How to Become a Baking and Pastry Chef in Idaho

The state of Idaho is rather unique. Though most often thought of as a producer of potatoes, it is also known for gemstones. Seventy-two different precious and semi-precious stones have been found within the state. While potatoes remain a staple crop, Idaho has much more to offer. Several grocery stores are headquartered in Idaho, including Albertson’s and WinCo. Their bakeries offer premade and custom treats, which require baking and pastry chefs to create them. Thomas Cuisine, headquartered in Meridian, Idaho, is a contract food service company providing culinary services across several industries including healthcare, professional sports, corporate dining, senior living and other facilities. Their emphasis is on culinary excellence, so a position with them could be a welcome challenge for enthusiastic baking and pastry chefs.

If you want to become a baking and pastry chef, you have likely tried your hand at creating pastries at home. In addition to being creative, it is important to have an understanding of chemical reactions, flavors, ingredients and how they work together. Being a baking and pastry chef requires patience, attention to detail and some level of artistic talent as well. Knowledge of food safety requirements is essential.

Idaho State Requirements for Becoming a Baking and Pastry Chef

The minimum requirement for becoming a baking and pastry chef in Idaho is to have a high school diploma or GED equivalent. Postsecondary training is not required to work in this field; however, certain skills need to be learned, and many of them are taught in training programs at community colleges, universities or culinary arts schools.

There is more than one way to become a baking and pastry chef. It is possible to begin as a dishwasher in a restaurant and work up through the ranks to eventually become a pastry chef, or it is possible to begin with taking culinary arts and pastry baking courses. Most people who begin with school typically have a start at home with baking and creating desserts but need to learn the industry standards as well as how to finesse their techniques. Whichever route you take, it takes more than a couple of years to establish yourself.

Some schools and colleges within Idaho offer programs that teach students food safety procedures, business skills and specific baking and pastry techniques. Programs can vary in length and tend to average about a year for certificate programs or roughly two years for an associate degree program.

Education Opportunities for Baking and pastry chefs in Idaho

To be considered for the best jobs available as a baking and pastry chef in Idaho, completing an educational program with hands-on training is preferred. Students will learn how to run a restaurant or bakery as well as what it takes to create delicious, visually appealing desserts. Some baking and pastry chef programs available in Idaho are:

  • College of Southern Idaho. Located in Twin Falls, this school offers either a certificate or an Associate of Applies Science (AAS) in Baking and Pastry Arts. The one-year, 15-unt certificate is quite basic, while a second certificate option is much more in depth and requires completion of 30 units. The AAS degree option requires completion of 60 units over two years.
  • Brigham Young University – Rexburg. Located in Rexburg, Idaho, Brigham Young offers a Culinary Arts associate degree option, which includes baking and pastry courses as part of the curriculum.

Certification of Baking and pastry chefs in Idaho

The state of Idaho does not require a license to become a baking and pastry chef, but certification from the American Culinary Federation can lead the way to better opportunities. There are six levels of certification, each with its own requirements, including continuing education courses and an exam. Via the American Culinary Federation, students can also verify the accreditation status of specific programs as well as find open apprenticeships. A baking and pastry chef may also join professional networking associations such as Pastry Chefs of America.

Job Opportunities and Salary Outlook for Baking and Pastry Chefs in Idaho

Within the United States, the Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that the field of head chef and cooks is expected to grow by a rate of approximately 11 percent, which is much faster than average job growth. Specific information is not provided for baking and pastry chefs, but they are considered comparable positions. Within the state of Idaho, growth within this field is expected to be approximately 16.2 percent during the ten years from 2018 to 2028, which is a bit faster growth than average.

The median annual salary paid to baking and pastry chefs in Idaho as of May 2018 was $36,220. This means that half of all the people who worked as a baking and pastry chef earned more and half earned less. The hourly mean rate of pay during 2018 was $17.42. Rates tend to be higher in more densely populated areas.

Working as a Baking and Pastry chef in Idaho

If this seems like a career you’d like to pursue, there are some things to consider. Working as a baking and pastry chef could be ideal for someone who enjoys being challenged and performing a variety of tasks. Baking and pastry chefs require tolerance of varying temperatures within their workspace. Comfortable shoes are a must, as pastry chefs are often on their feet for extended periods of time.

Opportunities for work as a baking and pastry chef in Idaho can be found with a restaurant, hotel, bakery or catering company, among other types of employers. Idaho is home to the headquarters for Albertson’s and WinCo grocers, which could lead to work that expands through multiple locations. In addition, Coeur d’Alene Casino, Resort and Hotel has several restaurants and hosts special events. This location could offer multiple potential employment opportunities for baking and pastry chefs as well. Higher salaries for this profession could be earned in Coeur d’Alene and the northwest portion of the state.

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