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Dead end pastry chef

post #1 of 4
Thread Starter 
Yo, howdy everyone. I am 22 years old this year and am a professional pastrychef.... i work in a small business that i have grown out of. I'm looking at trying to get into a hotel kitchen, i am no stranger to big environments and the stress involved. My question is more related to what skills are valued alot in hotel kitchens, especially pastry section? Cause i am still young i can re train in certain areas (i will anyway:). Is there much progression in ways of being able to travel through hotel chains? i am not concerned with money, i really would like to travel with my profession. I really want to make myself more employable so any comments are welcomed....thankyou.
post #2 of 4

I can only comment on what you have told us so far.

In my experiences I have found that it's the high end hotels that employ quality Pastry Chefs.

Most of the others may or may not buy their bakery and pastries.

You'll have to do some research in your area.

 

Many of the skills you use now will be wasted in hotels that do not bake in house.

If you do find a quality hotel, you may start out as a "benchman" and then work your way up.

 

If, in your former place, you made yeast raised doughnuts, breads, Danish, cookies, you MAY use some of these skills.

A lot depends on where you go and what they do.

 

Good luck. 

post #3 of 4

Agree with Ross.

As more and more hotels (talking marginally high end) are offering at least small Continental breakfast included with room,  pastry positions are becoming scarce.

Just makes more sense $$ for their bottom line (for some reason I keep seeing this job being lobbed to housekeeping) to lay out some big bag (but tasty) danish and keeping an eye on the coffee urn.

Hate to see this.

Your instincts are good...skills to take on the road (puff pastry, afternoon tea sort of things, at least a working knowledge of gum paste flowers, piping)

Check with places that do the more formal banquets and the odd wedding cake.

Go.

Have fun before you get too settled and $ becomes critical.

 

mimi

post #4 of 4

Hotels are slimming down their pastry departments, as ready made products get better and better. It really sucks to go to a nice bakery or hotel breakfast and CRAVE the ready made stuff because the house-made stuff is so bad :(. As a former hotel pastry chef, I can tell you most of the guests don't/can't tell the difference between the ready made stuff vs house made. One of my former Execs was a big fan of "idiot proof" desserts for large banquets, things like frozen cheese cake, chocolate cake, mousse mixes, pot de creme mixes, IQF cookies etc. They kept hours down, and the mark up was such that it didn't matter how much the added cost of being pre-made was, wedding party of 250 paying $100 per person for a frozen chocolate mousse cake. 

 

Most likely you will start out as a "drone" doing repetitive tasks day and night for a few years (yes years), things like placing components on plates for banquets, or working production on the grave yard shift baking sheet cakes, doughs, batters etc. If you have a specialty you could be "stolen" to be the lead guy at an outlet of the hotel, do the showpieces, cakes etc otherwise you would be truckin away in the pastry kitchen hoping to be sous one day... Traveling is definitely easier in hotel chains as they talk to each other and swap cooks all the time. It all depends on where you want your career to go.  I actually prefer the smaller places now, as the food has my name on it as opposed to "i'm the guy who put the tuiles on all 3000 of those plates." Smaller places are flexible, thinking of specials, menu changes, tasting menus, private parties that want super high end stuff etc. It all depends on where you want to take your career. Just a warning hotels can be seasonal, 4 months a year could be 60 hour work weeks, while the rest of the year is 30 hours a week. Find a good balance as a job you love but doesn't pay much might not be an option anymore in this economy. Oh and don't burn out... i'm always supposed to mention that.   

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