What is a Pastry Chef?

Do you imagine yourself pursuing a career in the culinary arts, but aren’t sure which job is the best fit for you? Or are you interested in creating dessert dishes, ice cream, chocolates and cakes for patrons to enjoy, but aren’t sure where to start? One of the most overlooked professions in the culinary field is the position of pastry chef or patisserie. Today, this niche is gaining increased attention because of television series produced by the Food Network and TLC – and is also increasing in competition. But if you are looking for a career in the culinary arts that is fast paced, constantly changing, requires continuous training and education, offers a physical and mental challenge, and requires creativity the pastry arts could be the best choice for you. But what is a pastry chef, and what are their responsibilities and duties in the kitchen?

Definition of a Pastry Chef

Also known as a patisserie, this individual does not make hot or cold dishes, but rather specializes in dessert creation – which can include baking pastries, cake decorating and chocolate making.pastry chef Also, these individuals are knowledgeable in the creation of finishing sauces and glazes used in the final presentation of a dessert tray or dish. In some cases, this individual may bake breads – but keep in mind there is a difference when it comes to the job duties and responsibilities of a baker vs. pastry chef.

Job Roles in the Professional Kitchen

If you choose to pursue a career path in this industry, keep in mind this term describes a variety of job duties and roles. Graduates of pastry chef schools or individuals who have received a certification can find employment in entry level roles, which may include the preparation of desserts and other food items in the kitchen (depending on the establishment.) Once these individuals have proven they have basic kitchen skills, they may move up in job role – becoming an assistant or apprentice pastry chef.

In some businesses, a Pastry Chef may be in charge of leading, training and educating these individuals. The highest role is held by the Executive Pastry Chef, who may lead the kitchen (if it is owned by them or a specialized business) or report to a Chef de Cuisine or Culinary Manager. Individuals who hold these lead positions are responsible for everything relating to kitchen operations – from menu planning, recipe creation, cost control, inventory management and hiring of new employees.

Education and Training

In the past, the required education and training for individuals who wanted to become a pastry chef was done on-the-job. Today’s kitchens and businesses require more formalized learning, (even for entry level employment) before most individuals are eligible for hire. It is highly recommended that individuals pursuing this career path attend one of the many accredited pastry chef schools and earn a certification, two or four year degree in Baking and Pastry, the Pastry Arts or the Culinary Arts with a focus in Pastry Creation.

If you are looking for an answer to the question, “What is a Pastry Chef?” this summary has only given a brief overview of the profession. Individuals who dream of pursing this career path not only have an interest in dessert creation and baking, but have a passion for food preparation and creative side. Eventually, your natural talent will shine through – and many opportunities can open from establishing your own patisserie, writing books or educating future pastry chefs by teaching in the classroom. So why not learn more today and discover more about pastry chef careers or contact a local college or university about a degree program today?

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