Becoming a Baking and Pastry Chef in Louisiana

If you enjoy creating sweet treats, like to experiment with your decorating skills and think you can handle working in a fast-paced environment, you may want to work as a baking and pastry chef in Louisiana. Baking and pastry chefs make a variety of baked goods and desserts, including bread, cakes, cookies, cupcakes, pastries, pies and tortes. However, a baking and pastry chef’s skills are not limited to baking. Other tasks they may be responsible for include managing staff, creating and testing new recipes, keeping a budget, purchasing supplies and food, meeting orders and providing input for menus.

Baking and pastry chefs often get started working early in the morning and sometimes must work late. Weekends and holidays are typical workdays as well. Baking and pastry chefs also spend a lot of time on their feet and should have good manual dexterity.

Specific Guidelines for Baking and Pastry Chefs in Louisiana

If you are thinking about becoming a baking and pastry chef in Louisiana, you don’t have to meet a long list of requirements or even obtain a license. The state doesn’t regulate this career. But some level of training is needed to work as a baking and pastry chef. This can be done either through on-the-job experience, by completing an apprenticeship or completing a post-secondary training program. Some baking and pastry chefs complete a training program in addition to gaining on-the-job experience, whether it’s working with another chef or by working their way up in the kitchen. To complete a training program and to work, you will first need to have either a high school diploma or a GED equivalent.

Training Programs for Baking and Pastry Chefs in LouisianaThere are several schools in Louisiana that have culinary arts programs that also offer specializations in baking and pastry arts. A couple of these options are:

  • Louisiana Culinary Institute. At LCI, students can earn an Associate of Science degree in Culinary Arts-Advanced Baking and Pastry. This program can be completed in four semesters or two years. General education classes are included in coursework. If gen ed classes have been taken elsewhere and can be transferred, the program may be completed in less time. The program covers a variety of culinary topics, but the further a student gets into the program, the more it focuses on baking and pastry skills and techniques.
  • Delgado Community College. At Delgado Community College, students can earn an associate’s degree in Culinary Arts. This 66-credit hour program can be completed in two years. Coursework includes Basic Culinary Skills, Baking and Pastry Skills, Specialty Decoration and Showpiece Design. Graduates will be prepared to work in entry-level positions in the baking industry.

Baking and Pastry Chef Certifications

Obtaining certification isn’t necessary to work as a baking and pastry chef in Louisiana. However, since this is a competitive job field, you should take advantage of every opportunity to get ahead of your competition. The accreditation agency that most chefs turn to is the American Culinary Federation (ACF). The ACF has several certifications that aspiring baking and pastry chefs can apply for. They must have relevant educational experience and pass the accompanying exam.

Salary and Career Growth Projections in Louisiana

The Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that in 2018, chefs and head cooks nationwide made a median hourly wage of $21.99 and a median annual salary of $45,730. The BLS doesn’t provide specific statistics for baking and pastry chefs, but these professionals are included in the category of chefs and head cooks.

While salary rates for the state are just slightly lower than the average national rates, job growth projections for Louisiana are higher than the national scale. The predicted growth rate for the state is 13.5 percent between 2016 and 2026, compared to the national predicted growth rate of 9.6 percent for this field. Career advancement looks excellent for baking and pastry chefs in the state in the coming years.

Working as a Baking and Pastry Chef in Louisiana

There are many settings in which baking and pastry chefs can be found working. Some of these include independently owned bakeries, franchise bakeries, retail bakeries, wholesale suppliers, supermarkets, hotels, restaurants, cruise ships and casinos. With the projected growth rate looking good for Louisiana, work is available throughout the state. However, you may have more luck finding a job in some of the more populated areas of the state such as Baton Rouge, Lake Charles and New Orleans. Some of the more prominent employers in Louisiana include the Isle of Capri Casino and Hotel and La Boulangerie.

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