How to become a pastry chef?

I’m currently writing a series of posts on how to become a pastry chef.

What it involves on a day to day basis, what we do – whether we work in restaurants, pâtisseries, hotels, or even caterers, which paths we took to reach our dreams

So if you have any questions that need answering, please ask away in the comment section!

27 thoughts on “How to become a pastry chef?

  • Cindy October 19, 2011 at 10:36 am

    Coucou !!
    I will follow this serie thoroughly!

  • mary October 19, 2011 at 11:17 am

    cela m’intéresse énormément car je suis à l’aube d’une reconversion professionnelle et dans une phase de doute concernant notamment l’investissement financier (très terre à terre mais passage obligatoire)

  • Céline October 19, 2011 at 2:11 pm

    Je suis contente que vous ayez crée cette rubrique!
    Est-il possible d’intégrer des écoles de pâtisseries même si on est plus âgée que la moyenne (vers les 23 ans), et si oui, est-ce qu’il est ensuite facile de trouver des stages ou du travail lors de sa formation?

    Et en moyenne, combien de temps par jour est-ce-que vous travaillez en général?

    Merci d’avance :)

  • qmmf October 19, 2011 at 5:03 pm

    GREAT!!!

  • Lucia October 19, 2011 at 6:32 pm

    Wow, gorgeous! Which schools do you recommend?

  • sweetmaddy October 19, 2011 at 9:00 pm

    Est-ce qu’il est nécessaire qu’on fait les choses ensuites:

    -aller a l’école pour la pâtisserie
    -memoriser les recepts comme les chefs sur “Top Chef”

    pour avoir le succes dans la pâtisserie (comme ouvrir une pâtisserie, par exemple)?

    Désolée pour la mauvais français! J’apprend le français maintenant!

    Merci! J’attend cette rubrique :)

  • Joanne October 20, 2011 at 12:25 am

    I’d like to know if there is a difference between working in a hotel or in a patisserie? Is the work in a hotel easier or harder than that at a patisserie? Also, do you have to be able to lift 20 kilos of heavy bags of sugar, flour, etc. as a pastry chef in a hotel?

  • Mary October 20, 2011 at 2:56 am

    what are the basic skills a pastry chef should have in the kitchen? or, what are the main products that a pastry chef should master really well before becoming a real pastry chef? (given that it’s an autodidact pastry chef that doesn’t go to culinary school before) merci! :)

  • Nada October 20, 2011 at 6:04 am

    Bonne idee, j’en ai besoin!

  • Kat October 20, 2011 at 8:39 pm

    I’m so glad you’re doing this post!

    I am wondering if it is possible to get a job in a patisserie JUST being a self-taught pastry chef, or are patisseries going to want credentials like pastry school to get hired?

    Also, yes please, tell us all about the life of a pastry chef, getting up at 3am, the stresses of the job etc…

  • maru October 20, 2011 at 8:39 pm

    Hello! I love your blog! And the brioche recipe :)

    I would like to know how you learn to use different quantities of milk, butter, eggs, flour, etc, and know what kind of cake (for example) you will get.

    For example: a cake with 5 eggs will be more … than one with 2 eggs.

    Do you learn these kind of things? Where? How? Books?

    Thank you!

  • Lia October 20, 2011 at 9:28 pm

    Hi! Been a long time reader of your blog, just wanted to say thanks for doing this, I’d definitely be reading :) One question: a lot of people tell me that it’s difficult to be a pastry chef – long hours, waking up at 5, low pay, hard to get a job at all. Is this all true?

    Thanks again!

  • Vivian October 21, 2011 at 3:50 am

    I find pastry arts incredibly fascinating. It moves my heart. Since I will be going off to college next year, I’ve had lots of trouble deciding what to major in and hence, what colleges I want to go to.

    I’m considering going to school to learn pastry arts, or at least do a double major, but my parents have quite a few reservations about being a pastry chef, mainly because they are worried that I won’t make a good living (b/c it is not a “practical” job) and that I’m wasting my “academic abilities.”

    I don’t know for certain that I want to be a pastry chef, and right now I don’t see myself working in a fast-paced restaurant kitchen. I don’t know about opening my own business in the future either.

    I feel pretty lost right now, so I definitely need some insight from someone who knows what it’s like to be a pastry chef.

  • Sinead October 21, 2011 at 6:36 am

    Hi Fanny,

    I am 35 years old, living in Amsterdam and seriously considering retraining as a pastry chef.

    What training route would you recommend?

    How are fast-track intensive CAP Patiserrie courses such as this

    http://www.formationconseil-alainducasse.com/en/training-education/training-centers/ecole-nationale-superieure-de-la-patisserie

    perceived in industry? Are they a genuine route into patisserie? Or seen more for hobbyists with some time and money?

    If you were me, how would you start again? Am I too old?

    Thanks in advance! Love your blog!

    Sinead

    Thanks my lovelies for all your questions. I make sure they each get answered in the series of posts. And ps. it makes my heart so happy to know so many of you want to become pastry chefs. xx

  • Delphine October 22, 2011 at 4:12 pm

    Ca m’intéresse aussi, je pense que si je rate mon année de droit ce sera école de pâtisserie… je voudrais donc savoir, par exemple, comment faire pour choisir la meilleure, quel investissement cela représente… Chouette article en prévision :) Bises !

  • Laura October 24, 2011 at 9:40 pm

    YAY! Very interesting!
    What are the most common obstacles and some beautiful things of this experience?
    Thank you for sharing this!

  • Jessica October 25, 2011 at 2:44 pm

    A few questions for you:
    1) Do you find the profession to be really male-dominated and somewhat unfriendly to women at all? Do your experiences in this differ from France versus UK?
    2) How difficult do you think it would be to work in pastry if your significant other had a normal 9-5 job?
    3) Not to be nosy, but it is a question of mine–pay scales for hotels versus restaurants in Europe.

    I’m in pastry school right now, even though I’m still not sure about what to do in the future. I do have quite a few concerns about this profession even though I love being in the kitchen.

    Thanks as well for this series!
    xo

  • anna-lena grünewald October 27, 2011 at 10:05 am

    hello fanny,

    this section comes just in time. i’m currently struggling with myself, if starting a second career as a patissière.
    my question is, if courses like the basic patisserie course of e.g. le cordon bleu are well accepted or more a way to get better amateur skills.

    thank you very much in advance,
    anna

  • stella October 27, 2011 at 2:07 pm

    i really appreciate all the effort you put into your blog because i follow it religiously :) i think it’s awesome you’re doing a series on becoming pastry chef because it’s something i’ve considered for a while since i’m kind of obsessed with baking. just curious, how do you keep yourself motivated because like any job, routine becomes drudgery after a while…

  • Elizabeth November 5, 2011 at 9:21 am

    Hello!
    I am currently studying Accounting but it has been my dream to study pastry and I am planning to after my Bachelor’s. I am surprised to see that there are many more uncertain of their career choices! I have heard that working in pastry is very different from baking at home. How so? I was thinking of getting a part-time job in a bakery or trying to get a stage in order to see if I would like it. Is it possible to get a stage without having studied in pastry school? I am also worried that many of the jobs I’ll get will be more customer service instead of the actual baking…

    And btw, thank you for doing this section! It will be a great help for many of us!

  • Marco November 10, 2011 at 4:26 am

    Salut Fanny. Je reste à Montréal (Québec) et je suis cuisinier depuis environ 8 ans. J’ai fait mon cours et je travaille présentement dans un bistro et j’adore. J’ai cependant toujours eu un penchant pour la pâtisserie et je dois admettre que ton blog ne fait que l’attiser et je me demandais si l’environnement de travail d’une pâtisserie est similaire à celui d’une cuisine. Y a-t-il un “rush” comme il peut y avoir dans un restaurant au lunch/souper? A-t-on besoin d’un diplôme pour être embauché dans une bonne pâtisserie ou quelconque poste de pâtissier dans un hôtel ou grand restaurant? Aussi, ça peut peut-être semblé stupide comme question mais est-ce un domaine dominé par les femmes comme on pourrait le croire? Car hônnetement, je vais très rarement dans une pâtisserie, j’ai plus tendance à faire mes desserts moi-même!

    Merci beaucoup et j’attends ta réponse. Je dois ajouter que ton blog est sincèrement incroyable, tant au niveau des recettes que tu y écris que de la façon dont tu nous les “racontes”. J’espère que tu n’arrêteras jamais d’écrire, et de faire des bonnes pâtisseries!

    Marco

  • A. November 30, 2011 at 3:31 pm

    I am applying to pastry school in Paris as we speak and just saw this (I’ve been a faithful follower for awhile now). This is lovely of you and a brilliant idea. Wish me luck in being accepted and I have many of the same questions as those above. All the best xx

  • Suji Won December 17, 2011 at 2:39 am

    I’m excited for this! I hope I can learn the basics of baking everything :)

  • Esther December 30, 2011 at 11:44 am

    What kind of education do you really need?
    Thank you for doing this, it really helps us out!

    Esther

  • Sinead February 6, 2012 at 2:51 pm

    Hey Fanny,

    Could you say when you’ll be publishing your posts on becoming a pastry chef? Life is busy, I understand. Thanks!

    Hopefully soon. I’ve started writing them but it takes aaaaages :(

  • Maike February 24, 2012 at 3:34 pm

    Hello! I’m studying in a culinary institute in Chile, and I wonder if it is nessesary to speak french to be able to do an internship in a pastry un France? It’s my dream to get an internship like you did, but i’m concerned about managing the lenguage…

  • Tyler April 4, 2012 at 5:28 am

    Hello!

    Firstly, I just wanted to say that your blog is so very wonderful. It’s one of my guaranteed de-stressers and just such a joy to be able to explore.
    Secondly, I was wondering if you could talk a bit about the health costs associated with pursuing the career of a pastry chef? My mother worked in the restaurant industry for decades and says it involves a great deal of standing up for hours on end, which can eventually lead to health issues such as varicose veins and the like. I’m really interested in becoming a pastry chef but I think before I do I should be fully aware of the health risks I’m facing with committing myself to a life in the pastry industry.

    Thank you so much,

    Tyler

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