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Hotel vs. restaurant pastry jobs

post #1 of 11
Thread Starter 
I recently was approached with an offer to run a pastry kitchen in a fairly well known Philadelphia hotel. Funny thing is I never have worked in a hotel before LOL. I have experience in running wholesale outlets, fine dining, bread and specialy pastry operations but nothing in a hotel format.
Currently I am working in a fine dining restaurant which I like but it is not very challenging.

Any hotel chefs care to chime in as to what you percieve the differences would be besides the obvious volume differences. The hotel has a fine dining, a casual, pub/bar dining as well as banquets and room service. Sort of what I am doing now with the exception of the room service.
The offer is a good one and about 15,000 a year more then I am currently making as well as benefits and free rooms in the companys other properties when I go on vacation.
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post #2 of 11
All depends on the hotel and the Chef I guess.

In a few places I've worked in, the bqt.ing dept was the Chef's baby,as it was a beautiful little(?!) money maker. In these places the pastry chef's job was about 60% of making and dressing banquet dessert plates, 25% buffet dessert sections, 15% providing dessert items for the a'la carte salad guys to jazz up, and one Hotel had a little booth in the lobby that sold coffee, pastry items and the Pastry CHef's chocolate and pastry specialities.

If the Hotel is well set up you can usually lower the Chef's food cost by a few points--which results in smiles and chuckles from the CHef and F&B, and usaually gets you anything (ingredients or equipment, that is...) that you want.t
...."This whole reality thing is really not what I expected it would be"......
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...."This whole reality thing is really not what I expected it would be"......
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post #3 of 11
I was thinking the same thing .
If you have a Chef who would rather stay out of your shop better off you will be ,I have worked in shops that the BQT.or exc sous always had to come in and mess around ,I about had it one day and told the sous to make a cake .he fumbeled around for about 15 min .I said ok you can go now .that was it he never came back Only to say hello if that .
I feel the Pastry Chef is in charge of The Pastry shop and that is why we are Pastry Chefs .again it depends on the hotel and the how they want to run the property .
good luck and keep your tricks to your self .dont try to blow them away in a few months set a pace and have fun .
TOMMY
post #4 of 11
It sort of depends on the size of the property as to what your job will entail. In a small hotel 200-300 rooms, you may have to most of the production with one or two assistants, as well as develop menus for each season for the restaurants, banquets etc. You may have a separate working area or kitchen or you may be in the main kitchen fighting for space and your equipment. You may also have to attend weekly or even daily F&B meetings to plan for banquets and special events.
If the property is very large you will most likely be overseeing a larger crew with a sous pastry chef to help get the production coordinated and done, a separate pastry kitchen and cold and dry storage. You will attend lots of meetings and do a lot of paperwork ie. menus, costing, inventory, payroll etc.

Most likely in both instances you will need to train and oversee staff in the restaurants and other venues and you won't have much time to actually bake. I call this type of chef a 'paper chef'. If you really love the production of the products this can get boring and make you wonder why you are doing it.

Make sure you get to visit the property more than once, at different times to see the place in action and try to go once when the kitchens are actually closed so you can poke around and see what equipment there is and how clean the place is. This can give you a sense of what you will be getting into so you can make a better informed decision. Best of Luck.
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check out my books at the pastrymama1 shop at www.half.ebay.com
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post #5 of 11
Rat, any feed back yet ,has your current job made a counter offer ?

just wondering .
good luck .
TOMMY
post #6 of 11
Thread Starter 
My other job does not know and I don't want to jeopardize it either. The offer sounded good but like some have said the chef told me he likes to be "involved" and we all know what that means LOL. I think I could handle the job but I don't think being out of a kitchen for an exec job would not be all that fun.
I would miss the camaraderie of the line as well. Another thing is the hotel is pulling somewhat of a bait and switch with the offer, their offer is lumping all the benefits into the lump salary offer so I would be making significantly less than the initial amount. I've been at my current job for 10 years now so I am not planning anything crazy at the moment.
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post #7 of 11

dressing banquet dessert plates,

the bqt.ing dept was the Chef's baby,as it was a beautiful little(?!) money maker. In these places the pastry chef's job was about 60% of making and dressing banquet dessert plates, 25% buffet dessert sections, 15% providing dessert items for the a'la carte salad guys to jazz up, and one Hotel had a little booth in the lobby that sold coffee, pastry items and the Pastry CHef's chocolate and pastry specialities.
post #8 of 11
Good for you .
I hate to see some one get screwed over .
play your hand close to the table .those hotels can play games big time .sounds like they were looking for a lil puppet ..
and 10 years is a long time it sez alot about the both parties involved
post #9 of 11
A hotel job is good if you don't like to be bored. The work is redundant for the banquets, but it can be fun and challenging to play around with the menu for the restaurants, cafes, coffee carts, etc. There are also little things like ammenities, special requests and specialty cakes. There is always something new to do. A restaurant can be very limited, but a lot more intimate which can be fulfilling for some.

If I got a job offer in a nice hotel to run a pastry kitchen, I would probably take it if the pay is right and if I can have freedom. There is really nothing worse than going into a kitchen expecting authority in what you are doing, and then realize you are being micromanaged and constantly having someone breathe down your neck.
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Outside of a dog, a book is a man's best friend. Inside of a dog it's too dark to read. - GM
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post #10 of 11
I would take that job just for the benefits.
post #11 of 11
Depending on the size of the hotel, the size of the banquet operation and the amounts of service you are going to provide all have factors on how the operation will run.

Breakfast, lunch and dinner?

Banquets: Cont, breaks, box lunches, cookies, buffets, plate ups, center pieces and tastings are all be be expected of a large vol hotel such as mine. I also have to cover for the outlet restaurants in the hotel. We have over 1400 rooms and over 4000,000 sq ft of meeting space. I avg 25-50,000 covers a week here.

It's a 24 hour operation with only about 2 hours in the day where no one is in the pastry shop. Breakfast employees start to come in at 12:00 am, the finishing group comes in at 6:00am and production works at 2:00pm.

We have about 30 employees and 5 Pastry Sous Chefs. So depending on how your staffing is depends on what you are going to be able to get accomplished.

I've seen pastry departments in hotels where all that needs to be done is platted desserts, cutting pies and pulling danish out of boxes.

Then there are scratch shops like where I'm at where just about everything is done in house, but the labor is very intensive.

All in all I have been out of restraints for about 4 years now and I will try not to go back for the rest of my career. My ideal place of employment will be a country club...

Well I hope you make a decision keep your head up the money comes in time....

Good luck
Robert
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