Gaining a qualification in baking and pastry isn’t completely necessary to make your living as a chef or cook, but it sure does help. With the rise in popular TV programs such as Masterchef, Come Dine with Me and the like, the life of a chef is not only in fashion but can pay handsomely as well. No wonder so many people are dusting off their apron strings and heading to the kitchen to see exactly what they can create. However, just because you can bake a mean birthday cake or rustle up a meal for friends and family doesn’t mean that you’re set to get a job in the restaurant or catering trade. And that’s where attending a baking and pastry school can give you the much needed advantage over those who’ve not bothered to gain a qualification.

What are baking & pastry courses all about?
Enrolling in one of the many baking and pastry colleges is the first step you need to gain that cherished restaurant chef position. Working in a top class kitchen as a chef is a position that hundreds of thousands of people aspire to, and that’s the reason you need to make sure you have the necessary qualifications to succeed. Because there are so many aspects to baking and pastry, it’s vital that you learn not only how to create your masterpieces, but that you learn to create them on a large scale. After all, you won’t just be baking one cake or pie in the restaurant trade, you’ll be preparing for dozens or even hundreds of people at the same time. From bread making to viennoiserie baking, pastry chef to chocolate connoisseur, you’ll learn the various different aspects of this fascinating trade.

What will I learn in a baking and pastry degree program?
Of course, different establishments have their own way of delivering their courses. However, you can expect your course to cover the following:

  • Baking terminology, baker’s math and in-depth knowledge about the various ingredients used in baking.
  • Purchasing and ordering.
  • The use of the industry accepted kinds of advanced equipment you can expect to find in restaurants and bakeries around the world.
  • Basic through to advanced baking expertise.
  • High volume production skills.
  • Classic and specialty cakes, desserts, chocolates and breads.

What methods will a baking and pastry class use to teach me?
It makes sense that the majority of your course will be practically based. You can expect to enjoy a high level of hands-on experience – after all, learning your trade is all about getting stuck in and actually creating various foodstuffs. Many colleges use advanced training techniques that include little demonstration time, but concentrate on allowing you to prepare and cook yourself. That way you learn not only the crucial skills needed, but how to tweak and change small aspects to allow your individuality to shine through. Experimentation is encouraged in order to help you hone and nurture your talents.

After gaining my baking and pastry qualification, what options are open to me for employment?
There’s only one place to start in the restaurant and kitchen industry, and that’s at the bottom and work your way up. After qualifying the hard work really begins – and your knowledge and skills will continue to grow as you enter the world of a working kitchen. This could be in a restaurant, hotel, canteen, bakery store, event center – or you might even fancy running your own bakery or cooking establishment. Another option includes working as a freelance pastry chef and catering for various functions such as weddings, parties and other gatherings.