No culinary arts career places greater emphasize on the artistic side of cooking than beautiful desserts. Pastry chefs create awe-inspiring wedding cakes, special-occasion cakes in creative shapes, and magnificent sugar sculptures for catering events of the highest caliber. Training as a pastry chef or bread baker offers you exciting choices of career—from working in local artisan bakeries to creating artistic desserts for upscale restaurants, hotels and resorts.
Good food offers spectacular visual appeal, and baking represents cooking artistry in its highest form. If you wish to enter this challenging field, then you need training and education, but you also should have artistic skills, attention to detail, patience, and people skills. Cake artists need to communicate with clients to make their wishes into something real. You think you have what it takes, but aspiring bakers and pastry artists need training because even small changes to baking recipes could result in disaster.
Baking Requires a Balance Between Science and Art
Chefs show great emotion about food, but bakers must keep their emotions in check in favor of science. Baking demands the right mix of ingredients, or breads become tough, cakes fail to rise, frostings wilt and slide off cakes, and colorful decorations bleed color, destroying artistic designs. You can imagine the consequences of an elaborate wedding cake collapsing for the most demanding bridezilla.
Bakers and pastry chefs take on many duties that often begin in the earliest hours of morning.
- Bakers might oversee kitchen staff, decorators, and service staff.
- Pastry chefs take inventory, order supplies, and often must store heavy bags of grains, flour, sugar, and buckets of frostings.
- Pastry artists might bake any or all of the following: pies, cakes, artisan breads, muffins, brownies, cookies, cobblers, cream puffs, éclairs, and specialty cakes.
- Pastry chefs make frostings, chocolate ganache, fruit compotes, fillings, Bavarian cream, fondant decorations, and other fanciful creations.
- These culinary professionals might also plate desserts to exacting standards.
Baker Career Opportunities
The career outlook for bakers paints a rosy picture according the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Artisan bakeries grow more popular each year, and restaurants like to distinguish their menus by offering exclusive desserts and breads from local bakers.
Culinary institutes, culinary arts schools, community colleges, and cooking schools offer baker programs including associate’s degrees or advanced training leading to master baker. Many bakers work as apprentices while studying, which helps them find betters jobs. Bakers always need some on-the-job training because of the exacting nature of the work. Some schools offer internship programs, and restaurants and businesses offer training for aspiring pastry artists.
Successful education and training could lead to any of the following careers:
- Baker in a large bakery, supermarket, or small neighborhood bakery.
- Knowledge to open you own cake decorating or catering business. You could sell baked goods online, in a retail shop, or at the local farmer’s market.
- Wedding cake artists often concentrate exclusively on baking and decorating these challenging creations.
- You might land a job as baker or pastry chef in a restaurant.
- Hospitals, nursing homes, and other institutions hire bakers with knowledge of good nutrition.
Bakers can usually set schedules without needing to work the late-night hours of other restaurant employees. Most baking occurs in private, so bakers can work casually and talk or listen to music while working. Baking degrees allow you to pursue a stable career that fulfills high customer expectations. Nothing excites consumers more than tempting sweets and beautiful desserts. If you have stamina, artistic skills, a social nature, and good organizational skills, then this career path could offer an exciting future.