What Education Does a Pastry Chef Need and Where Can I Obtain It?
You might think that becoming a pastry chef involves little more than a few cookbooks. What you might not know is that becoming a professional pastry chef requires an in-depth knowledge of the science of baking, as well as the economics of running your own establishment. Baking pastries for a living is a challenge, but it's one than a formal education can help you overcome. That's right: if you want to open a bakery, you might want to consider going back to school first.
Here are some of the reasons you might want to think about going to school before becoming a baker.
Baking is a science, and school can help
While you don't need to be a physicist to bake well, understanding what happens to your pastries during the baking process is essential to making them well, time and time again. In a bakery setting, you don't get the advantage of trial and error. Once you open your doors to the public, they will expect you to deliver perfect baked goods, every time.
A classroom is actually a great place to learn about how to bake specific goods before trying your hand in the kitchen. In a formal education setting, you also won't be left scratching your head if you can't get a cake or pie to turn out just right; with the help of an instructor, you can easily figure out what changes need to be made to create perfect baked goods.
Being a pastry chef is tough; going to school can help prepare you
Whether you're working in someone else's establishment or starting your own bakery, there are a lot of challenges to consider if you want to be a pastry chef. While it's tempting to consider just learning on the job, doing so might unnecessarily cost you valuable years of your career.
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, bakers usually can expect a long-term on the job training period when they begin their careers. Having an in-depth understanding of baking, the kind that a formal education brings, can help give you an edge as you start looking for jobs. When you enter the job market with more knowledge and skills than others competing for the same jobs, you give yourself a significant advantage.
You also have to consider the many risks that come with owning a bakery. Whether it's keeping track of health and safety requirements or managing growth in a competitive market, owning a bakery is a big challenge, and you can use any advantage you can find.
A formal education won't just teach you how to bake; it will give you a community of connections who can offer advice and input after you've graduated. It could also give you opportunities immediately after graduation, such as externships, that might give you valuable workplace experience at the start of your career.
Having a diverse skill set will help you succeed
If you are hoping to start your own business, getting a formal education in baking and pastry arts can go a long way to helping your bakery thrive. In a formal program, you can more easily learn many recipes than you would be able to learn on your own. The bigger your repertoire of recipes, the wider a range of customers you can serve. It's easier to figure out what customers really want to buy when you have more options to serve them.
Are you interested in becoming a baker? If you want to earn an Associate of Applied Science Degree in Baking and Pastry Arts, ECPI University's Culinary Institute of Virginia offers this program at an accelerated pace. For more information on this exciting degree, connect with a helpful admissions officer today.
It could be the Best Decision You Ever Make!
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Gainful Employment Information – Baking & Pastry Arts – Associate's