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Where should a high school student seeking to become a pastry chef start?

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5 answers

Morgan’s Answer

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Check for a technical school. There certainly should be at least one in NYC!

I went to one that housed many different career paths: Computer Networking, culinary arts, auto repair, and hairstyling to name a few, and this was during high school in Virginia.

Don't worry - There's also a great chance they will take you if you've graduated as well.
Thank you for the advice! Rachel C.
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Gregory’s Answer

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Rachel,

There are many different paths you can take in the pastry world. Technical schools and community colleges can be a good option if you opt for one that has a very good reputation. I have been very fortunate to work with some great pastry chefs and most of them got their start with on the job training. High end hotels offer a wide array of techniques and you will be exposed to so much in a short period of time because of the different outlets ie... banquets, plated desserts in the restaurant, chocolate work, baking, pastry, etc.... Once you have been exposed to a wider net of what career paths are open to you, then maybe consider a specialized 6 month to 2 year program in chocolate work, bread baking, sugar work, french pastry, etc. Of course, staging/trailing is a very good practice if you can afford to work for free for short periods of time because it will again expose you to more in your field. Write everything down and fill up your notebooks. Find a chef that you genuinely feel a connection to, either to their style of cooking or approach to food, and stay with them and ask for their guidance. Mentorship is very important to a young cook and it is important to work for someone that you can respect, learn from, and are willing to teach.

Hope this helps
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Adrian’s Answer

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Hi Rachel,

Honestly if your in high school your at the perfect time to start this process. Cooking is very simple in that the more you cook the more you learn. As a trade the only real challenge is failing and to keep going. Pastry is very specific, it requires a very detailed attention span. You must not cut corners and ad we say in the business as you do one thing you do everything. Just try to learn basics and take a lot of notes or keep a journal. Also if you are of age and can it’s always best to take a intern job or if you can work for free at a local pastry shop or some baking store to help learn about kitchens and how things go always pays back in the end. If you have anymore questions please feel free to reach out to me I’ve been a chef for 13 years. Became an executive chef when I was 26 years old and have received numerous awards for cooking. Would love to help any way I can. Hope this helps! 💪🏼
Thank you! Rachel C.
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Jack’s Answer

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Rachel,
Start by getting into a high school culinary program. Then to see if you like the culinary field get a job in working in a kitchen. The pastry end of the culinary world is a small part of of a bigger picture. You have many avenues to go within pastry. Working in a club hotel or a bakery. All of the different jobs the you can do as a pastry chef will vary depending on where you work, and what they do. Example working in a bakery you could be a bread maker or you could work as a cake decorator. I worked in a large government office and had a full time baker that worked 9 pm to 5 am and just did doughnuts and breakfast pastries. As you start your journey do not limit your path do different jobs to see what is your passion. After you find it then start to become the best that you can be.
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Sean’s Answer

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paris
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