What does a pastry chef do? Pastry chefs are considered bakers, but not all bakers have the technical or creative skills that go into creating pastries. You will be relying on your knowledge of how baking works, combined with your innovative and creative mind to make dazzling, mouth-watering, delectable desserts:
- You’ll research, create, modify, test, develop, and evaluate recipes.
- You’ll stay on budget (this may take some basic math skills).
- You may have to be the ingredient purchaser.
- As you gain more experience, you’ll supervise newer pastry chefs.
- You’ll do menu planning, creating desserts that compliment the menu.
- You’re in charge of keeping the kitchen clean and organized.
- You will need to be able to measure and weigh ingredients.
What does it take to become a pastry chef?
Pastry chefs very often train as bakers and then establish their skills through more of a hands-on training process. Whichever culinary program you decide to go through, make sure it’s accredited by the American Culinary Federation Foundation Accrediting Commission. There are other accrediting bodies, but the ACFFAC is the largest. To become a pastry chef, you’ll:
- Have a high school diploma or GED.
- Earn a formal education and get a certificate, diploma, or degree in culinary arts.
- Some hiring managers prefer an associate’s or bachelor’s degree, so keep that in mind.
- Go through an apprenticeship through your school program, or
- Do an apprenticeship in lieu of a more formal education.
- Consider certification. It’s a voluntary process that is highly recommended.
What does a pastry chef earn?
Your salary is going to really depend on factors such as your level of experience and place of employment. Very roughly, pastry chefs make between $40K-$94K. On the lower end of the pay spectrum is the assistant pastry chef, and at the top of the scale is the executive pastry chef. Your hours may be somewhat abnormal, such as late nights or early morning starts. You may frequently work more than 40 hours per week.
Is there room for more pastry chefs?
The Bureau of Labor Statistics lumps all chefs into one heading, so if you were to include pastry chefs in with chefs and head cooks, then the employment growth is expected to be about average. More than 14,000 jobs will be opening through 2026, many because of retirements. It’s a competitive career, especially if you want to work in the higher-end restaurants, hotels, and casinos. If you have some experience, and you’re creative, then you will have that edge over others applying for the same job.
Read more about becoming a pastry chef.