How to Become a Baking and Pastry Chef in Kentucky
If you’re interested in learning what it takes to create delicious and beautiful baked goods such as cakes, donuts, pies, breads and cookies, you might want to consider a career as a baking and pastry chef. While baking breads and desserts takes skill, there’s more to this role than that of a baker. A baking and pastry chef is a type of head chef, and if you pursue this career your responsibilities will also likely include supervising staff, ordering supplies, making a budget and creating new recipes.
What are the Requirements for Becoming a Baking and Pastry Chef in Kentucky?
A high school diploma or the equivalent is required for most job opportunities or for admission to formal culinary arts training programs. Additional schooling after high school isn’t always required. You may be able to get on-the-job training or mentorship by an experienced pastry and baking chef, but formal training can help you to learn valuable skills that might result in more job opportunities.
Training Programs for Baking and Pastry Chefs in Kentucky
Community colleges, vocational schools and schools specializing in culinary arts frequently offer specialized training programs for baking and pastry chefs. If you attend one of these programs, you’ll gain foundational knowledge for preparing and decorating a variety of pastries, desserts and breads. Some training programs to consider in this field in Kentucky include:
- Sullivan University. Located in Louisville, KY, this school offers students the opportunity to earn an Associate of Science in Baking and Pastry Arts degree in as little as 18 months. The program consists of hands-on training in theory and technique, and teaching students how to prepare both modern and traditional pastries, breads, desserts and candies. Students are able to gain experience at externships in local bakeries and restaurants.
- Jefferson Community and Technical College of Culinary Arts. You can earn an associate degree in Culinary Arts in 16 months or less at this community college in Louisville. Students learn many techniques for food preparation, sanitation, cost control and management techniques.
Does Kentucky Require Certification or Licensing of Pastry Chefs?
Even though Kentucky doesn’t require a license or certification to work as a baking and pastry chef, you may want to consider getting certified through the American Culinary Federation. There are several types of certification you can attain by passing both written and practical exams. This is completely optional but may help you to be more competitive in the job market.
Salary Potential and Job Outlook for Kentucky Baking and Pastry Chefs
In 2018, head chefs, a category that includes pastry chefs, earned a median wage of $48,460 according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. In Kentucky, the salary of pastry chefs ranged between $43,795 and $72,062, with the average baking and pastry chef earning $50,574 as of November 2019 according to Salary.com.
Job outlook for pastry chefs and other head chefs in Kentucky looks promising. CareerOneStop projects growth of approximately 10 percent between 2016 and 2026.
What it’s Like to Work as a Pastry Chef in Kentucky
When you work as a baking and pastry chef, you’ll probably be working in a fast-paced environment. Hours may be long and unpredictable and may include nights, weekends and early mornings. You may be on your feet a large part of the work day, and you may need to lift items as well as bend and twist throughout the day. You’ll also have administrative functions, which may include taking inventory, purchasing supplies and delegating tasks to other members of the baking team.
Cities like Louisville, Lexington and Bowling Green are likely to have the most job opportunities, although your skills will be needed in many settings all over the state of Kentucky. Some of the places you may find employment include restaurants, bakeries, cafés, catering companies and healthcare facilities. You might even decide to open your own pastry shop or café someday.