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pastry chef

post #1 of 14
Thread Starter 
hello im thinking about taking up a apprenticship to become a pastry chef has anyone got any advice
post #2 of 14
Thread Starter 
:bounce: [QUOTE=kiwigirl]hello im thinking about taking up a apprenticship to become a pastry chef has anyone got any advice
post #3 of 14

Advice

If you are thinking about being a pastry chef you really really need to consider the downfalls, because there are many.

Most likely, you won't ever make a lot of money, and a lot of times it's hard to get a LIVING wage. Benefits are like Disneyland, you hardly ever get them unless you are working hotels or large corporations.

Willing to work like a dog? Good. 'Cause you will.

Ready to prepare yourself for overuse injuries like carpal tunnel syndrome, plantar fasciitis, tendonitis, arthritis? Don't forget lots of knife boo boo's and burn scars.

Think you won't have to spend a lot of your time doing dishes? Think again.

Want to work weekends, early early mornings, or swing? There's plenty of that when you're a PC. Or just a baker.

Want to put in extra long days and then have no energy after work to have any fun?

Want to work with flaky co-workers? The food industry is full of alcoholics, drug users, lazy people, and temperamental egotists. Sure there are the good ones (like me) but you know, In my 16 years of this I can count on ONE hand the good co-workers I've had.

You may think I'm bitter. Maybe. But the above are truths and you should consider them seriously. PC'ing is not for the meek. If you're willing to work hard and not complain about it, you're halfway there.

If what you see on the Food Network is your vision of baking or being a Pastry Chef, I will tell you the glamour is not there 99 percent of the time in real life.

Why am I doing it? Because I'm skilled enough in the trade, that I can get a halfway decent wage. Still no benefits. But I'm at the point now, where I don't have any other skills to get a different job, so I'm kind of stuck.

If someone had told me before I went to culinary school, all the things I said above, I would have seriously re-considered.

Sorry to be a downer. Perhaps someone else can put a better perspective on it.:(
post #4 of 14
Chefpeon put it in good perspective but go to www.pastrychef.info there is an article there about being a Pastry Chef might add to what has already been said.

Rgds Rook
post #5 of 14
Maybe this is just the newbie in me talking but if you love what you do then all those things don't really matter. I get so much joy from this profession and I love sharing with others the taste of fine things since now a days this world is polluted with so much crap food.
I am a new mom (my son is two months old) and have my own pastry business. Chefpeon is right, it is really hard. I worked at Spago in their pastry department and for the first 4 months I got screamed at every night. My arms are covered in burns and I probably slept four hours a night. Either because I was at the restaurant for nearly 12 hours or because I was so terrified to ever return to that place. But that is why you have to love what you do in order to succeed. If not you will get burnt out in the first week.
post #6 of 14
All of the above is true. If you're truly committed to this profession, and you're aware of all the personal sacrifices you'll need to make, it may not be as dreadful for you as you'd otherwise expect. After some time, if come to accept that you're new family (at work) is going to replace your home life, this usually fosters really tight friendships based on mutual teamwork and accomplishment.

The amount that you can learn in this profession is endless, and we're all still learning, whether we've been at this for 2 months or 40 yrs. As with anything, when you succeed, it makes all the blood, sweat and tears worthwhile.

It's not glamorous work. You'll be mopping floors long after you think you've paid your dues. Only you know if this is for you.
post #7 of 14
Advice if you really want to go into it. Ask why because EVERYTHING you do in the kitchen has a reason behind it. Tell the chef right away if you mess up and don't know how to fix your mistake. Find your own shortcuts without bringing down the quality of the product and wasting time (seeing that shortcuts save time). Finally, listen to the chef. You may hear other things from other people within the kitchen but the chef has his way for a reason and he is the one who knows about the kitchen.
All perfections have imperfections.
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All perfections have imperfections.
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post #8 of 14
I'm really excited about the prospect of working in the Pastry field....but if there are so many complaints, why do people bother to take it up, or continue in the field :confused: .
I often wonder what he's feeling.
Has he ever heard a word I've said?
Look at him now in the mirror dreaming
What is happening in his head?
Reply
I often wonder what he's feeling.
Has he ever heard a word I've said?
Look at him now in the mirror dreaming
What is happening in his head?
Reply
post #9 of 14

it's an art, if you have it in your blood, you must bake!

I think what is being said here is, it is not all sunshine and light. It's not at all like they show on tv.
So, if you really want to become a pastry chef, it will be a real challange!
It is also very satisfying and you get to meet wonderful people and create things that bring great joy.
:bounce:
bake first, ask questions later.
Oooh food, my favorite!


Professor Pastry Artswww.collin.edu
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bake first, ask questions later.
Oooh food, my favorite!


Professor Pastry Artswww.collin.edu
Reply
post #10 of 14
For some strange reason Pastry Chefs seem to forget all the good times. I'm not so sure why. Man, If I read this board for any length of time I'd be run off with all the horror stories.
Fact of the matter is, it's a very rewarding profession. You mmust understand the business to be rewarded. I personally know some very well adjusted and happy pastry people right here on chef talk.
It's the same as other jobs. I would hate to be in a cubicle copying briefs for months!
C'mon! It feels great to be a Pastry Chef!!! Sure you'll mop a few floors, so what? Just remember to always work with your brain and your hands, and you'll be happy yuou made the decision.
A lot of the negetives you are hearing are coming from people that have solely worked with their hands. They have trouble figuring out why the Exec. Chef has so much help and they are constantly in the weeds. /Well, the chef is probably working with his head and can calculate how much revenue he has to to get the job done. Hey, he's going to strangle the pastry shop if he can get away with it.
Sorry , Rant
pan
FOR YEARS I LIVED TO WORK! NOW I WORK TO LIVE!
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FOR YEARS I LIVED TO WORK! NOW I WORK TO LIVE!
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post #11 of 14
I would do it in a heartbeat if I had the money and resources to achieve it. I work part time in a bakery but its nothing like the thrill of the kitchen and the life of a pastry chef. it does have its drawbacks but the sense of accomplishment you will get from producing a finely made pastry will more than make up for any drawbacks you may have.

Rgds Rook
post #12 of 14
Thanks! :) I'm SO excited about it. I was in school up until this last semester trying to complete a degree in English, but it just wasn't something I really wanted to end up doing. So, I thought to myself, if I could do anything else, what would it be? I make dinner for my family everyday, look at cookbooks everyday, and make desserts at least once a week. I LOVE to make things for people and get a real satisfaction when I've made people happy :lips: . So, I started working in a Bakery about a month ago to help pay for school in the winter and even though it's all frozen stuff and I rarely get to do anything other than package bread, clean, or layout frozen dough :lol: , I really enjoy it. Thanks for all the input.
I often wonder what he's feeling.
Has he ever heard a word I've said?
Look at him now in the mirror dreaming
What is happening in his head?
Reply
I often wonder what he's feeling.
Has he ever heard a word I've said?
Look at him now in the mirror dreaming
What is happening in his head?
Reply
post #13 of 14

The truth...

I think it's good to warn people about the downfalls. One thing I've always said is that there isn't anybody doing this work that doesn't love it. I mean, what other possible reason could there be?

People need to know about the pay (or lack there-of) Ive met more people who went to culinary school who are serving or doing something else because they need more money to live on. It's a shame to spend all that time and money on an education that you wont use. Most of the people I went to culinary school with are not working in the kitchen.

It's good that you are working in a bakery, even if you aren't actually baking. That is how so many of us started. Just keep filling those bags and keeping your eyes and ears open. You'll learn more than you might think. Get experience anywhere you can. Be willing to work for free for a while if you find a good place willing to let you. You can still put it on your resume. You gotta pay your dues to get anywhere.

As far as the atmosphere...it can be pretty rough sometimes. But not always. Im very fortunate to have worked in places with people with high moral standards and clean speach.

I also work part time. Which is very rare. But it is possible to find less demanding work--albeit very hard. I do find myself working 12 hour days occasionally though. That's going to happen just about anywhere. Dont expect to be able to punch out at the same time every day. If you have kids, your gonna need good child care.

hope this helps
eeyore
post #14 of 14
i think its so rewarding to work long days... its hard, but you will feel so accomplished. :chef: i love doing pastry!!!
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