home | contact us | disclaimer  

Pastry Chef Careers: Baking School, Pastry School and Pastry Chef Training

Many culinary schools offer pastry chef training as an individual unit of study, offering students a chance to learn specific skills and techniques for a rewarding pastry chef career. Graduates of a pastry chef school can find work in pastry kitchens at a variety of exciting establishments including hotels, resort, restaurants, clubs, or even running their own catering business. Pastry chef careers are not centered around baking and cake decorating; a successful pastry chef career may include creative menu planning, finishing desserts, and consulting with clients to create specialty desserts for upcoming events. From baking simple loaf breads to mastering the technique of a perfect souffle, formal pastry chef training at a baking school can lead to a very rewarding and satisfying career.

What Type of Pastry Chef Training is Available at a Baking School?

Many baking schools and culinary arts institutes offers a separate pastry chef training or pastry chef school program, allowing students to focus primarily on the art of pastry making and baking instead of pursuing a comprehensive cooking or culinary arts degree. These types of pastry chef training programs offer intensive hands-on training, workshops, and even group projects where students learn how to master the art of baking in a contemporary kitchen setting. Pastry school courses center around menu planning, plating dessert, dessert preparation technique, and cake decorating. Students are also taught how to create a baking schedule for commercial kitchens, and take classes on operating their own catering company or business.

Skills Required for a Successful Pastry Chef Career

Successful pastry chef careers begin with formal training at a baking school, pastry school, or culinary arts institute that require students to have a few essential skills. Students must be:

  • Detail-oriented and organized
  • Patient, and be able to work confidently under pressure
  • Able to adapt quickly to a fast-paced kitchen environment
  • Open to learning different pastry techniques, cooking styles, and methods
  • Able to work both independently, and in a group setting
  • Creative but also able to perform routine tasks
  • Physically fit and have strong stamina since jobs can be physically demanding
  • Able to communicate with suppliers, vendors, and prospective clients with ease

What Types of Courses are Offered at Pastry Chef Schools?

Baking schools offer a variety of programs for students interested in pursuing a pastry chef career, and many culinary arts institutes also offer degree programs that can serve as a basis for pastry chef training. The most common programs available at a pastry school may include:

  • Associates Degree in Applied Science Culinary Arts
  • Bachelor of Arts Degree in Culinary Arts
  • Baking and Pastry Certificate

The most common courses and classes available at pastry chef schools include:

  • Candy making and chocolate sculpture
  • Dough methods and pastry fillings
  • Baking quick breads, cakes, and cookies
  • International recipes for tartlets, pies, icings, and specialty cakes
  • Cake decorating and sculptured icing
  • Plating dessert and food presentation
  • Culinary theory and technique
  • Display cakes and centerpieces
  • Human resource management
  • Nutrition and food science
  • Biology and physiology (for appropriate menu planning and dietary concerns)
  • Food sanitation
  • Catering basics

Independent pastry schools may also offer specialized programs such as French Pastry Chef Training or European Technique. These are often very different from general education classes, and allow students a chance to learn comprehensive styles, skills, and applications. Specialized courses here may include puff pastries, petits fours, tarts and fillings, and how to make perfect pâte à choux (cream puffs).

What Can A Pastry Chef Career Program Offer?

A pastry chef career program offers students a chance to learn the fundamentals of operating a pastry kitchen, along with hands-on training and skill development. Culinary ability and creativity are important for essential for a successful pastry chef career, and a high attention to detail ensures that each prospective pastry chef can develop unique designs and baked goods. A formal pastry chef school can help students learn how to:

  • Oversee and manage a kitchen
  • Produce large quantities of baked goods
  • Understand how to manipulate recipes
  • Decorate and plate different types and styles of desserts
  • Order supplies for a pastry kitchen
  • Keep the pastry kitchen organized and running efficiently
  • Learn how to implement a variety of pastry making and decorating techniques

A baking school can help launch a successful pastry chef career, and most offer classes in a simulation kitchen where students can learn how to work efficiently and productively in a real-world environment. Instruction from world-class pastry professionals and teachers also helps students grow and develop their talents, cooking style, and baking techniques in the field.

What Does Pastry Chef Training at a Baking School Involve?

Pastry chef training at a baking school, or through a culinary arts program, requires students to take part in hands-on training on a daily basis. Classes are held throughout each day in practice kitchens and in formal classroom settings, allowing students the opportunity to gain as much direct experience as possible throughout the semester. Pastry chef training may also include events and competitions to help students learn how to work under pressure, and gain experience working in a team-based environment.

Baking schools also allow students a chance to sample a variety of international pastries, baked goods, and foods. This helps them develop a discerning palate for their own menu development, and become adept at distinguishing different pastry styles and recipes. Pastry chef training can lead to a rewarding pastry chef career in restaurants and the hospitality industry, but many graduates pursue independent pastry chef careers to open their own catering business or offer services as a professional pastry maker.

Pastry School Accreditation and Certification

The Accrediting Commission of Career Schools and Colleges of Technology (ACCST) is the accrediting party for most baking schools and pastry chef training programs. The American Culinary Foundation (ACF) and the Cordon Bleu institutions are also national recognized accrediting agencies.

Pastry Chef Careers: Earning Potential and Employment Prospects

The demand for skilled professionals with a culinary arts degree or culinary training background is on the rise with the increasing number of hotels, restaurants, resorts, and cafes. The hospitality and leisure industry is especially attractive for those interested in pastry chef careers, and offers many options in for cake designers, bakery owners, pastry teachers, or catering managers. Baking schools offer ample opportunities for a variety of pastry chef careers, and students who complete pastry chef training at an accredited organization have stronger chances of success in the field.

Average annual salaries for a pastry chef vary depending on skills, knowledge, educational background, and experience. Skilled pastry chefs earned between $37,176 and $60,262 in 2004, and this varies significantly depending on the establishment and type of position.


Back to Pastry Chef Careers: Baking School, Pastry School and Pastry Chef Training