Careers for Bakers

Careers for Bakers

Careers in the food business don’t always follow the traditional path that starts at a cooking school, leads to an apprenticeship, and ends in the management of a medium-sized restaurant. Some culinary degrees give their holders opportunities in a variety of career paths.

Below are just a few career paths open to those with baking and pastry degrees.

Pastry Chef

The top pastry schools can teach you a broad range of skills and techniques, and can help you develop a certain spirit unique to pastry chefs and bakers. You'll rise early to spend a long day on your feet, kneading dough, or creating eye-catching sugar decorations.

A pastry chef is an expert in baked goods and desserts, including cakes, chocolates, bread, and cheeses. A recent, job-attracting must-have skill is the ability to use molecular gastronomy gadgets, like induction burners. Of course, you also need to know how to use classic tools of the trade like food processors.

Other skills employers look for in pastry chefs include the ability to do extensive research, develop new recipes, and take action to move the business of the restaurant forward (for example, creating new drink pairings with desserts).

The job of a pastry chef doesn’t just involve making desserts. You’re often asked to manage a staff, choose products and tools, or help develop an overall image. You may work as the restaurant manager or the materials buyer. Or you might be hired freelance for a single product, such as an expensive bejeweled and flowered wedding cake.

Bakery Owner

You don’t have to be a pastry or baking expert to own a bakery but there’s no question it’s a huge advantage. The sheer number of tasks related to owning this type of business may overwhelm those without experience or insight into properly baked goods.

Bakery workers have to be incredibly talented, dedicated, loyal, and maintain recipe continuity.

Owning a bakery involves buying goods, including ingredients and tools. And you'll also need local marketplace knowledge. If bakeries within a short radius offer cheaper, tastier fare, you’re in trouble.

If you’re thinking about becoming a bakery owner, you need proper business skills. First, decide which type of bakery you want to own (cupcakes only? organic? commercial?), and make sure there is a demand for that specific sort of bakery. After you've surveyed what else is out there and researched trends, you'll need to create a long-term business plan that considers insurance (fire, theft), real estate, publicity and design.

Caterer

A caterer plans, makes, transports and serves food for meetings, parties, weddings, organizational fêtes, and a host of other events. Some caterers specialize in baked goods and pastries.

The baking-specific skills you can learn in culinary school, such as proper standards for food safety, nutrition, and venue preparation, are essential for any caterer. You'll determine, down to exact quantities, the amount of ingredients you need for each serving, and you'll also need to successfully replicate taste and presentation hundreds, if not thousands, of times.

Good business skills are essential to running a catering company. Manage your catering staff carefully, communicate effectively with your clients, and set fair prices to establish a good reputation.

See this article on catering from our sister site, HospitalitySchools.com, for more information.

Bakery Scientist

At its heart, baking is a science.Chemical reactions in a controlled environment cause bread to rise. Cakes depend on tried-and-true formulas of fat to flour and sugar.

Bakery scientists create new bread items, such as low-carb breads, fat-free frostings, shelf-stable pastries, and more. The products these food scientsists create are usually made for mass production, and so shelf life, and the effects of boxing or refrigeration, must also be considered.

As a bakery scientist, you'll work with a team in food preparation, and also be expected to take part in meetings with marketing and other business executives. You may be asked to create analytical data reports, help maintain the efficiency of the lab, and transfer new ideas into working recipes that can be easily replicated by lower-level chefs.

Bakery scientists may work at a major food ingredient development company like Cargill or a food retailer like McDonald’s. The core of this position involves creating menus, sourcing food, and constantly experimenting to meet company goals and satisfy customer taste.

Find baking and pastry chef jobs on Monster.com »

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