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Job Description for a Pastry Cook

Many people like to top off a great meal with an even greater desert. A pastry cook, also known as a "patissier," is a culinary professional who specializes in preparing succulent, sweet, end-of-meal treats. The job description for a pastry cook reveals how these chefs compare to other chefs and what a person needs to do to embark on a pastry cook career.

Duties

Careerplanner.com, Reluctantgourmet.com, and job descriptions from Bindi North America Inc. and Brookshire Grocery Company all indicate that the main duty of pastry cooks is to prepare cakes, cookies, pies, puddings and other deserts. This may involve working with appliances like ovens and electric mixers, combining ingredients, shaping dough and blending colors. Pastry cooks also organize the kitchen, gather and stock ingredients, and plan desert menus. They must follow Occupational Safety and Health Administration guidelines on cleanliness and sanitation. Some pastry cooks have supervisory responsibilities, depending on the size of the kitchen. They also may be required to establish a pastry budget and build relationships with vendors.

Salary

Simplyhired.com indicates that a pastry cook makes an average of $22,000 annually. Salarylist.com places the average wage higher, at just over $28,700. Wages may be influenced by experience: Reluctantgourmet.com says an experienced pastry cook may earn as much as $60,000 a year.

Work Environment

Pastry cooks may work in small shops or in large restaurants. Culinaryschools.com says pastry chefs must be on their feet for long hours, and that shifts often start extremely early, e.g., 3:00 a.m., so that pastries will be fresh for morning customers. Some lifting is required. Pastry chefs routinely are exposed to equipment or ingredients that, if handled improperly, may result in injuries such as burns. However, pastry chefs enjoy having an environment in which creativity is encouraged.

Skills

Culinaryschools.com emphasizes that pastry cooks need to be detail-oriented and creative. In addition to being able to work quickly and multitask, pastry cooks should have good customer service skills. They should be able to communicate well with supervisors and assistants, as production can suffer if communication breaks down.

Education

According to Reluctantgourmet.com, an aspiring pastry cook needs a minimum of a culinary diploma or a certificate in pastry cooking. These usually take a year to attain. More options open up if a person gets an associate's degree. For those who intend to have management roles, the best option is a bachelor's or an advanced degree.



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