What Does a Pastry Chef Do?

A pastry chef creates breads, pastries, and desserts for bakeries, restaurants, and French-style pastry shops known as pātisseries. Read on to learn more about what pastry chefs do and the skills you'll need to become one. Schools offering Baking & Pastry degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

Job Responsibilities of a Pastry Chef

Pastry chefs prepare baked goods that range from cakes and pies to breads and donuts in bakeries, restaurants, or pâtisseries. A pastry chef typically works early morning hours to produce baked goods before a business opens. Job requirements for pastry chefs are numerous, and they include the following:

  • Measuring and mixing ingredients
  • Assembling and mixing pastry components
  • Baking pastries
  • Decorating and plating desserts
  • Organizing the kitchen
  • Overseeing and working with other kitchen employees

Important Facts About This Occupation

Median Wage (2018)$26,520 (for all bakers)
Job Outlook (2016-2026)8% (for all bakers)
Work EnvironmentCommercial bakeries, grocery stores, specialty food stores, or restaurants
On-the-job TrainingLong-term on-the-job training

Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

Skills and Abilities

Pastry chefs must be able to bake pastries and desserts that satisfy customers. To do so, they need to understand the scientific principles of baking. They must understand how certain foods should be combined and how ingredients work together. Pastry chefs also must use their creativity and design skills to make pastries that are visually appealing to customers. Pastry chefs have many other skills, including the following:

  • Knowledge of food safety and nutrition
  • Food preparation techniques
  • Patience for desserts that require extensive preparation
  • Customer service skills
  • Business savvy
  • Attention to detail

Training and Education

Many community colleges and private culinary schools in the U.S. offer degree and certificate programs for aspiring pastry chefs. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS, www.bls.gov) also reports that the American Culinary Federation certifies pastry professionals. Although a certificate is not a requirement for becoming a pastry chef, the BLS reports that certification can prove accomplishment and lead to higher-paying jobs and career advancement.

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  • Penn Foster High School

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  • Milwaukee Area Technical College

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