle dinner rolls, or design and present an impressive dessert menu. Pastry chefs have the baking chops and the creative ambition to make dessert dreams come true. If this sounds like you, working as a pastry chef could help you make a living!
- Manage the pantry. Many pastry chefs must manage their cooking and baking supplies, which means keeping to a budget, communicating with vendors, and keeping track of schedules.
- Produce breads, desserts, and pastries. Your daily work will consist of a regular baking production schedule, plus handling special requests.
- Prepare food for presentation or delivery. Presentation is half of the experience, so pastry chefs know how to decorate, package, and present breads and desserts to make them appealing.
Offer new pastry ideas. Many pastry chefs contribute to a seasonal menu that changes frequently and are invited to experiment with new creations.
- Ability to perform active, high-energy work. Baking and dessert-making is physical work that requires considerable strength and the ability to lift at least 50 lbs.
- Knowledge of baking and cooking techniques. Whether it’s making spun sugar or a loaf of rye bread, pastry chefs must be good at the math that goes into altering recipes and the science behind the best baking practices.
- Attention to detail. Getting exact measurements and precise piping is all part of the pastry chef experience.
Time management. Some recipes require prep, multiple steps, or advance planning, so pastry chefs must be able to keep track of various projects and finish them on time.
Pastry chefs are not new to baking nor to being part of a larger kitchen team. Most employers are looking to hire people with at least a year of pastry experience. It can be beneficial to earn a pastry degree or certificate from a culinary program, which is also a good way to get more experience in production.
Whether you’re working at a bakery, at a restaurant, or for a food service group, most employers will expect that you can work early morning hours and that you have an updated food handler card.