To become a Pastry Chef, you must be detail oriented, patient, creative, hard working, and well organized. You must also have good manual dexterity and good communication skills. Pastry Chefs may be required to work long hours, most of which will be spent standing, so they must be physically fit. Today’s Pastry Chefs need good computer skills.
Pastry Chefs work in well-lit, clean kitchens, in resorts, bakeries, restaurants, and hotels. Their work may, at times, be demanding and even stressful, but it is always extremely satisfying. Educated experienced Chefs, who can make their creations appeal to the palate as well as the eye, are in demand in almost all areas of the world.
In any large kitchen there are usually several chefs. In that case, Pastry Chefs will work under the leadership of the head chef. Pastry Chefs with sufficient education and experience may become head chef or even open their own pastry businesses.
For those who choose to have a career as a Pastry Chef, duties may vary slightly depending on their place of employment. You may start the day conferring with the head chef or other chefs, planning the days menu, researching recipes or making breads, pastries, or other desserts. You may design and decorate cakes, supervise junior staff, or experiment with new recipes. Although Pastry Chefs use some machine assistance, most of their work is done by hand. They must measure, sift, blend, stir, knead, and bake. They must test and evaluate their own creations. Often Pastry Chefs must adapt existing recipes to meet the wishes or dietary needs of their clients. The Pasty Chef must see that the kitchen and everything in it is kept immaculate.
If you decide you would enjoy a career as a Pastry Chef, you must first obtain a high school degree or GED. During high school you will of course take all the courses you can that are related in any way to baking and cooking. Your education should also include course in English, computers, and chemistry.
Get some part-time experience in baking, on a paid or volunteer basis. Read all you can on the subject and practice your skills at every opportunity. ‘Shadow’ an experienced Pastry Chef for a day or so and you will see firsthand what the career would involve.
When you have your high school diploma, attend a culinary school and get a certificate. This will take under a year and with it you will be qualified for an entry level position working as an apprentice Pastry Chef. An even better choice would be to get an associates’ degree in culinary arts or even a bachelors’ degree. An associates’ degree takes two years and a bachelors’ degree takes four. These training programs are available in junior and community colleges, and universities.
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