The historical records on the pastry chef career show that Egyptians started baking breads as early as 2600-2100 BC (Friberg & Amy 5). It is believed that the Egyptians acquired the skills of baking from the Babylonians. The skills were later spread to the Roman Empire where baking flourished well. The skill of baking later spread to various parts of Europe and then to the rest of the world. In the United States, pastry chef is an important career that dates many years ago. The pastry chef career is very relevant in the United States due to the presence of many opportunities that are offered by many hotels in the country. This career is taught in various institutions in different states. It is applied in various hotels, restaurants and other facilities where people go for recreation. “According to PayScale.com, the median annual wage for pastry chefs was $39,264 in September 2014. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics does not have separate data on pastry chef; it incorporates cake gourmet specialists with different sorts of culinary experts and head cooks when it gathers work data. The BLS reports that the field is exceptionally focused, with contracting preferences held by those with more experience. The BLS additionally distributed that the yearly average pay for all culinary experts and head cooks was $42,490 in May 2013 (The Culinary Institute of America).” Famous pastry chefs in the U.S. in 2013 include Andy Chlebana, Headley Christophe Feyt Clarisa Martino, Bill Corbett Brooks, and Jimmy MacMillan.
In order to become a pastry chef, an associate’s degree in pastry arts is commended for individuals who at present is a holder of an undergraduate degree in another discipline and would want to adjust in terms of careers. Nevertheless, a bachelor’s degree is the commended entry-level degree for any hopeful pastry chefs who do not have any college credits (Friberg & Amy 14). In addition, a bachelor’s degree program as well opens up kitchen managerial positions with restaurants, bakeries as well as hotels; all these degree programs are provided in culinary schools. Some community colleges also offer associate’s degrees in this field.
Pastry chefs in general work within the baking department in restaurants, hotels, and pastry shop. They may as well work off-site for catering responsibilities or they might have the task of delivering goods like wedding cakes. The duties of pastry chefs include menu and research development for plated pastries, petits fours, breads, cakes, and a wide assortment of other desserts (The Culinary Institute of America). The hours vary, even though pastry chefs typically begin their shifts early in the morning and can work for up to seven days in a week. Pastry chefs work together with other staff members in baking, assembling, and decorating various items ((Friberg & Amy 55). They might likewise work with the official chef and the general chief to create and pair menu things, for example, treat wines, mixed drinks or refreshments and cheddar platters to go hand in hand with the current restaurant menu.
Among the common roles that a pastry chef should perform in the kitchen are as follows; first, the pastry chef should prepare the dessert in align with the items that appear in the menu (The Culinary Institute of America). The pastry chef is however, supposed to make consultations with the executive chef. Preparation of the dessert items by the pastry chef is often done in advance before the seating for the meal starts. Secondly, the pastry chef is responsible for making orders and supplies for the items in the desert menu. This role is important as these items are crucial in the running process of the kitchen. Thirdly, pastry chefs are responsible for training the other chefs who work in the pastry kitchen. He or she supervises the workers in the pastry kitchen as they assist in the process of dessert item preparation. He also equips the other chefs with techniques required for smooth running of the pastry kitchen. Lastly, the pastry chef is responsible for conducting various research and development of recipes. The chef must be committed to learn more recipes and make trials for them in the kitchen in order to make the goods more attractive to the customers as a way of attracting more customers as well as maintaining already existing customers.
A pastry chef may either work in the kitchen, bakery or in a restaurant. He or she may be a part of other kitchen staff if he or she is working in restaurants or in the big kitchens or may work alone in areas such as bakery (The Culinary Institute of America). While traditionally viewed, the pastry chef works as the station chef if he or she is a part of the brigade de cuisine. In most cases, there is always an executive supervisor under who the pastry chefs work. This is however, dependent on the size of the kitchen. There are some situations that forces the restaurants to hire executive pastry chefs who is involved in various responsibilities such as supervision of the other pastry chefs in the kitchen and giving orders, advises and directions while performing their daily routines. There are instances whereby the pastry chef may choose to open his or her bakery or cafe in order to specialize in the product of his or her interest. These include products such as candy and designer cakes. It is the primary responsibility of the pastry chef to create deserts and baked cakes for the restaurants, bakeries and hotels. However, other activities in the kitchen can be assigned to the pastry chef.
A career as a pastry chef is interesting as it is challenging and calls for creativity in order to make a successful career. It entails challenging tasks such as creating superb breads, desserts, as well as pastries. Nevertheless, as a good pastry chef, the products produced ought to be beautiful, that is, have an artistic presentation particularly the desserts, and make people to long to taste the meals. A pastry chef career is a profession like any other.
The job of a pastry chef is accompanied by many rewards which are both tangible and intangible. Most people who relishes themselves early and have most of their works completed by lunchtime enjoys the work of pastry chefs. For one to be a pastry chef, he or she must have commitment and should also work hard. The major requirements for the job include; attentiveness, physical fitness and passion for the work. There are a wide range of settings in which a pastry chef could be employed in. However, the most common places are bakeries, restaurants, hotels and casinos.
The following are some of the questions in an interview with Jacquy Pfeiffer, who has vast experience in his career as a pastry chef (Cooking Schools).
Question: When and how did you decide to become a pastry chef?
Response: My father owned a bakery in Alsace, France, and I started my apprenticeship in a pastry shop in Strasbourg, France, at the age of 15 in 1976.
Question: Who were the biggest inspirations for your career?
Response: Yves Thuries, Gaston Lenotre, Pascal Caffet, Olivier Bajard, Pascal Brunstein.
Question: What was your greatest career success and biggest setback?
Response: Opening my pastry school in Chicago; so far, I have not had any major setbacks.
Question: What exactly do pastry chefs do?
Response: They bring happiness to people. When people enter a pastry shop they should be fascinated by the pastries offered and should make them think back to their childhood.
Question: How much are pastry chefs generally paid? Are they generally paid by the hour or by salary?
Answer: Pastry cooks are paid by the hour, anywhere from $6.50 to $20.00 an hour. Pastry chefs are paid by salary, anywhere from $27,000 to $200,000 a year.
Question: What are some of the skills that help all pastry chefs succeed?
Answer: Never get emotional; always stay humble always learn.