My Career Path As A Pastry Chef
People usually don’t take me seriously when I say that I want to be a pastry chef, especially my parents, although they joke about me opening up my own little shop, hire all my cousins to work for me as waiters and waitresses and making it a family business, I always said to myself that someday that would be my reality.
It all started on Christmas Eve, 2009, when my mother told me that I was responsible for the desserts, while she was busy taking care of the rest with my sister. At the time I was completely clueless, I didn’t even know how to properly crack an egg. I got all the cookbooks I could find and went through them page by page in order to find the best recipe available, and found a triple layer chocolate cake that caught my eye. After all the blood, sweat and tears I was finally done, but the best part was yet to come. After we had Christmas dinner, it was time for everyone to taste the masterpiece that I had created; I waited for everyone to take a bite and their reactions were priceless. I realized right there and then that I wanted to be a pastry chef because sweets make people joyful, it was a bright ambiance that was hard to recreate. As I grew older, I started to practice and be more detail-oriented. I became dedicated and creative, mastering those qualities will help me in the near future.
The job is often very busy and stressful because of all the baking and the working hours that go to 12hr per day. According to the bureau of labor statistics the annual executive pastry chef’s average salary as of January 2020 in the United States is 69,370$. The scale typically falls between 59,114 and 83,888 dollars.
A chef’s salary always depends on education, skills but most importantly, the number of years spent in the profession. The goal is to first become a pastry chef, which normally carries the responsibility for the creation, decoration, and presentation of pastries. Paying attention to small delicate details is really difficult especially if you don’t have the patience for it. In order to prefect this technic a chef has to first tell himself that no mater how the final piece turns out he can always try again, its all a matter of trial and error. Creativity is key too, that’s the only way your work can be unique from the rest of the pastries out there. For example, I once made an ice cream cake made out of corn and blueberry, and it was delicious. Who knew that a vegetable can also be a dessert? The third and most important thing is dedication. You have to be willing to do the labor to learn the profession, never to give up. I have burnt numerous cake pans before I mastered the right temperature or measurement of each and every cake there is. After perfecting all that you can upgrade to an executive pastry chef who does the important operations like for example observing the kitchen, creates and updates menus and the cost of the foods, purchasing of supplies, controls sanitation, sees if the customers are satisfied and trains the staff. For example, in Eritrea I use to have a part-time job as a pastry chef assistant in this pastry shop called Royal, and we use to bake cake after cake for hours until our legs started to shake, it was exhausting but an experience at the same time. my love for pastries grew even more and I started to practice at home and come up with different recipes and sometimes I even presented them to my boss but I wasn’t really successful. Therefore, I decided to come to the states to pursue my dream as a pastry chef.
Becoming an executive pastry chef is not as easy as it sounds, especially when your goal is to get your own business. The first thing I did was write down a list of steps that I have to follow, every step is carefully curated making me come up with a plan that will definitely make me succeed. Choosing a major is still hard, I always tell myself that I have to choose something that could help me cook better but I realized that’s not what I should look for. The more I thought about it, the more I realized that I was aspiring to be an entrepreneur. That would require me to know how business cash flow works, an education in business management is imperative. I did my research and I found out that earning an Associate’s degree in entrepreneurship at Montgomery college would be a smart move and then transfer to a four-year college to the University of Maryland to get my bachelor’s degree on courses that include marketing, accounting, business strategy, and performance management which could all help with business ownership. Afterward, I will do two years of culinary school and hope for a miracle.
As a chef getting a job is really difficult since you have to have at least five years of experience, so I’m bound to have a plan B, which is the second reason why I choose business as a major, just until I reach the minimum level of experience needed. You don’t always start at the top, every student should know that in order to achieve your goals and live your life to the fullest we have to start from the bottom and work our way to the top.
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