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pastry certificate...

post #1 of 3
Thread Starter 
I have read these forums from front to back and still questions, so I am posting (finally)

I am currently at my local CC pursuing a certificate in Baking and Pastry. This is my 3rd semester (just started last week :)) and I am on track to be done next semester (so basically December 2009)

The problem is this, I am feeling that while I know WAY more than I did before I started, I am lacking quite a bit. My school is pretty well known for its culinary (rather Hotel restaurant mgmt) department, but I am feeling like they are riding on their reputation from the past. There are many classes that used to be offered that are no longer offered, for instance, we do have a cake rotation in baking class, but there used to be a cake decorating class that is in the catalog but isn't offered (I decorate cakes now, but need practice and some more "formal training" I feel). Baking and Advanced baking, used to be an entire semester each, but they are now half a semester. My chef at school is great and will answer any question that I ask, or at least point me in the direction that I need to go to figure it out. So here I am feeling unfulfilled. I have looked at a few schools in my area and am willing to "start over" if need be

*CIA-Certificate in baking and pastry 27k or so
*another community college in my area offers an AS but the training isn't as much french pastry as it is how to spend the least on your product when you own a bakery. (heck they don't even use pure vanilla extract, they use imitation) (same $ as my school)
*Art institute-cert in Baking and pastry (27k or so)
*Kitchen Academy-cert in Baking and pastry (30k I think)
*ITT-cert in B & P (roughly 15k I think)
*CCA-Certificate In baking and pastry- (27k or so)

my goal is to own my own bakery, so I don't really have to impress a supervisor or hiring person, but I feel like I need to be on track to becoem a pastry chef not a cake baker/cake decorator

Do I start over, or do I scour the internet, read my textbooks and basically teach myself what I feel like I am lacking:crazy:

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post #2 of 3
Are you working at a bakery? If not, I would try to get an entry level job at a bakery while you continue to learn at school. That way you will be able to apply what you are learning and more of it will stick with you.

I would just try to find a bakery near you that understands what you are trying to accomplish. You might have to work for free, but hey, it's great experience. You could also look for an apprenticeship.

Do you live in the bay area? You mentioned that you looked at schools in your area and that CCA was a candidate. In that case, take a look at the San Francisco Baking Institute. San Francisco Baking Institute | Pastry Chef | Baking School | Pastry School | Bread | Pastry | Education |

To me it appears they might put more of an emphasis on baking, rather than pastry. So if I was you I would check to see if they offer what you are after.

Professional Culinary Institute in Campbell Professional Culinary Institute has Bo Friberg as a chef instructor. And if you are not familiar with him, he is one of the best. And he has authored The Professional Pastry Chef, Fourth Edition, Fundamentals of Baking and Pastry AND The Advanced Professional Pastry Chef.

Much further away than SF is the Notter School of Pastry Arts in Florida. Notter School of Pastry Arts and Chocolate Studio
That might be more of what you are looking for.

I don't think it's bad to go to another school after you get your certificate. You will have an advantage. And if you can get work experience before starting a dedicated baking / pastry school, even better!
"To be a good chef all you got to do is lots of little things well" -Marco Pierre

"As far as cuisine is concerned, one must read everything, see everything, hear everything, try everything, observe everything, in order to retain in the end, just a little bit." -Fernand Point
"To be a good chef all you got to do is lots of little things well" -Marco Pierre

"As far as cuisine is concerned, one must read everything, see everything, hear everything, try everything, observe everything, in order to retain in the end, just a little bit." -Fernand Point
post #3 of 3
Thread Starter 
I thank you for responding.. I thought I was subscribed to this thread but received no notification...

I don't work in a bakery right now. It's difficult because school is(was last semester) from 7am until 3:30 pm.. Most jobs I have seen are for early morning. I worked at a bakery briefly last year. I was only able to work some days and it was about 40 minutes from my home as there is no bakery here. I work with a caterer and I am able to bake every weekend for someone so I do get quite a bit of practice, just not enough for me :)

I do live in the Bay Area, I hadn't seen/heard about the SF baking institute. I do know of Chef Bo, and PCI. Chef Bo was actually my Chef's instructor at CCA. The professional Pastry Chef was our textbook.

I spoke to a chef who I like to call my mentor, although I never ask her to be that, she just helps when I need it, listens when I vent etc. and she encouraged me to go to specialized classes such as at Notter School, CIA when they have them, try Cal-Java when Ron Ben-Israel is there etc, as opposed to starting over and then re-evaluate if I feel like I still need to go somewhere else.
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