How to Become a Baking and Pastry Chef in Maine

If you enjoy baking and decorating tasty treats, a career as a baking and pastry chef might be for you. This branch of the culinary arts, in particular, is known for its combination of culinary skills and artistry, as baked goods need to be not just appetizing but also pleasing to the eye.

Additionally, baking and pastry chefs need to have good business skills. They are frequently asked to manage staffing, control inventory, meet food service industry regulations and keep the books balanced. Chefs may work in a fast-paced, high stress environment and often work weekends, evening and early mornings.

Regulations in Maine for Baking and Pastry Chefs

Most states do not have an oversight board for baking and pastry chefs or require licensure, and Maine is no exception. Chefs will, however, have to meet any state and local health regulations for the food service industry. For those who already have a high school diploma or equivalent, additional training can be found through formal training programs or apprenticeships. Many chefs actually complete a combination of the two, seeking opportunities to train in specific methods or under well-established chefs.

Programs for Baking and Pastry Chefs in Maine

Maine has several programs for culinary training, in different areas of the state. A few of these include:

  • York County Community College in Wells offers an Associate in Applied Science in Culinary Arts. The program focuses on both classical and nouvelle cooking techniques. Students are encouraged to use creativity and artistry in creating dishes and baked goods. Graduates are prepared for careers in fine dining establishments or as business owners.
  • Southern Maine Community College in South Portland offers an associate’s degree in Culinary Arts. Certified by the American Culinary Federation, the program covers all aspects of culinary preparation and business management. All students will participate in a 400-hour externship, allowing for ample hands-on experience.
  • Eastern Maine Community College in Bangor offers an Associate in Applied Science degree in Culinary Arts. Students will study Classical French, International and American cuisine and receive hands-on experience at the university’s training restaurant. A one-year certificate option is also offered for those who wish to pursue a shorter program.

Optional Certifications for Career Advancement

Seeking advanced certifications is a good way for baking and pastry chefs to highlight their skills and professionalism, giving them an edge in a highly competitive field. One organization offering certifications is the American Culinary Federation (ACF). Options for types of certificates vary based on culinary experience and level of employment. Applicants will also be required to pass an examination.

Career Growth and Salary Projections

According to data collected by the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), chefs and head cooks, a category that includes baking and pastry chefs, in Maine reported a median annual income of $48,470 in 2018, which is on par with the national median of $48,460 for this field.

Career growth projections are somewhat less promising in Maine, however, with a predicted 3.4 percent growth between the years 2016 and 2026, which is well below the national predicted growth of 9.6 percent. Maine does have a seasonal tourism industry, which could possibly indicate a higher level of employment during peak tourism months.

Baking and Pastry Chef Opportunities in Maine

Baking and pastry chefs find work in a variety of industries. Those with the highest employment, according to BLS, include restaurants, special food services, traveler accommodation, amusement and recreation, and continuing care and elderly care agencies.

Some possible employers for baking and pastry chefs in the state of Maine include Coastal Maine Botanical Gardens, Bowdoin College, Penn National Gaming, Maine Veteran’s Homes, Sodexo Inc., York Hospital, Benchmark and Compass Group, North America.

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