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Looking for professional pastry workers/chefs to answer a few questions!

post #1 of 4
Thread Starter 
Hi all!

I'm new at this forum and, following an advice from a very nice member, I'm creating this topic to look for volunteers who are willing to answer my questions! I'm very confused and insecure about pastry school and just want a reality check before taking the plunge.
I know there are a lot of topic on this, but the more I read, the more confused I am. So please, don't be afraid of hitting me with reality!
I'm willing to speak with anyone who has graduated from pastry school, no matter the country, school or specialty! I know going to school will be fun, it's the afterwards I'm worried about.

Thank you all for reading! Interested people please reply here or pm me!

Tangerine.
post #2 of 4

Tangerine - I went to pastry school in 2004.  Now I am a pastry chef and love what I do.  But.  There is no simple answer for any of us to give to someone else because our industry is undergoing a lot of changes.  When the recession hit the US, many high-end restaurants were struggling and I don't think that sector of the market ever fully recovered.  You have a lot of fine dining chefs that branched out to open gastropubs and such.  Diners no longer wanted to drop $300 on a several-hours-long tasting menu with quite the same frequency as before.  Unfortunately, those fine dining restaurants provided work for those of us in the pastry field.  A gastropub with a lower check average just can't afford a full time pastry chef.

In Las Vegas, where I work, many hotels condensed their pastry staff.  It is more efficient to have one pastry chef create desserts for multiple restaurants on the same property.  These things may make business sense, but it can reduce the number of opportunities for people coming out of pastry school.

I am only speaking from what I see in my corner of the world.  But at the same time that may sound depressing, I love what I do and that counts for a lot.  It is entirely possible to make a living wage here as a pastry cook, with health insurance, before you even make it to pastry chef status.  I feel like I am always hiring, always looking for good pastry cooks because they can be so hard to find.  When it comes to pastry chefs, it is sometimes better to promote because they can be even harder to find from outside.  Someone with a good attitude can go a long ways in this industry.  But I have also seen many people burn out by the hours and many people having trouble finding work.  So which is true?  For me, this is a great career and I think you are doing the right thing by asking all of these questions now.  I just wish I had a clearer answer to give.

post #3 of 4
Thread Starter 
Jellly, thanks a lot for your insights! It did help a lot. Sad thing about the economy, but I do understand why culinary and other jobs suffer the most. I was actually considering a school in Vegas due to the hotels, so maybe it'll be good? Is it common practice to hire interns from pastry school? I was specifically looking at Cordon Bleu LV...
post #4 of 4

I don't know much about the schools out here.  I do have employees that have degrees from the local schools, but have only had one on intern.  Most get hired after they graduate.

 I do know that Las Vegas has a mix of good and bad for people in the pastry field - the unemployment rate here is higher than the national average, but the cost of living is much better than other American food towns.  Many of the hotels are union, so the jobs come with great benefits and I believe the wages are higher than most American cities.  There is a lot of competition for jobs, but there are always openings you just may need to really hit the pavement to find them.  

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