Entertainment Magazine: Dining: Education: Culinary

Culinary Career Profile: Pastry Chef

Imagine a profession where you were constantly surrounded by tantalizing, mouthwatering aromas, adoring clients, and delectable sweets all day long.

Although this may seem like a job out of a fairy book, those who complete culinary school in order to become a pastry chef know that the above description is actually grounded in reality.

Whether you work in a restaurant, pastry shop, bakery, or hotel, you spend your time creating delectable desserts, breads, and other baked goods for anyone who enjoys high carbs, sweets, or eye-catching culinary delights.

However, transitioning into this profession requires more than just a cookbook of great recipes.

That's because baking is as much an art as it is a science.  A traditional chef can add extra pepper, salt, paprika, or sugar to enhance the flavor of his or her dishes. 

A pastry chef, on the other hand, must measure out the exact proportions well ahead of time, because once a dessert, loaf of bread, or pie comes out of the oven, there is little you can do to alter the taste.

Going to Culinary School to Become a Pastry Chef

To work in a bakery or pastry shop, you can often get by with relatively little formal training for a conventional culinary school.

A basic understanding of baking principles plus on-the-job training will often suffice.  But if you want to advance your career and work in more professional kitchen environments in restaurants, hotels, spas, and other locales, securing an associates degree or higher is often recommended.

In fact, many restaurants actually require a bachelors degree in the pastry arts before they’ll let you work professionally in their kitchens.  You'll learn about ingredient selection, baking principles, desserts, breads, and everything in between.

If you have an opportunity, take advantage of any vegan courses.  There are many people out there who love desserts but who don't or can't eat dairy products.

After graduation, you can make $15 an hour (as a wage earner) or over $50,000 a year if you secure a salaried position.

Web Links:
US Department of Labor
Star Chefs


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