Job Title: Pastry Chef/Manager
Type of Company: I work for a retail and wholesale food service.
Education: Middlesex Community College Delpin's Gourmandise School of Pastry Serve Safe Sanitation Certification
Previous Experience: I worked in restaurants my entire working life before I decided to go to school to become a chef.
Job Tasks: I produce pastry for wholesale and retail sales. I oversee employees, create production schedules and run the facility. I have to maintain stock, supplies and keep an eye on inventory. I have to stay on top of the freshness and rotation of all my supplies and finished products. I have to organize all the orders for wholesale. We must always be ready for walk-in health inspections. I take care of all customer service issues through out the day. I am responsible for cashing out all the daily sales at the end of the day.
Best and Worst Parts of the Job: The best part of my job? It is a lot of fun to cook for a living. There aren't many people who can say they turned their hobby in to a career.
The worst part is all the extra hours needed around the holidays. The long hours are really hard on your body (physically) and you miss out on a lot of the holiday joys with friends and family. It is an on-your-feet type of job and the conditions are not always the greatest. The kitchen is hot, especially in the summer. The pastry department in many kitchens is often the smallest area, sometimes only getting a small table in the corner and a shelf or two in the fridge. Pastry chefs are often called in to the kitchen to help out during a rush but usually don't get a lot of help when they need it. During cut-backs, the pastry chef is often let go because the chefs usually have at least some basic training in pastry and can usually make something to pass off on a daily basis.
Job Tips: You don't need to go to an expensive school to get your foot in the door. You absolutely have to work your way from the ground up. There might be a handful of people who make good money, but the average pay is not great. Don't waste your money on Culinary Institute of America or Johnson and Wales. You probably won't be able to pay off your student loans!!
Additional Thoughts: This is a VERY physical job. You are on your feet all day long and all the equipment and supplies are very heavy (think 100 pound bags of flour and sugar). I have major back injuries due to the nature of business.
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