- Create beautiful and delicious pastries and desserts for a living
- You'll need excellent baking skills, attention to detail, and creativity
- Hours can be long and you may need to work early mornings and weekends
Pastry chefs specialise in creating pastry-based dishes or desserts, and are trained to use specialist techniques to create fine pastries.
- Create and follow recipes
- Source ingredients
- Ensure that products are consistent
- Make sure that health and safety regulations are followed in the kitchen
You might work for a specialist bakery or patisserie, or as part of a team in a hotel or restaurant kitchen, and you'll often need to work early mornings to make sure your pastries are ready for breakfast time and for the day ahead. You could specialise in confiserie (sweet or candy making), chocolate, ice cream, bread or pastry work, or work across all of these areas.
To become a pastry chef you'll need excellent attention to detail, to be good with your hands, and good organisational and creative skills.
Most pastry chefs go through specialist training in this field - you can do this on the job in a hotel, restaurant, or patisserie, or take a course which will help you gain the skills you need before applying for jobs.
Depending on your role you may have the freedom to develop new pastries or dishes or you may need to follow a fixed set of recipes. Senior pastry chefs with high level skills are in demand at fine hotels and restaurants, but you'll need to build your skills and experience to move up the ranks to become a senior pastry chef. The typical route is to start as a commis pâtissier, before becoming chef de partie to then progressing to Chef and finally Executive Chef.
You can study for qualifications from beginner level with City & Guilds, or you can study for a specialist qualification with a cookery school or organisation like Cordon Bleu which offers the Diplome de Patisserie - a respected qualification in the industry.
Gaining experience in a professional kitchen or bakery, or with a catering company will also help you work out whether this kind of role is for you.
You could set up your own business and sell your pastries from a shop, or cater for private events.