How to Become a Dessert and Pastry Chef

How to Become a Dessert and Pastry Chef

If you enjoy everything about pastry making from the careful kneading and elaborate layering, to the variety of different fillings and decorations then becoming a dessert and pastry chef could well be the career for you. If you want to turn your passion into a career, this is what you need to do to become a dessert and pastry chef in Australia.

If you enjoy making desserts that taste wonderful and are just as beautiful, you may enjoy being a dessert and pastry chef. A position as a dessert and pastry chef can be interesting, challenging, creative and complex. You will be required to create a range of spectacular bread, pastries and desserts. Artistic presentation is key when it comes to food, and dessert is always considered to be the most beautiful out of all dishes. People want food that is a feast for their eyes as well as their tastebuds.

Overview

A dessert and pastry chef has the ability to prepare baked goods and speciality pastries such as gateaux, mousses and many other desserts with classical and international flair. They should also demonstrate creativity in the preparation of sweets and other elaborate showpieces that incorporate chocolate moulding and sculpting, icing creations and sugar decorations.

A dessert and pastry chef usually start their day before the sun comes up as they are busy preparing the baked treats ready in time for breakfast. They will usually begin their day by creating or selecting a recipe and then they prepare and mix together the required ingredients before creating and baking the final baked goods.

Career Opportunities

In recent years there has been a steady increase in the number of franchised bakeries opening, providing many employment opportunities for an aspiring dessert and pastry chef. There are also self-employment opportunities for both bakers and dessert and pastry chefs.

Dessert and pastry chefs work in a range of kitchen and culinary environments including small and large restaurants, hotels, resorts and even as a personal chef. When you are looking for a job as a dessert and pastry chef keep in mind all jobs will require different levels of experience.

How to Become a Dessert and Pastry Chef

Daily Activities

When working as a dessert and pastry chef you will be required to make bread, cakes and pastries. It is also the responsibility of the dessert and pastry chef to check all equipment meets health and safety regulations and checking the quality of the ingredients being used. Other tasks aside from baking include ordering baking supplies from wholesalers and also serving customers.

Characteristics of a Dessert and Pastry Chef

  • Organisation and Attention to Detail: Dessert and pastry chefs need to be organised and have strong attention to detail. Making desserts often requires various components that must all be assembled individually to create the final masterpiece. All ingredients must be measured precisely and added in the correct way and in the correct order.
  • Perseverance: Pastry chefs are extremely hard working. Baking can sometimes start as early as 3 or 4 am. They are also required to work long hours and they also spend the majority of their time on their feet. This job takes lots of stamina, strength and energy to work as a pastry chef.
  • Creativity and Patience: Creativity is an essential quality for a dessert and pastry chef. Patience is definitely crucial when it comes to creating desserts. Desserts can require extensive preparation and you must also be prepared for potential mistakes that may occur and having to start your dessert again from scratch.
  • Knowledgeable - To be a great dessert and pastry chef, you must understand the scientific principles behind baking. You will be cooking with perishable and fragile foods and will need to understand the rules around food safety. You should also have a good understanding of nutrition and of human physiology. It is also good to have the understanding of basic design skills and how to create visually appealing desserts.

Work Environment

Many dessert and pastry chefs work in small retail bakeries or big wholesale suppliers of baked goods. They also work at ‘in-house’ bakeries in supermarkets, food store chains, hotels and restaurants. Some dessert and pastry chefs may also own and work in their own bakery shop.

Salary

The starting salary for qualified dessert and pastry chef is on average $33,869, experienced pastry chefs make upwards of $50,000. Self-employed bakers and pastry chefs can expect to earn much more than this.

Get Certified

There are several different educational opportunities for you to choose from if you want to become a dessert and pastry chef. One of the best ways to become a dessert and pastry chef is to complete a TAFE apprenticeship. These courses are excellent since you can study, get qualified as you work and even earn some extra money!

Kangan Institute’s Certificate III in Patisserie course (SIT31016) is designed for those seeking the skills, knowledge and attitude to meet the demands of working and specialising in patisserie. This culinary course enables graduates to enter careers in hospitality outlets such as bakeries and pastry shops.

It is also a great opportunity to gain experience working in a restaurant or patisserie to get a feel of how the industry functions. Although this is a great opportunity to learn, it is also a great time to assess whether this is the career for you.