WHAT DO PASTRY CHEFS DO?
If you enjoy making fancy cakes, breads and other treats, your income may rise like bread dough as a pastry chef. Pastry chefs are in charge of the baking aspect of kitchens and restaurants, delivering cakes, breads, and any bread based components to meals. Pastry chefs work with a team of bakers and cooks to prepare, bake and decorate their food, and must keep their team organized, stocked and motivated. Pastry chefs work with a restaurant's head chef to pair breads and desserts, order supplies, and hire staff. Pastry chefs also create recipes or follow existing ones, using a creative flair to their craft, but all the time maintaining records, ordering food, and enforcing food safety standards.
HOW MUCH DO PASTRY CHEFS MAKE?
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the median income for chefs in 2010 was $19.53 per hour, or $40,630 annually.
WHAT ARE THE EDUCATION REQUIREMENTS?
Experience is key. Most pastry chefs start in other positions in the kitchen, from dishwasher, cook, etc., and learn the skills they need on the job to move up. Some might learn from bakers or other dessert makers and move into fine dining. Pastry chefs can also gain experience through training at a community college or trade school, with 2- and 4-year degrees are available. Pastry chefs looking for more advanced training can get involved in apprenticeships through culinary schools and other organizations. These typically last 2 years.
JOB SKILLS AND REQUIREMENTS
- Creativity: Pastry chefs are often in charge of creating new and innovative breads and desserts that will bring in customers. Knowledge of ingredients and how to use them in a creative way will serve you well.
- Leadership Skills: Pastry chefs are in charge of the pastry staff of a kitchen. Being a good leader, who can assign tasks, hire the right people, motivate workers in a high stress environment will help immensely.
- Hand-Eye Coordination: Pastry chefs work with knives, icing bags and other precision tools and must have excellent technique when cutting and preparing food. Hand-eye coordination is needed.
- Sense of Taste and Smell: Delicious food brings in customers. Pastry chefs are the last line of defense to make sure each piece of food is safe, prepared correctly and tasty.
- Time Management Skills: Kitchens get busy quickly, food can get ruined easily if you cannot manage your time. Great time management will help you avoid burned or spoiled food and angry customers.
- Business Acumen: Pastry chefs must understand the restaurant business. This means balancing expenses with profits, managing staff, minimizing waste, and more.