Do you enjoy watching your mom bake birthday cakes or pies for new neighbors? Do you enjoy the Food Network channel or watching shows like Martha Stewart’s and The Iron Chef? Did you ever dream of becoming a popular in-demand pastry chef in the world?
Being a pastry chef is one of those professions that relies heavily on talent, skill and creativity for advancement. Their work focuses on creating cakes, pastries and baked items. Their main task is to take care of the final installment of the meal, which is the dessert.
A lot of people want to work as a pastry chef but not everyone is qualified for the job. It takes serious skill to reach the level of certified pastry chefs. The task of creating delectable dessert items that are both appetizing and delicious is difficult and challenging.
How to Become a Pastry Chef
Becoming a pastry chef is a long process. The American Culinary Federation (ACF) is responsible for accreditation and administering tests for all culinary levels.1 If you love baking and have been doing so for years at home, this could be a big advantage. Experience is very important in becoming a pastry chef. Hearing feedback from friends and family can help you improve on your baking.
2 If you haven’t had any chance to learn on your own, there is the option of getting formal education. There are a lot of schools in the US that offer certificate level or associate degrees in Pastry Arts. In choosing a school, make sure that it is registered and accredited by the ACF. Keep in mind that pastry courses tend to cost a lot since you will need to have your own baking tools plus a lot of ingredients and recipe books.
- In getting formal training, you get to learn important topics like sanitation and kitchen safety, nutrition, culinary mathematics, and the art and science of baking.
- You will also get the chance to experience creating a variety of breads, pies, tarts, cookies, cakes, soufflés, mousses and custard. Pastry courses also teach their students chocolate and sugar works, which is one of the most fun parts of the entire course.
Your love for baking doesn’t have to end when you fail how to “cut and fold” in class or some other common procedure. Baking is a step-by-step learning process. You can’t expect to learn everything right away.
3 Seek internship in a pastry shop, restaurant or hotel within your area. It is important that you get to do the job hands-on. Books and lectures are important but not as much as gaining meaningful experiences with master pastry chefs. Most culinary schools offer internships to their students as the final requirement of the course. These schools often have partnerships with pastry shops, hotels, restaurants.
4 Most entry-level employees or interns work as kitchen helpers or as pastry assistants. They could be assigned to do cleaning tasks, storage or prepare the equipment that will be used by the pastry chef. You can take advantage of this situation by studying and taking note of the techniques or special methods they use in baking.
5 After at least 2 years of experience, you can apply for certification through ACF. You would have to pass both written and practical exams to qualify. If successful, you are awarded the designation of “Certified Pastry Culinarian” or CPC. There are 3 more levels to accomplish before you are awarded the highest designation of “Certified Master Pastry Chef”.
If you love pastries and baking you have a lot of options to consider and studying is just one of them. You also have the chance to teach in culinary schools, or you can start your own pastry business. It all depends on you.
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