If thoughts of cakes and sugar plums dance through your head, then taking the steps to become a pastry chef may be your destiny. Baking is no longer designated to grandma and a handful of professionals. Cooking has become quite the attraction to many. Those who want to specialize in the art of baking had better have some idea of what lies down the flour dusted road.
Becoming a pastry chef does not require a four year college degree unless becoming a master chef is in your plans. Many trade schools and community colleges offer the opportunity to learn the craft and become accredited. Some even offer financial aid as needed. Many chefs start learning from a mentor before developing the desire to take their skill set to the next level.
Pastry chefs usually have to be morning people because professional pastry chefs usually start their days very early. Having a sense of creativity is a integral requirement. If the art of baking is not a natural talent, maybe taking an art class might help. Cake decorating if often the starting point for aspiring bakers as well. All chefs also know the importance of working with cool hands. Handling dough and intricate details is common in this profession.
Baking theory involves knowing the basics of cooking in general. Some of the standard classes may include:
- Baking basics
- Cake decorating
- Temperature control
- Pies and Tarts
- Cookies 101
- Frostings, fillings, and glazes
Knowing these basics will allow the baker to build on the foundation of baking and apply new technique and creativity to customize designs. Contests, friends and family can give feedback on skill advancement and progress. Presentation is one of the first laws of cooking and baking. For a career in this arena, recognizing this rule will add years to your tenure. The pastry chef will have to develop an eye for presentation to stand out from the wallpaper.
Originality is another quality that is incredibly important in this line of work. To be recognized, designs have to be unique and colorful. Most people do not think of nutrition when it comes to eating pastries. For the chef who uses substitutions to caloric standards while maintaining good taste will gain popularity. Displaying passion and a good attitude is the key to success in any career choice. Having these characteristics will be well served for the candidate who wants to become a pastry chef.
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