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What is the daily work life of a pastry chef like? What is the hardest part of the job?

I am a shy person who likes to read and play games and have been interested in pastry since I was little. #chef #pastry

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Dada’s Answer

Hello Aric ,
First thing a chef needs is to be able to do set kitchen station clean as they begin working & being a chef in kitchen is to multi-task or, in other words, do multiple people’s jobs all at once.
Mostly you end up with11-12 hours long Shifts.
Chef spends long hours standing and working with sharp knives, hot pans, and open flames simultaneously maintaining a positive and professional environment with staff members as chefs will mostly end up working minimum of 10-11 hours making the kitchen functioning smoothly.
chef requires a lot of different talents (one including basic food knowledge) but it also requires that you have passion, and understanding that this job will probably take more from you than you will take from it .
Chefs job is to cook dishes according to the menu or as requested by guests, always maintaining a quality level that meets the standards of the establishment and the Head Chef; Using kitchen utensils, tools, and cooking methods proficiently;
producing high-quality food taste wise and displaying creativity and adavanced culinary techniques and keeping up with the latest culinary trends.
As you keep exploring more into this part of culinary world - there are millions of smiles & Appreciation that comes from your Guests/Customers , that slight pat on the shoulder from your peers , not to forget the wide variety of cuisines you ponder upon is never ending

Cheers Aric !
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Emily’s Answer

The daily life can look very different depending on what type of Pastry you want to pursue.

If you work as a baker , chances are you will have very early morning starts (sometimes around 3-4 AM). Bread takes time because it needs to rise and prove, so day at work might involve mixing doughs, proving doughs, shaping and weighing breads to the correct size, and then baking. Bread making can be very labor intensive to the arms and shoulders because doughs can be very heavy and require a lot of manipulation.

Working in a patisserie or bakery that does more than just bread can sometimes expand to other types of pastry. (Although many times workers will be schedule to an "expertise" and stick with an area for most days) Think about a breakfast cafe that has breads, danishes, cookies, bars, and other goodies in a glass case- kind of like Panera. Not only do they need bread bakers, but they also need people to make all the sweets and desserts. Many times companies like this will hire a bread person to come in VERY early, and then another shift may start around 5-6 am for someone to make the desserts.

There are also places like cake shops that focus only on cupcakes/cakes and this will take a person who is more focused on just cake decorating and baking. You don't need to be as familiar with all the different kinds of pastries, but usually need to be very skilled in the decorating aspects.

Another place you could be a Pastry chef is at a fine dining restaurant. There are many kinds of restaurants, some are open all day, some are open only for dinner, some have 50 seats, some have 300 seats. All the restaurants will run a bit differently, but typically smaller restaurants will have 0-1 pastry chefs. Sometimes, there is not a demand great enough to hire a pastry chef full time, so a cook may be hired to do BOTH pastry AND savory vegetables. Sometimes a restaurant will hire a pastry chef to come in and make bread in the morning, and then prep desserts in the afternoon, and then the pastry chef will end their day before dinner service starts. This means the pastry chef will not likely be there to plate the food, and someone else from the team will do that. They will just make sure that everything is ready. If a restaurant don't need bread a pastry chef could also be asked to come in and prep desserts as well as stay and plate during service. These shifts normally start around 1-2 pm and go until 10-11 pm when the restaurant closes.

Lastly, one other major areas where pastry chefs are hired is in hotels. Hotels have conferences, meetings, restaurants, other guests.. a whole hodge podge of different kinds of orders. Therefore, you could be making all different kinds of goods, some high end fancy plated desserts or some simple cake slices arranged on a buffet plate.

The best part about this job is that clearly there are so many options for work. The down side is that this is a specialized field. Many places will want to hire a cook that can do both savory AND sweet, and so sometimes you must work a little harder to prove yourself. Working in a large restaurant that has an entire pastry team is very rewarding and a great way to learn. The other hard part, is across the board- if you work in the food/hospitality industry you must consider that most of our hours are nights, weekends, and holidays. Sometimes the hardest part is missing out on special occasions and friends who have normal 9-5 jobs.