The Hard Life of the Pastry Chef

Okay, first off, the title was meant to be sarcastic. While I do believe the life a pastry chef, like any chef’s job, will be time consuming and involve a lot of hard work, you still get to make pastries. Pastries! And who doesn’t love pastries? The pastry chef is one of many specialties that a prospective and ambitious chef might consider down the line, so it’s good to know just a little bit about the life of a pastry chef.

-First off, a pastry chef is actually different from a baker. Yes, they both bake stuff (delicious stuff), but the “chef” title is important. That means they run a kitchen or at least an area of a kitchen. A pastry chef may even have bakers working underneath him or her, so having that title matters.

-Despite the sarcasm mentioned earlier, a pastry chef’s job really is quite difficult. Unlike other areas of cooking, the slightest misread of a part of a recipe can completely change the way something tastes, so meticulous detail is incredibly vital. The pastry chef also must be more creative than other chefs. Think about how many times you’ve gone into a restaurant for dinner and chose to skip dessert. The pastry chef must make you want to try that chocolate cake so you know why it’s better than all others, and that takes extra thought.

-There are tons of places where a pastry chef can find work. While the obvious like restaurants, hotels, and pastry shops stick out, another great place to look would be in a commissary kitchen since many major restaurants order out for their desserts instead of hiring a pastry chef of their own. This could lead to making desserts for a variety of clients, giving you the ability to learn more skills and try a few new things.

-Remember that a pastry chef is a specialty, and specialties often require extra education and training. Buying one of those cake mixes from the grocery store does not make one a pastry chef. You have to know how all of the ingredients come together just right, so the extra skills you’ll learn in training are necessary.

Those are the basics that you should know if you want to be a pastry chef. Of course, once you are, make sure you bring samples down for all of us to taste. Like, lots of samples. Not tons of them, but if we can fill up one of the trucks with samples, that might be good.

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