How to Become a Baking and Pastry Chef in New York

Do you love to bake? Pastry chefs use their culinary skills and expertise to make the sweet desserts we all love to eat, but being a chef requires more than baking skills. Those who work in the field will often need to posses business expertise, customer service skills and the ability to work long hours in a demanding environment. If you are looking for a career with a good mix of business and creativity, this might be a good choice for you.

Guidelines for New York Pastry Chefs

New York does not require special licensing for baking and pastry chefs, nor is there an oversight board for the industry; however, business owners will need to be aware of the appropriate regulations for the food service industry.

Those wishing to pursue a career as a pastry chef will need to have a high school diploma or equivalent prior to seeking specialized training. Training itself is accomplished with a variety of methods and levels, from on-the-job training to specific apprenticeships to certificate and degree programs of all levels. It is important to research and apply for a program that will fit your needs and goals.

Educational Programs in New York State

There are many culinary programs throughout New York State, with some having a specific focus on baking. A few of the baking and pastry-specific programs in New York include:

  • The Culinary Institute of America (CIA) in Hyde Park offers both an Associate of Applied Science degree and a Bachelor of Science degree in Baking and Pastry Arts. Students will study pastry techniques, ingredients, technology, hospitality, nutrition and design principles, along with basic business tools. All students will gain hands-on experience through the school’s on-campus bakery as well as a paid semester-long internship.
  • Paul Smith’s College in Paul Smiths, NY, offers an Associate of Applied Science Degree in Baking and Pastry Arts. Students will have access to six professional-grade pastry labs where they will learn both the science and the craft of baking. Hands-on experience is available through an on-site bakery and paid internships with professional chefs. A four-year degree in Baking Arts and Service Management is available for those who wish to pursue the opportunity.
  • The Culinary Institute of New York at Monroe College in New Rochelle offers an Associate of Applied Science in Baking and Pastry. The program is designed to incorporate the latest trends in the industry, with additional focus on mastering the business expertise needed for students to run their own business or jump comfortably into a larger enterprise.

Pastry Chef Certifications

Chefs can seek additional certifications through various agencies, as suits their career goals. One popular choice is the American Culinary Federation (ACF). ACF offers various levels and types of certification based on experience and education.

Salary and Career Growth Data

According to data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), chefs and head cooks, including baking and pastry chefs, in New York had a median annual salary of $52,010 in 2018, with the highest salaries reported in the Ithaca, NY, metro area.

New York also lists the second highest employment level for the industry nationwide. Growth projection in the state looks good, too, with a projected rate of a 19 percent increase between the years 2016 and 2026, well above the national growth projection of 9.6 percent for this field.

Job Outlook in New York State

Considering the data above, New York appears to be a very good place to work as a pastry chef. A few of the larger potential employers within the state include Compass Group North America, Marriot, Elior North America and Wegmans.

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