A pastry chef, or patissier, is the Willy Wonka of professional kitchens — he/she creates delicious cakes, pastries, pies, cookies, breads etc.
What do they do?
In a hotel or restaurant kitchen, pastry chefs occupy the pastry sub-station and are responsible for creating products that are as pleasing aesthetically as they are to taste. Though the job requires long hours on the feet, a pastry chef gets to employ his creativity to the fullest and come up with tantalising creations, making it a satisfying profession. You have to be creative and think out of the box.
If you have a good palate, an eye for detail and are willing to work for hours at a stretch, then a career as a pastry chef is right for you
- Creativity — It’s a field for those with an artistic bent of mind
- Attention to detail
- Customer service: some pastry chefs may supply other businesses with baked goods, while others may serve their confections at their own neighbourhood shops. No matter who their customers are, pastry chefs need people skills in order to establish thriving businesses
- Ability to handle long hours with patience: It’s a satisfying but physically demanding profession requiring long hours on the feet. For most, the day begins pre-dawn. Cooking and baking can be a long-drawn process so one has to remain patient and cheerful at the end of it all.
- Punctuality: At a hotel/restaurant, chefs have to plate and deliver a pre-prepared product to the table within a few minutes of an order coming in. If you prepare goods on order, you have to ensure the cake reaches the customer fresh, cooled down, and at the allotted hour
How do I get there?
As it is a specialised field, a degree/certificate course in baking after Class 12 is ideal. However, many chefs believe hands-on training works just as well. You can get on-the-job experience while doing an apprenticeship programme or learn the ropes after doing a degree in hotel management. The latter gives you a holistic view of all departments in a kitchen and is required if you wish to be promoted to the position of executive chef.