Pastry chefs generally work in the baking department in a food service operation such as a restaurant, hotel, catering company or pastry shop. They may also work off-site for catering functions or they may have the responsibility of delivering of goods such as wedding cakes.
Pastry chefs' duties include, but are not limited to, menu and research development for hot and cold plated pastries, cakes, petits fours, breads and a wide variety of other desserts. Hours vary, but pastry chefs typically start their shifts very early in the morning and may work up to seven days a week.
Pastry chefs will work in conjunction with other staff members to bake, assemble, and decorate various items. They may also work with the executive chef and the general manager to produce and pair menu items such as dessert wines, cocktails or beverages and cheese platters to accompany the existing restaurant menu.
The ideal pastry chef qualifications include being a CEPC (Certified Executive Pastry Chef), having Serv Safe Certification, and/or a bachelor's degree in a pastry arts program. Prior experience may substitute for the above ideal qualifications.
Most of the time, 3-5 years of experience, and strong communication and organization skills are essential for pastry chefs. The ability to create standardized formulas for recipes is also necessary. For some pastry chef positions, prior management experience in running a pastry department is sometimes preferred, particularly if one is applying for a head or lead pastry chef position. Pastry chefs will sometimes develop and train staff to ensure that their operations run smoothly. Knowing how to create a production schedule and having knowledge in labor staffing and food costs are often essential as well.
Pastry Chef Tasks
- Determine preparation and cooking production schedule for pastries and baked goods
- Decide dessert menu, including dessert wines, specialty beverages, and cheese platters.
- Bake, assemble and decorate pastries.
- Research, develop and test new recipes.