In Summary - Pastry Chef
Pastry Chef s typically work in the following Career Sectors:
Videos & Interviews
David Kehoe, Chef
David Kehoe is the Executive Head Chef in the Tower Hotel in Dublin. When he completed his Leaving Cert he went to study in Athlone IT on a 2 year fulltime professional cookery course. He also is qualified in HACCP (Food Safety Mgmt) up until management level. He was one of the chef presenters on "Corrigan Knows Food", which was on RTÉ1 television.
Videos on the Web
- Pastry Chef - from: Youtube Search
- Pastry Chef - from: Get a Life in Tourism
The Work - Pastry Chef
A pastry chef’s job is interesting, challenging, creative and complex. You create wonderful breads, pastries and desserts that must also be beautiful. Artistic presentation is more important for dessert than for any other part of the meal - people want something that is a feast for their eyes as well as their palates.
Pastry chefs are not limited to baking bread and making cakes. There are many career options open to you. You can work in a bakery, restaurant or patisserie. You can open your own business, become a food critic or writer, or even teach. You could even become Executive Pastry Chef at top class restaurant or hotel.
Pastry chefs need to be organised and detail-oriented. Making desserts often requires several components that must be assembled individually and then brought together to create the final product. Every ingredient has to be measured precisely and added in the correct way and in the correct order. Good pastry chefs are very organised.
Pastry chefs are hard working. Baking can start as early as 3 or 4 am. Pastry chefs work long hours and they spend many of those hours on their feet. It takes stamina and strength to do the work of a pastry chef.
Creativity is an important quality, more so than for any other type of cooking. For example, Executive Pastry Chef Roland Mesnier, US White House pastry chef for 25 years, never served the same dessert twice in all that time. Now, that’s creativity.
Patience is definitely a virtue for a pastry chef. Desserts can require extensive preparation and time.
To be a good pastry chef, you need an understanding of the scientific principles behind your craft. You’ll be using perishable and fragile foods and will need to understand the biology of food safety. There’s a chemical basis for the way certain foods are combined.
You need a good understanding of nutrition and of human physiology and to know the basics of design and how to create visually appealing desserts.
There are many skills you’ll acquire as you learn to be a pastry chef. How to measure correctly, how to mix and blend. Specific food preparation techniques. How to make food visually appealing.
People skills, management skills and business skills are all necessary skills for the pastry chef.
The main difference between a pastry chef and a baker is the word "chef" which literally means "boss." So while pastry chefs may bake, their title indicates that they have authority. A pastry chef is also a baker, but a baker isn't necessarily a pastry chef.
Most commonly reported Work Tasks
- Observe color of products being baked and adjust oven temperatures, humidity, or conveyor speeds accordingly.
- Set oven temperatures and place items into hot ovens for baking.
- Combine measured ingredients in bowls of mixing, blending, or cooking machinery.
- Measure or weigh flour or other ingredients to prepare batters, doughs, fillings, or icings, using scales or graduated containers.
- Roll, knead, cut, or shape dough to form sweet rolls, pie crusts, tarts, cookies, or other products.
- Place dough in pans, molds, or on sheets and bake in production ovens or on grills.
- Check the quality of raw materials to ensure that standards and specifications are met.
- Adapt the quantity of ingredients to match the amount of items to be baked.
- Apply glazes, icings, or other toppings to baked goods, using spatulas or brushes.
- Check equipment to ensure that it meets health and safety regulations and perform maintenance or cleaning, as necessary.
Most commonly reported Work Activities
- Getting Information Observing, receiving, and otherwise obtaining information from all relevant sources.
- Monitor Processes, Materials, or Surroundings Monitoring and reviewing information from materials, events, or the environment, to detect or assess problems.
- Inspecting Equipment, Structures, or Material Inspecting equipment, structures, or materials to identify the cause of errors or other problems or defects.
- Organizing, Planning, and Prioritizing Work Developing specific goals and plans to prioritize, organize, and accomplish your work.
- Identifying Objects, Actions, and Events Identifying information by categorizing, estimating, recognizing differences or similarities, and detecting changes in circumstances or events.
- Communicating with Supervisors, Peers, or Subordinates Providing information to supervisors, co-workers, and subordinates by telephone, in written form, e-mail, or in person.
- Making Decisions and Solving Problems Analyzing information and evaluating results to choose the best solution and solve problems.
- Establishing and Maintaining Interpersonal Relationships Developing constructive and cooperative working relationships with others, and maintaining them over time.
- Estimating the Quantifiable Characteristics of Products, Events, or Information Estimating sizes, distances, and quantities; or determining time, costs, resources, or materials needed to perform a work activity.
- Judging the Qualities of Things, Services, or People Assessing the value, importance, or quality of things or people.
Interests - Pastry Chef
This occupation is typically suited for people with the following Career Interests:
Not surprisingly, some aspect of the natural sciences will run through the Naturalist's interests - from ecological awareness to nutrition and health. People with an interest in horticulture, land usage and farming (including fish) are Naturalists.
Some Naturalists focus on animals rather than plants, and may enjoy working with, training, caring for, or simply herding them. Other Naturalists will prefer working with the end result of nature's produce - the food produced from plants and animals. Naturalists like solving problems with solutions that show some sensitivity to the environmental impact of what they do. They like to see practical results and prefer action to talking and discussing.
Realists are usually interested in 'things' - such as buildings, mechanics, equipment, tools, electronics etc. Their primary focus is dealing with these - as in building, fixing, operating or designing them. Involvement in these areas leads to high manual skills, or a fine aptitude for practical design - as found in the various forms of engineering.
Realists like to find practical solutions to problems using tools, technology and skilled work. Realists usually prefer to be active in their work environment, often do most of their work alone, and enjoy taking decisive action with a minimum amount of discussion and paperwork.
Creative people are drawn to careers and activities that enable them to take responsibility for the design, layout or sensory impact of something (visual, auditory etc). They may be atrracted to the traditional artistic pursuits such as painting, sculpture, singing, or music. Or they may show more interest in design activities, such as architecture, animation, or craft areas, such as pottery and ceramics.
Creative people use their personal understanding of people and the world they live in to guide their work. Creative people like to work in unstructured workplaces, enjoy taking risks and prefer a minimum of routine.
Entry Requirements - Pastry Chef
Much of the training for a baking career comes through experience. Getting a culinary education will help to give you the confidence and the skills to advance more quickly than you would otherwise in this field.
A degree in culinary arts, specialising in baking and pastry arts will prepare you for a career as either a baker or a pastry chef.
Private courses include the Professional Three Month Certificate Cookery Course run by Dublin Cookery School, Blackrock which is widely recognised as a credible and practical route to acquiring the expertise and skills needed to pursue a career in the food industry.
Last Updated: March, 2016
Pay & Salary - Pastry Chef
Salary Range (thousands per year)* 26k - 35k
Last Updated: July, 2015
* The lower figures typically reflect starting salaries. Higher salaries are awarded to those with greater experience and responsibility. Positions in Dublin sometimes command higher salaries.
Labour Market Updates - Pastry Chef
Employment growth was high for this occupation; while chefs are employed across a variety of sectors, issues in attracting chefs relate to the hospitality sector. Employment permits have been expanded to allow for certain chef occupations. There is also evidence of issues with retention for entry level chefs. There has been a substantial increase in supply in recent years (+80% compared to 2012) but this has not been sufficient to offset demand.
National Skills Bulletin 2018
Useful Contacts - Pastry Chef
Dublin Cookery School