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Pastry Chef Interview

post #1 of 14
Thread Starter 
I'm interviewing for a Pastry Chef position and will be asked to prepare something onsite to showcase my skills. This will be the first time that I've been asked to do this. I'm assuming that I'll have a limited amount of time. My skills are strong as I'm currently working as a Pastry Chef. This would be a new venture. What would be the quickest thing to prepare that still shows some technical skill? I might mention that this kitchen presently does nothing from scratch which is why they are hiring a chef.
post #2 of 14

Hello missmacaron, 


I would suggest to make only that which YOU are comfortable making in a short period of time with not too much technical difficulty. 

With the kitchen that you are applying for not having a pastry background, (in my experience) this means that they do not have the appropriate training nor comfort zone to apply too difficult (or technical) of skill in the pastry kitchen. If you overwhelm an executive chef/owner that does not really have a lot of time nor know-how to deal with the pastry area....doing something over the top might scare them to not hire you nor continue farther into the scratch world of pastry arts.


Also, I would be asking a lot of questions as to equipment available, type of oven, ingredients available (you will have to bring your own for your project), what type/style of kitchen/restaurant you are applying for, what type of baking/pastries have they been doing up until now, how long have they been in business and why now are they hiring a pastry chef to do scratch baking, what are they hoping to get out of hiring a pastry chef?? This will give you an indication as to what to make and where to start with them. Most executive chefs/owners do not have a pastry background at all (you get only a few weeks in school at most for culinary arts unless you take baking/pastry arts separately....which most don't) so these guys will have a hard time equating the time, training and expenses into too difficult a pastry item/menu unless that is what they have budgeted and are going for.


I have trained for, qualified for and worked as both an executive chef and pastry chef so I know that lots of questions and preparation go into a good/solid pastry presentation. I wish you all the best on your interview and am sure you will WOW them with whatever you wish to present. Be prepared and just BRING IT!

post #3 of 14
Thread Starter 
Thank you Fablesable! This information has been very helpful.
post #4 of 14
Thread Starter 
Quick update: This was probably the most bazaar interview I've ever had. The Chef asked that I make biscuits as a part of my interview. Biscuits! The interview went well, but after looking through my portfolio, it was decided that I was overqualified for what they were looking for. After having had the opportunity to tour their kitchen and observe their desserts, I had to agree. On to the next, I guess.
post #5 of 14

I don't think having the Chef ask you to make biscuits is bizarre at all.

The simplest things made perfectly is a lot better than making creative unique things mediocre.

post #6 of 14

Agreed. On savory side, eggs and omelets are historically notorious as being the test dish for cooks.


Question: Exec chefs usually do a complete tasting, is this not the norm for pastry chefs? 

post #7 of 14
Thread Starter 
I see your point. I was just caught completely off guard by the request for something so simple. I had expected something more technical.
post #8 of 14
Thread Starter 
RSI Rich, I've not ever been asked to do a tasting for an interview. Interesting question.
post #9 of 14

I don't think having the Chef ask you to make biscuits is bizarre at all.

The simplest things made perfectly is a lot better than making creative unique things mediocre.

I completely agree.


As I have stated before, most executive chefs have VERY minimal training regarding pastry so they wouldn't know choux from their shoe (if ya know what I mean hehe) so the asking for something so basic as biscuits is not surprising at all. That is what asking questions is for. Most kitchens whether it be a small restaurant to corporations to hotels, etc. they tend to get most of their baking done a la frozen processed baked goods that need to just be thrown in the oven to bake or warm up. It's sad really.....overseas it is a wee bit different where the executive pastry chef is in complete control of all pastry and baked goods and leads the kitchen beside the culinary executive chef. Here....not so much. 


@RSI Rich to answer that question, see above comment. IF, and that is a big if, there is an executive pastry chef then YES there would be a complete tasting. There usually is not therefore, the executive chef is the one just winging it usually and should ask for a complete tasting, however they don't really know pastry so they will ask for something so basic it would make my grandmother roll over in her grave laughing as this is really the only real thing most of them remember from their week of pastry and baking training in, the good ol' days!


@missmacaron I wish you well on your search for the perfect venue to let your pastry skills shine!! :)

post #10 of 14
Thread Starter 
Thank you Fablesable!
post #11 of 14
Thread Starter 
So, I was officially offered the Pastry Chef position today! Excited for the new venture. Thank you for all of your advice.
post #12 of 14

That is wonderful to hear!! I wish you well on your new venture :bounce:

post #13 of 14
Wow sounds like you aced that interview. Strangely enough I have not been asked to prepare many items in my interviews. So I started suggesting it in my initial meeting. This way I felt that I could be pro active and offer a chance to see what I can do. Since my background is catering heavy, I have experience with changing varied menus and have been able to secure the position on the spot. I agree most owners I have worked with do not have a pastry background, in fact many owners have No food background so doing simpler things can be a plus. Congrats and I hope you do well.
post #14 of 14
Thread Starter 
Thank you!
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