Your Pastry Chef Career

A pastry chef career is rewarding and takes time, commitment and passion for food. Pastry chefs usually work in bakeries, restaurants, snack shops and dessert shops. A pastry chef career can lead to other options in the cooking industry. Prepare for a pastry chef career by considering whether or not you would want to be employed by someone else, self-employed and whether or not academic study in science is something you are interested in. Pay increases as pastry chefs move up in the kitchen. Pastry chefs may start out as line cooks, soups chefs or apprentices for bakeries and restaurants.

A Day in the Life

Pastry chefs have to be able to keep track of multiple tasks and keep control of many baking projects at once. Pastries and pasty fillings are usually quite sensitive. Pastry chefs should have good attention to detail. Delicate pastries and meringues can burn easily; creams can become lumpy without proper attention and constant stirring. And getting behind on the day's order could be a major hurdle to overcome for the day. So pastry chefs need to be able to stay active and concentrate. Good communication skills are also necessary to work with others in the kitchen. Depending on the position, pastry chefs may manage other chefs full or part time. Regardless, communication skills are necessary since work in the kitchen has to go quickly and efficiently. The pastry chef's daily responsibilities vary according to the place of employment and the place of his or her position in the kitchen hierarchy. In addition to pastry and pie crusts, pastry chefs may be responsible for breads and fillings, as well as other dishes requiring baked goods like cakes and cookies.

Chef Career Education

Pastry chefs usually attend culinary school and receive a four-year degree. Pastry and baking are usually available specializations in culinary school. Another option for pastry chefs is to gain experience in the form of working or taking apprenticeships. Pastry chefs may prepare for advancement by taking undergraduate coursework in the sciences and researching the area of food science.

Cooking Career Options

Since pastry chefs have to have a good general knowledge of baking, they have a variety of options for employment. Pastry chefs may work with desserts, appetizers, bakeries and bread stores. Some pastry chefs may go into business on their own and sell their goods through local outlets. Pastry chefs may open their own restaurants, as well.

Pastry Chef Advancement

Cooking is chemistry. A pastry chef who has adequate undergraduate preparation in the life sciences may find a rewarding curve in the career path by pursuing food science. Understanding the way in which food works as a science may lead in many directions. The additional cooking knowledge may develop the skills and knowledge necessary to get promoted or write recipes. Teaching is also an option. By attaining a Ph.D. in food science or a related area, the former pastry chef may be professor. Aspiring pastry chefs may also be giving the opportunity to present their own recipes for examination by their managers. This can lead to employment as head pastry chef if accomplished.