What Are the Duties of an Assistant Pastry Chef?

Assistant pastry chefs support head pastry chefs in the daily tasks of a pastry kitchen or bakery. Keep reading to learn more about job responsibilities and education requirements in this field. Schools offering Baking & Pastry degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

Career Overview

The assistant pastry chef works under the direct supervision of a head or executive pastry chef. As an assistant pastry chef, you assist in the day-to-day operations of a bakery or pastry kitchen. You collaborate with the head baker on daily tasks and schedules and oversee other pastry chefs or kitchen staff in the absence of the head pastry chef. In addition to making pastries and breads, other duties include assessing inventory and supplies, maintaining safe and sanitary working conditions, helping develop recipes and menus, and/or suggesting alternative baking methods.

Important Facts About Assistant Pastry Chefs

Median Salary (2019) $37,493*
Job Outlook (2016-2026) 8% growth (for all bakers)**
Professional Certification Not required; Certified Working Pastry Chef designation available through the American Culinary Federation for experienced chefs
Key Skills Organization, time management, observation, attention to detail, creativity, critical thinking, customer focused
Similar Occupations Pastry chefs, executive chef assistants, sous chefs

Sources: *PayScale.com, **U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

Daily Tasks

Depending upon the venue where you work, which could be a hotel or spa, a restaurant, or a bakery, you day-to-day tasks will differ. Some of the day-in-the-life job requirements for an assistant pastry chef might be the preparation and assembly of:

  • Special occasion cakes
  • Chocolate tiers
  • Fondant coverings and details
  • Shaped dough
  • Molded sugar
  • Fillings, toppings, frostings, icings, and butter creams

Training and Education

Although no formal training is required to become a pastry chef, it's becoming more and more common for aspiring chefs to complete a school program. An associate's degree program in baking and pastry arts is typical, and some employers may prefer to hire assistant pastry chefs with this degree. Assistant pastry chefs commonly need a minimum of 3-5 years of kitchen or bakery experience, but this can vary. Real-world work experience is typically gained through entry-level pastry chef positions in restaurants, hotels, bakeries, or similar food service organizations.

Associate's Degree Programs

An associate's degree in pastry arts takes two years to complete. During that time you are introduced to ingredients, bakery equipment, and food safety. As you progress, you learn baking techniques for breads, rolls, cakes, cookies, confections, and other pastries. Menu development, purchasing and cost control, and basic management topics are explored. These also require completion of an externship program. When you graduate, you'll be prepared for an entry-level position as a pastry chef.

Bachelor's Degree Programs

Four-year degree programs in baking and pastry arts include a management component. The first two years cover baking techniques, much like the associate's degree. In the final two years of the program, business and management topics are explored at a more advanced level. A bachelor's degree program also introduces you to human resources, operations, marketing, accounting, finance, and law as they relate to the hospitality industry. These programs might also include foreign language classes and other coursework relevant to the industry, such as history and culture, and wine and food.

To continue researching, browse degree options below for course curriculum, prerequisites and financial aid information. Or, learn more about the subject by reading the related articles below:

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