What is a pastry chef?
A pastry chef is someone who is schooled and skilled in the creation of pastries, desserts, bread and other baked goods. Compared to bakers, pastry chefs produce on a smaller and per-order basis, rather than large volumes.
A pastry chef creates recipes, often from scratch. These recipes require a high level of creativity and extensive experience in the pastry field. Since pastry recipes require accuracy, the pastry chef must write concise measurements and detailed instructions. In addition, the pastry chef is responsible for ensuring that every ingredient and food item is fresh and ready to use.
Pastry chefs are responsible for overseeing the pastry team and for performing administrative duties within the kitchen. In smaller kitchens, the pastry chef handles all the preparatory work. In a larger kitchen, the pastry assistant or pastry cook handles these duties. Other responsibilities include taking ingredient inventory, monitoring equipment and managing pastry department staff.
Preparing pastries and desserts requires more precision, technical skill and scientific knowledge than any other type of cooking. Many receive their pastry chef education and training on-the-job, through pastry-making apprenticeships or formal training such as a culinary certificate program.
Traditionally, most pastry chefs were employed in restaurants, where they work closely with the executive chef to create recipes that complement the day’s savory items. Today an increasing number of pastry chefs are venturing out on their own with upscale pastry shops or dessert-only eateries.