What Is a Confectionery Chef?
Explore the career requirements for confectionary chefs. Get the facts about what education, training and certifications you might need to enter the field, as well as how much you might earn in this position, to determine if this is the right career for you.
What Is a Confectionary Chef?
A confectionary chef specializes in the preparation of baked goods, candies and desserts. They fulfill leadership roles in the kitchens of institutions that prepare and serve these items, including restaurants, bake shops and hotels. They may also work for caterers or even in private homes. In addition to creating and testing new recipes, these professionals are responsible for the oversight of the kitchens in which they work. They make sure that all ingredients are in stock, machines are working, safety procedures are followed and lower-level bakers and cooks are preparing high-quality confections.
The following chart gives an overview of this career.
|Education Required||Apprenticeship or associate's degree|
|Education Field of Study||Baking and pastry arts|
|Key Skills||Cooking, baking, creative recipe development, leadership, communication, time management|
|Job Growth (2018-2028)||11% for all chefs and head cooks (including pastry chefs)*|
|Median Salary (November 2019)||$44,335 for pastry chefs**|
Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, **PayScale.com.
What Will I Do as a Confectionery Chef?
When you work as a confectionery chef, your main priority is to bake confections and sweets. You might also go by the title of pastry chef or baker. You may find a position as a confectionery chef in a restaurant or hotel, or you might find work in a bakery, grocery store, cake shop or specialty dessert shop.
As a confectionery chef, your duties include following dessert recipes, mixing ingredients and baking sweets. You might create cookies, cakes, pies, pastries, doughnuts or any other manner of confections. You might also research ways to create new dessert recipes for a restaurant or bakery. If you work at a restaurant, you may be in charge of developing a dessert menu that complements the lunch or dinner menu. You would also play a leadership role in the kitchen, overseeing staff who prepare desserts and making sure that the operation runs smoothly.
What Educational and Training Programs Are Available?
If you decide to become a confectionery chef, you might jump right into the field as an apprentice or trainee at an established bakery or restaurant. The American Culinary Federation sponsors theses apprenticeships. Completing an apprenticeship program can provide you with the skills you will need to bake confections and find a position as a chef on your own.
You might also choose to complete a degree or certificate program at a community college, vocational school or culinary institute. For example, an associate's or bachelor's degree program in baking and pastry arts will provide you with a basic understanding of baking processes and kitchen safety. While enrolled in such a program, you will also learn the basics of nutrition, dessert creation, cake decorating, sanitation and kitchen management.
What Certifications Might I Earn?
The American Culinary Federation does offer voluntary certifications for confection and pastry chefs who have achieved different levels of expertise. Depending upon your experience, you might apply to become a Certified Pastry Culinarian (CPC), a Certified Working Pastry Chef (CWPC), a Certified Executive Pastry Chef (CEPC), or a Certified Master Pastry Chef (CMPC).
What Salary Can I Expect to Earn?
While the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics does not offer information related specifically to confectionery or pastry chefs, it did report on jobs for chefs and head cooks as a general group. This group held about 128,600 jobs and had a median salary of $48,460 in 2018. Around 69,680 of these chefs worked in restaurants and other eating places. According to PayScale.com, the majority of pastry chefs earned between $30,000 and $63,000 per year, as of November 2019.
What Are Some Related Alternative Careers?
Before becoming a confectionary chef, you will likely need to start out as a baker or cook. No formal education is necessary for either position, but a postsecondary certificate or degree in baking/pastry arts or another culinary field can boost your job prospects. If you want to take on a supervisory position in a facility that serves confections, you could look into becoming a food service manager. These professionals oversee the business operations of restaurants and other dining establishments. While a high school diploma is sufficient, many employers favor candidates with postsecondary education and previous work experience in the field.