Choosing a career path was never an easy thing to do. However, knowing what profession is the perfect fit for you is only the starting point of your longtime journey. As for every other thing in life, when you have a clear goal, it’s much easier to achieve it. But, there’s never only one way to get there. Different people choose different roads to take and different moves to make in order to get the job, profession or career of their dreams. Thanks to the rise of the Internet, and the enormous number of sources to get educated, it all goes down to your personal preferences and career goals, as well as – your future job requirements.
You want to become a pastry chef. What now?
Education is the number one essential part of every profession out there. The process of absorbing knowledge in the field of your choice is both important and fun, since it allows you to practically indulge in all the things you’re gonna be doing, while allowing you to make mistakes, socialize, improvise and make and get out of your comfort zone. When you finally get that degree, you should be ready to continue learning but start working, and you should be professionally prepared and confident enough to grab every chance you notice along the way. All of this should paint the importance of education, no matter what field you’re in. If you want to become a lawyer, an architect, a doctor, a manager – you will need proper education in order to reach your final goal.
But is it the same for people who want to become pastry chefs? How important are the culinary schools around the world and what can they teach you? Is it necessary to attend a pastry school in order to make a career as a pastry chef? These are the most common questions when it comes to this type of career. The answer is nothing but simple, however, everything starts with learning, and when it comes to learning, there are usually two paths: the traditional path, and the alternative for it.
Traditional or alternative option? Do you need a degree?
As you may already know, the traditional career path almost always includes a degree. This means that if you wanna become a chef, you need to go to a pastry school and absorb theoretical knowledge.
However, culinary schools offer not only theoretical knowledge but also a practical one, since you get the opportunity to learn all the specialized cooking and baking techniques during your studies. This is the main difference between culinary and other schools – after you get your degree, you already know what to do and you are not only the pastry chef in theory, but you know how to cook, bake, decorate, make recipes, improvise, mix ingredients and so on, which makes you the perfect candidate for multiple jobs.
On the other hand, the alternative approach consists of learning how to do the job simply by working in restaurants, bakeries, or in other places in this field. This is a good option for those who want to build their career from scratch, by getting as much experience as they can and by learning on the go. It is also a good option for those who don’t want to spend significant amounts of money on their pastry degree, since culinary schools are no less expensive than any other. If your choice is to attend a private school, you can expect to pay around $30,000 per year. Still, many professional chefs and entrepreneurs in the food industry say that getting a degree is worth it if your goal is to work in a high-end restaurant or food company.
No one says you can’t be extraordinary without a degree
Many people choose to switch their careers and change the way their life looks, even if they are successful in their current careers. Others just want to try something and they’re not quite sure what is their goal. Many successful chefs have started their journey by cooking at home, learning recipes, improvising, working at small restaurants and slowly building their way up – until they finally decided to dedicate their time and invest their money into going to a culinary school.
After being asked if it was worth it, the majority of the answers were positive. Having a degree opens numerous doors for you, and it’s a great shortcut for those who want to get more prestigious jobs. However, even if you have a degree, it’s still hard to get your place under the Sun. In a highly competitive market, you will have to fight for the position you want, and it will be an exhausting process, whether you have a degree or not. Still, it’s not impossible to get the job of your dreams simply by working your way up – it’s just a much harder option to choose. If you do choose this path, you can get equally qualified over time, and the places you worked for can give you prestige just like you’ve finished your culinary studies – if not more.
Attending a pastry school isn’t just about cooking
Although you will learn everything you need to know if you wanna become a pastry chef, that’s not the only knowledge you’ll absorb by going to school. If your goal is to become an entrepreneur or to own your restaurant, you will need many more skills than knowing how to cook and bake. This is exactly what you can learn in culinary schools. Skills such as menu planning or management techniques are essential for owning a business of this kind. Even if you think you’ll never own a business, you never know what the future brings – maybe you’ll get an offer to have an ownership stake, out of nowhere!
Don’t underestimate networking
Attending a good pastry school may mean moving to another city or a state. It also means getting to know a lot of new, like-minded people and expanding your business connections. This is crucial for your success since it’s much harder to find your way up if you have no one to rely on or to collaborate with. On top of that, there are a lot of professionals who will be your professors, and if you stand out from the crowd, you may get great recommendations and start your chef journey with a handful of fantastic opportunities.
Find the right fit
Maybe you’re not interested in getting your Bachelor’s degrees, but it doesn’t mean your only alternative is to immediately start working in a 2-star restaurant. If you are willing to learn, the first thing you need to do is to do your research and find reputable courses and programs that will help you pursue your career. Schools such as Culinary Lab School offer all-levels education that’s been brought to their students in a modern, convenient and fun way – through videos, workshops and apprenticeships. That’s why your only job is to make a decision, set your goal and work towards achieving it. Good luck!