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Culinary Career Spotlight: Becoming a Pastry Chef

Arguably the hottest culinary career today, the role of the pastry chef has evolved substantially over the last decade.

Once relegated to a remote corner of the restaurant kitchen, pastry chefs now take on many of the culinary superstar roles formerly reserved for executive chefs. Today, pastry chefs are opening their own businesses — bakeries, food trucks and more. 

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And it looks like this sweet culinary career will become even more lucrative in the future.

Culinary Career Opportunities for Pastry Chefs

Desserts and pastries have taken on a life of their own in the culinary world. 

Once viewed as the final course of a gourmet restaurant meal, desserts are striking out on their own. Dessert-only restaurants, patisseries and food trucks are popping up across the country. Customers line up for blocks at high-end bakeries in hopes of grabbing the last cronut or specialty cupcake. 

More than ever, pastry chefs can be the stars of their own careers, whatever they may want it to be.

What Does it Take to Succeed as a Pastry Chef?

To succeed in this culinary career, pastry chefs must garner technical skill and extensive knowledge of food science. They must be precise and highly detailed while approaching their craft with creativity and flair.

Although you will have less opportunity for improvising in baking and pastry-making, you will enjoy a greater level of creative freedom than you might in other culinary careers — an aspect that draws many people to this field.

While most culinary careers focus on the afternoon and evening hours, pastry chefs tend to be on the job much earlier in the day. But just like an executive chef or chef/owner, the baking and dessert specialist works long — but highly rewarding — hours at their craft.

How Do You Become a Pastry Chef?

To break into this lucrative culinary career, you could try to land a job in a restaurant or as an intern with a well-known, local pastry chef. But unless you have solid skills already, you may struggle to find an opportunity like this. And even if you do have the opportunity to work with an established professional, you will only learn limited aspects of the field.

A more practical approach is to study at a local culinary school to earn a pastry and baking certificate. 

In culinary school, you can learn in a hands-on environment from established, professional pastry chefs. You will learn about food science as well as the techniques required for baking breads, pies, cakes, custards and soufflés. You will learn classic baking techniques and work with specialized ingredients to perfect your skills.

In Salt Lake City, Park City Culinary Institute offers a pastry and baking certificate program. This 80-hour course is available via day or evening classes. You can complete this rigorous program — and earn your certification — in as little as four weeks (six weeks if you attend the evening program). Contact us today for a complimentary career consultation to learn more about the exciting culinary career opportunities for a pastry chef.

Director of Admissions, Donna Miller, can be reached at (801) 413-2800.