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returning to the pastry/dessert industry after 12 years of illness .

post #1 of 5
Thread Starter 

I was sick and unable to work for 12 years I am still on disability insurance so I can only work part time and earn a certain amount each month. I have been reviewing recipes and reading alot and realize i don't have the skills needed to jump right in, its been a long time away from a kitchen. I have been making stuff in my kitchen and it comes well ok i guess but not pastry chef level as I was in the past. I am over whelmed with ideas and I a thinking of possibilities that I could take to get back in the industry. I can in and no way be the pastry chef I just don't have the skills my mind is super sharp and when I read recipes I don't remember alot of the stuff needed . So as I have written I'm a lot rusty . My thoughts are to talk to a kitchen/bakery and see if they will take me on as a paid apprentice . then be able to move up from there . I want to be successful in this endeavor but I'm just not sure what the best first move should be and I want to do it right for me and a place i work for . To go in and say I can do stuff and not really be able to do stuff  to me is a sure path to getting fired. I am in no way in the condition to get hired and jump right in, I need some time to relearn stuff and to reacclimatize my self to kitchen work . This has been a dream of mine for years to come back to the kitchen. The last time I was a chef it was all about attitude, being the man, and making as much money as possible. This time and probably due to maturity  I want to make great food, network and be able to learn from my chef as well as the other people I work with I could careless if I were the hat and jacket I am in no way about being the "man" any more I just want to create and enjoy time working in food this time its all about the love for food .

Thanks for your time and I would love to hear what you think would be the best way to approach returning to the industry . Thanks Mike 

post #2 of 5

You have the most realistic mindset about where you are at with your skills and multi-tasking capabilities today. I think you already know how to approach a bakery/patissiere because you say it all in your post. You know you are coming off of a long time on medical leave and can only work so many hours. I would approach a bakery/patissiere of choice with a proposal of what you are looking for but also what you are willing to bring to the company. As you have said, you do not wish to be pastry chef but if you have the training and experience from before then you can be a pastry cook as it is all about getting back on the bike and riding again, so-to-speak. Just give the pastry chef a head's up of what you are able to do and what you are rusty at. Then get in there and get your hands floured.


Take the time to research the places or pastry chefs you wish to work for and what you want to learn. Then get that resume polished up, write personal cover letter to the individual chefs you have researched and get your gear ready to get back into the kitchens. 


I wish you all the best and please let us know how you get on :)


PS: It never hurts to keep practicing in your own home kitchen to get the creative juices flowing!

post #3 of 5
Thread Starter 

Thank you so much for giving me great advice you also said a few things I have not though of yet as well. I have been baking in my home kitchen basic stuff and after reviweing recipes this is where I know what I need I think getting in there and getting my hands dirty will be great like you said after telling a pastry chef i need a bit of work to fully get going . Before the illness i was a pastry chef in restaurants I loved it . Like an old car that needs some work I am sure I will soon shine again . Thanks so much Michael 

post #4 of 5

I would scope out places in your area, see what they sell, what they make, perhaps what their speciality is.  You might even see if a supermarket bake shop needs help a few hours a week.  It depends on what your physical stamina will allow you to do, and if you need to build up your strength (to be able to stand for 8 hours, for example.  Or lift 50 pound bags of sugar or flour.) you have the time to do that now, before you start to interview or apply for jobs.


Look at the local jobs board in your area, something like craigslist or and see what kind of jobs are being advertised and what they are looking for.  The job descriptions will help you see where you need to practice or what the requirements are so you are prepared.


And it will definitely come up in the interviews about why you want to return to the workforce, are you able to return (physically, because it is rare that a place will offer benefits unless you are full time, and even then, not very often), can you handle the environment (if it is a busy kitchen or a slower one; if it is a restaurant or bakeshop or cooking in a school or retirement community, that sort of thing.)  So you want to have your answer for that; even if they don't bring it up, they are going to be wondering it so you might as well be prepared with an answer or a way to reassure them you are able for it.


Good luck! keep us posted on your progress.

post #5 of 5
Thread Starter 

Decided to NOT go back into pastry for a job. There just seems to be much resistance to the idea . I can t get hold of anybody for advice , in my area there is literally no pastry positions open . I have baked a bunch of things and nothing has come out at all . I have lost that magic touch completely . I remember about 1/10 of the skills I need to be successful in pastry . So the dream of becoming a chef agian is dead and will remain so  . I would have to do to much work messing up to get good again . I have a severe mood disorder heavy stress and axiety triggers it completely and I end up hypo manic and all kinds of crazy . My part time job I have currently will be where I stay I guess I'm just not ready for this and probably wont be in the future as well . Too much time has past 12 years and i have forgotten all I know It seems what kitchen is gona pick me up when i tell them my skills are so rusty I cant even bake a simple pie or make a batch of mousse . Talk about swimming against the current . This is just a bad Idea that maturity and reflection on my past has taught me to listen to my self wrong place wrong time . Thanks for everyone who posted a comment . 

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