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What is the role of a pastry chef?
The pastry chef, or patissier in French, works in a bakery, cafe, restaurant or hotel and is responsible for the dessert department in a kitchen.
The pastry chef has to make sure everything works out in that area. You plan the dessert menu, test, develop and taste recipes. You will need to be very creative and have a keen eye for detail to constantly develop new pastries and menus. To prepare baked goods might be part of your job as well. You will work closely with the head chef in order to make sure the menus work well together.
You are in charge of the supervision and training of assistant pastry chefs. Paperwork is also part of the job as you need to handle budgets and the ordering of supplies and equipment.
What experience do you need on your CV to get this role?
A culinary certificate, diploma or degree is very beneficial. There are several options including Culinary Arts Certificates and Diplomas which can be achieved within a year, but they are not as reputable as degrees. An Associate's Degree or a Bachelor's and Master's degree in Culinary Arts is an advantage. For a management role you will need at least a Bachelor's degree in Culinary Management. Once you get a job in a kitchen you will start as an assistant pastry chef under the guidance of an experienced pastry chef. From there on you will be able to achieve higher positions, if you are disciplined, hard working and creative.
What can this job lead onto?
There is only one higher position than the pastry chef which is the executive pastry chef. You will work in a big company and closely together with the executive head chef. This job will mean a lot of organising, planning and office work.
About £20,000 - £35,000; depending on where you work, your experience and skills.
Kimberley Lin-McCartney is the head pastry chef at the Corinthea Hotel in London. She said: "The day is very busy. We start making the fruit bowls for the rooms and then we start with afternoon tea. I do what I need to do for the mise en place, I might work on a special project, and then I spend a certain amount of time in the office when I can, doing paperwork and working on new recipes. In addition to that I have to take care of other head of department projects.
"What I like most about the job is the freedom of creativity. There are so many things to do, it's not just five plated desserts like in a restaurant; it's a lot of different things. There is a broader scope of techniques and things to do. In a restaurant you are not necessarily going to make a chocolate or a sugar sculpture. We don't do it every day here, but there is some call for it occasionally. We have three restaurants that we serve desserts to, so that means three separate menus, afternoon tea and banqueting. The afternoon tea menu changes about eight times a year and our Ã la carte menu changes seasonally, so there is just a lot of different things to do."
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Perhaps your looking to further your career in a larger hotel or you are looking to focus on plated desserts, where the attention to detail is perhaps greater in a Michelin starred restaurant?