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What kind of schooling does it take to become a professional pastry chef or regular chef?

Is it going to take some fancy school to get to where I want to be? Does it have to be such an expensive school in order to get ahead most of the people becoming chefs?

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Chris’s Answer

Culinary school will help you learn the basics and get where you want to be faster. In regards to culinary school you will get out of it what you put into it.
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Will’s Answer

No fancy school required. I know many successful pastry arts chefs that actually graduated from my local technical college WCTC and have gotten jobs straight out of the program. Obviously more upperclass programs like Culinary Institute of America could get you better connections as compared to your local technical college's program, but if you just want to stay local and get in the biz you don't have to shoot for the stars. There are plenty of jobs, all you need is experience and any formal education will do.

Will recommends the following next steps:

Find a related job in the specific area you want to be in. For example, I'm trying to get into BBQ so I've been working at a soul food restaurant. If you want to get into pastry arts apply to a local bakery. Groceries could be a good place to look.
Get some sort of education according to your means. If you don't have the money I'd just go to your local technical college's program.
Be a successful baker. :)
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Howard’s Answer

It does not take an expensive school. But it does require education. Find a school you can afford, look at junior colleges and trade schools. You can find some online certificate classes via the American Culinary Federation and National Restaurant Association. You also need to decide which career you like more. Pastry Chef or Chef. They both have similar training. But pastry is more specialized and includes baking and pastry. That being said an Executive chef needs to know all stations in a kitchen including pastry. Work in both areas and see which one you like more. Then taylor you education around that choice.
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Michel’s Answer

Move to a major metropolitan area and work at the best restaurants.
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RACHEL’s Answer

Very valid questions you have here.

The short answer...
Train with, learn from, and study alongside chefs, schools, and food establishments that are doing what you want to do.



The long answer....
Where you want to be is a factor.
Do you want to run a business, or do you want to work for someone else?


Hands on experience allows you to work your way into becoming a chef.


Schooling is intended to help you be equipped to be a chef.
It is intended to directly educate you, train you, skill you, connect you, and prepare you to understand the workings, operations, business, and being chef.

Whatever you choose, combination, one, or the other, work is involved, and what you make of it does matter.



Schooling does not have to be expensive, nor fancy, to get you where you want to be.
There are so many options available: universities, local colleges, trade and technical schools, apprenticeship opportunities, and more including hands on learning experience.


Pastry chefs tend to focus more on pastry confections, such as artisan breads, or chocolates.
Other chefs may focus on a specialized cooking style, such as grilling, or a specific cuisine, such as Mediterranean, or a lifestyle such as veganism.

RACHEL recommends the following next steps:

Consider where you actually want to reach in life.
Consider what type of chef reasonates most with who you are.
Make plans that lead you to where you want to be in life.
Consider choosing training options that allow you to learn, grow, build, connect with your vision, and obtain your intentions.
Continue to be encouraged along the path you have chosen, or accepted, and enjoy the journey.
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