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How To Earn a Pastry Chef Apprenticeship



How To Earn a Pastry Chef Apprenticeship

If you have artistic abilities and a love for baking, then becoming a pastry chef may be a good career choice for you. Since pastry chefs need to know many recipes and baking techniques, it can be useful to enroll in a culinary program that focuses on pastries. Apprenticeships for pastry chefs can help you develop your baking and cooking skills and also improve your job outlook as a pastry chef. In this article, we explain what a pastry chef is and how you can get a pastry chef apprenticeship.

What is a pastry chef?

A pastry chef is a culinary professional who specializes in creating breads, sweets, and desserts such as cakes, cupcakes, cookies, pies, chocolates and candies. A pastry chef can work in many different settings such as a bakery, hotel, restaurant, grocery store, bistro, cafe, convention center, catering company or private home.

As a pastry chef, you need to be prepared to work irregular hours and be on your feet most of the day. Since many bakeries open early, you may need to work early mornings regularly. It’s important to pay attention to your surroundings to ensure the safety of yourself and others. Hot stoves and slippery floors are safety hazards that chefs can avoid with the proper precautions.

A pastry check is commonly responsible for the following tasks:

  • Preparing baked goods

  • Decorating baked goods

  • Creating dessert menus

  • Creating recipes

  • Training and overseeing other pastry chefs or line cooks

  • Working with clients to create cakes and other baked goods for weddings, birthdays or other special events

  • Keeping a clean work station

  • Preparing samples for tastings

  • Maintaining inventory and ingredients

  • Following food safety procedures

Skills a pastry chef needs to be successful

Become a more qualified pastry chef by developing these skills:

Artistic abilities

Along with being a skilled baker, you need to have the artistic abilities to make your creations look presentable. A pastry chef needs a steady hand for things such as piping, using floral wire, creating pulled sugar, airbrushing and other important pastry decorating techniques.

Good memory

During busy times in the kitchen, you may not have time to consult your recipe book. It’s useful for pastry chefs to have a sharp memory to recall many different recipes. A good memory is also useful for when many orders are coming in, so you can keep track of them all.


A pastry chef often leads other pastry chefs or line cooks in their area of the kitchen. This is especially true if you aspire to open your own bakery or bistro. You need management skills to effectively delegate work, meet deadlines, assist customers and have enough ingredients in stock.

Technical knowledge

While baking, you need to operate ovens, mixers and other culinary machinery. It’s important that you have the technical knowledge to use these things correctly. For instance, professional-grade ovens have many settings, and it’s important that you know what each setting does.

Time management

Every recipe takes a certain amount of time to prepare, bake and decorate. Time management skills help you plan for each of these tasks, so you can get your baked goods to your customers on time. You also need to be able to adjust your workflow during busier times such as dinner rushes.


You need to have patience as pastries bake, even if you are experiencing a heavy workload. It’s important that you allow enough time for desserts to fully cook, so patrons can safely enjoy what they order. You also need to have patience when training new staff, since they are less experienced than you and may ask many questions.

The salary of a pastry chef

The national average salary for a pastry chef is $14.81 per hour. The salary of a pastry chef can vary by work setting, specialty, experience and location. For the most up-to-date salary information from Indeed, click on the salary link.

In a full-time pastry chef position, you may receive benefits such as paid time off, annual bonuses and health care. Many pastry chefs also receive free food and drinks while at work.

According to the United States Bureau of Labor Statistics, the job outlook for bakers is supposed to grow 6% from 2018 to 2028, which is as fast as the average rate of growth for all occupations. As the demand for specialty baked products increases, bakers with years of work experience are more likely to have better job opportunities.

The benefits of completing a pastry chef apprenticeship

A pastry chef needs a minimum of a high school diploma or GED to be qualified for this position. Some employers may also require you to complete an apprenticeship for pastry chefs. With additional education, you can learn more about the profession and improve your job prospects. Upon graduation from a pastry chef apprenticeship, you may be more qualified for the following job titles:

  • Pastry chef

  • Executive pastry chef

  • Pastry cook

  • Cake decorator

  • Baking sales representative

  • Production supervisor

  • Operations manager

  • Training specialist

How to earn a pastry chef apprenticeship

Follow these steps to earn a pastry chef apprenticeship:

Choose a program.

Pastry chef apprenticeship programs consist of coursework and on-the-job training. Technical schools, colleges and culinary schools offer apprenticeship training that you can combine with a diploma, certificate or degree program. You could also enroll in a professional program to complete your apprenticeship.

Each program is of a different length. If you prefer accelerated learning, looking into a diploma or certificate program since they usually last 12 months. If you want a more in-depth educational experience, enroll in an associate degree or bachelor’s degree program. Associate degree programs typically last one to two years, and bachelor’s degree programs last four years.

Every school has different requirements for its application process. Many programs prefer candidates with a high school diploma or GED, restaurant or other relevant culinary experience and recommendations from teachers or chefs you have worked with.

Complete coursework.

Programs are designed to teach students the basics of food storage and sanitation, food purchasing, food preparation methods and portion control. During your program, you’re likely to take courses in the following subjects:

  • Food safety

  • Baking

  • Culinary math

  • Menu planning

  • Nutrition

  • Culinary arts

It’s important to be a diligent student because much of your coursework directly applies to the hands-on work you will be doing. Things such as food safety and food preparation are an integral part of providing a good dining experience for patrons. Employers want pastry chefs who can bake delicious pastries while also following food safety procedures.

Fulfill on-the-job requirements.

During your program, you need to complete a certain amount of hands-on work hours. You earn these hours by working with a participating restaurant, bakery, club, hotel, resort or any other applicable institution. You work under the supervision of a trained professional pastry chef or executive chef. This portion of your education helps you learn how to handle culinary tools and follow recipes. It also prepares you for your first job as a pastry chef.

While working as an apprentice pastry chef, your supervisor assigns you to more basic culinary tasks. As you progress through the program, they introduce you to more complex tasks. For complex tasks, you typically work with the chef to assist them. They may also assign you to a particular task for the day to help you develop your skills in a specific area. For example, your supervisor could assign you to bread baking to help you learn how to follow recipes, mix ingredients and operate a professional-grade oven properly.

Some of the tasks you may be responsible for as an apprentice pastry chef include the following:

  • Portioning ingredients

  • Organizing equipment and tools

  • Mixing batter or dough

  • Decorating cakes and pastries


How To Earn a Pastry Chef Apprenticeship

How To Earn a Pastry Chef Apprenticeship

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