Do you know how to become a good pastry chef?
It’s a question that many hopefuls find themselves asking when they consider getting started in pastries.
And the answer is a little hard to pin down. There are a lot of qualities that a good patisserie chef needs to succeed.
One thing that’s a constant however is this: a good patisserie chef needs to hold the relevant certification.
While your sweet tooth drives you to make (and taste!) a variety of cakes and pastries, and that smell of freshly baked bread makes your heart sing, if you want to make it your career, you’ll need to get trained first.
Is being a pastry chef a good career?
What is the difference between a chef and a pastry chef?
Simple: one specialises in all things sweet!
Pastries, desserts, cakes, pies… these are the sorts of things that pastry chefs make on a daily basis. While there’s some overlap, think of yourself as a specialised chef.
And since the food you make is so different, the types of skills and training you’ll need will also differ.
While a lot of the skills overlap, if you want to become a pastry chef, you’ll need to study patisserie specifically to learn the more specialised skills unique to this particular role.
Are pastry chefs in high demand?
It’s important that you love what you do – however, it’s also important that you think about your employment prospects, and consider how feasible a particular career pathway is for you.
Luckily for you, pastry chef isn’t one that you’re going to have to spend considerable amounts of time mulling over!
People love their pastries, cakes and desserts. As such, there’s always going to be demand for pastry chefs, whether it’s from bakeries, restaurants, hotels or elsewhere..
Australia’s hospitality and tourism industry is already massive, with huge demand for hospitality workers including pastry chefs.
This demand is expected to only grow as the economy recovers from COVID, meaning that there are plenty of jobs out there for qualified pastry chefs!
What skills do you need to be a pastry chef?
Naturally, it’s pretty darn important that you have the relevant qualification if you want to become a pastry chef.
However, the certificate isn’t the only thing you’ll need.
Good pastry chefs possess certain skills. While a patisserie course can help build these skills, some people are born with a natural inclination towards these skills.
What sorts of skills are we talking about?
Artistic and creative skills
Desserts aren’t just for eating – they’re also a form of art.
Just take a look at what happens when someone orders a dessert at a restaurant – the first thing they do is marvel at the beautiful piece of art that’s just been placed in front of them.
And the second thing they do is take a photo to share on their socials!
One of the underappreciated skills of a good pastry chef is a flair for style.
You will need to apply your artistic and creative skills when decorating pastries or creating sweets.
Basic baking preparation techniques and food safety practices
Baking is a highly technical profession – thus, it’s key that you have appropriate technical skills.
Creating pastries, desserts, cakes and other yeast-based bakery products requires a range of skills and know-how.
For example, you’ll need to know:
- How to use an industrial oven
- Different techniques and skills
- Types of desserts and flavours
- How ingredients interact with one another
And it isn’t just baking skills themselves, either – a good patisserie chef also knows how to apply basic hygiene requirements when it comes to food handling in order to avoid contamination and ensure safety.
Attention to detail
Baking – and food prep in general, really – will always involve accurate weights and measurements.
As such, pastry chefs need to have a keen eye for all of these details to ensure that anything they make comes out absolutely perfect.
Good pastry chefs are able to monitor these innately, always subconsciously keeping track of how their creation is coming along.
Basic maths skills
Yep, you heard us right!
Measurements are a key part of baking – and what are measurements, if not maths?
This is why solid mathematics skills in baking is an important aspect of making sure that ingredients, ratios and more are done right from the start.
Not only that, but they’re also essential for an owner or manager to perform basic admin tasks such as performing inventory, ordering stock, and tracking your daily revenue!
You won’t always be working on your own – in fact, in most cases, you’ll be working as part of a team in a kitchen and workstation.
As such, it’s crucial that you’re able to communicate effectively.
Good communication doesn’t just ensure that orders are coming out in time and that the oven isn’t clogged – they’re also essential in avoiding injuries and accidents, especially with so many people going around in your typical dessert kitchen.
Make no mistake, excellent communication skills are a must for every pastry chef (and anyone in the kitchen, for that matter!)
Careers as a pastry chef
Suppose you are considering a patisserie career and would like to know how to start a bread / bakery business. In that case, you might be interested in finding out what career opportunities await you after you finish a pastry course…
Pastry shop owner
Do you want to own and run your very own pastry shop?
After finishing a patisserie course, you can dive right into building and managing your pastry shop to create pastries just like you’ve always wanted to.
If you’re the type that loves experimenting with recipes and fiddling around until you find something perfect, then this might be just the role for you!
If you’re big on bread, then studying patisserie might be the perfect step for you to take next!
If it involves baked goods, then working in a bakery might be the perfect career pathway for you.
On top of the standard loaves of bread that people use for toast, you’ll also get to make all sorts of other bread each day.
While the hours might start early, it’s well worth it!
Not all patisserie students go into bakeries and pastry shops – many find themselves working as part of restaurants or hotels as part of their dessert section.
These types of pastry chefs specialise in creating a range of different types of bread, cakes, and other pastries depending on what the restaurant or hotel offers.
There’s never a dull day for students who find themselves working here!
They have an artistic eye in glazing, icing, and decorating pastries and monitoring the right measurement of ingredients before presenting the beautiful finished product.
Pastry sous chef
In some cases, you’re one part of a regular kitchen. In others, the pastry section gets its very own kitchen with a parallel structure.
For venues that follow the second example, you may find yourself working as a pastry sous chef.
Pastry Sous Chef or sub chef is the second in line after executive pastry chefs, and often step in to look after the pastry kitchen when the executive pastry chef isn’t around.
Pastry chefs will need to have knowledge and expertise in creating recipes and menus, ordering supplies, and even handling pastry staffs.
Head/executive pastry chef
After finishing the right patisserie course, you can work your way towards becoming an executive or head pastry chef.
Like the name suggests, Executive Pastry Chefs manage all things relating to pastries and desserts in hotel kitchens, restaurants, cruise liners and more.
Their task is more than just supervising other pastry chefs and staff – their responsibilities also include high-level duties such as menu planning, inventory management, budgeting, hiring decisions and more.
Enrol in our patisserie courses in Brisbane with Academia!
Turn your passion into a rewarding career and invest in your future by enrolling in Academia’s pastry courses in Brisbane.
Academia provides you with the opportunity to complete Certificate III in Patisserie and Certificate IV in Patisserie Brisbane, both of which combine classroom and workshop learning with real-world placements to help you kick-start your career.
Certificate III in Patisserie
Get familiar with working as a pastry chef – this qualification covers all the basics of baking cakes, pastries, desserts and other sweets.
A strong focus on workplace classes as well as a mandatory work placement ensure that you don’t just know your stuff, but that you leave Academia with all the practical experience needed to dive right into a job in a pastry kitchen.
And it isn’t just basic skills, either – this course also covers proper food handling and legal requirements needed to work in any kitchen.
Certificate IV in Patisserie
Once you’ve completed the Certificate III in Patisserie, you can take your career even further by enrolling in the Certificate IV in Patisserie.
This course builds on the Certificate III, preparing you for a leadership and supervisory role in the kitchen, with additional training in:
Upon completion, this course will further allow you to take a course in the Diploma of Hospitality Management.
Find out more when you get in touch with Academia
Are you interested in breaking into this sector? Looking for more information on the right pastry course for you?
Contact Academia’s course advisors today. We’d love to chat to you and help you understand your options.
Get in touch using the details below:
- Fill in this enquiry form online
- Call our Melbourne campus on (03) 9671 4755
- Call our Brisbane campus on (07) 3001 5300
Ready to apply? You can do so here