How to become a pastry chef

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How to become a pastry chef
Become a Pastry Chef (Jupiterimages/Goodshoot/Getty Images)

If the thought of sweet airy beignets sends delicious shivers down your spine or your friends all call when it's time to furnish a dessert for the office party, consider becoming a pastry chef. A career in high demand due to its specialty nature, pastry chefs are the envy of the cooking world.

Skill level:

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  1. 1

    Research the job description of a pastry chef. Determine what the title entails before making a commitment to enter the profession. Pastry chefs oversee a kitchen staff in baking, decorating, ordering supplies and general organisation. Read the book, "The Professional Pastry Chef: Fundamentals of Baking and Pastry, 4th Edition," by Bo Friberg.

  2. 2

    Decide on a culinary school. European schools are popular but can be cost prohibitive. Review "Shaw's Guide to Cooking Schools," published every year for the latest news on pastry schools (see Resources below).

  3. 3

    Consider taking part-time cooking classes in a local university or community college if you can not attend a culinary school. You can study the basics and practice your skills at home, as you become more experienced.

  4. 4

    Contact high quality restaurants about apprentice programs. While established pastry chefs usually hire only degreed or experienced chefs in their kitchens, some will take on a motivated apprentice who is willing to study with only small monetary compensation. Arrange to speak to the head pastry chef about your aspirations. It will usually be his or her sole decision to allow an apprenticeship.

  5. 5

    Sign up for specialised classes in your area if you want to pursue a home-based pastry chef career. Cake decorating and candy making are two areas in which home pastry chefs excel. Look for classes by contacting hobby stores and wedding coordinators. Wilton has a website to find a class near you (see Resources below).

  6. 6

    Become familiar with the industry by visiting your local library and reading the cooking periodicals. Look through the advertisements at the back to get an idea of the current demand for pastry chefs.

Tips and warnings

  • If you decide to sell baked goods out of your home, check first with your state health board for any regulations that might apply to your home-based business.

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