Become a Baking and Pastry Chef in Virginia

Do you love to bake and decorate desserts or other items? A career field you may want to consider is becoming a baking and pastry chef. When you work in this field, you’ll prepare many different items, from cakes to pies to donuts and breads, but your duties will be more complex than those of a baker. A pastry and baking chef is a type of head chef. In your role, you’ll also supervise staff, order supplies, review inventory and develop unique recipes.

Requirements for Pastry Chefs in Virginia

The first thing you’ll need to do to become a pastry chef or any other type of head chef in Virginia is to obtain your high school diploma or equivalent. You’re not required to attend postsecondary school, but employers may find you more valuable if you complete formal training in baking and pastry arts. Vocational schools and community colleges are examples of places where these programs may be offered.

With or without formal training, you’ll also acquire skills on the job. It’s especially helpful to work under the mentorship of an experienced chef. Other skills that are useful in this field include good mathematical aptitude, customer service skills, management ability and organizational skills.

Pastry Chef Training Programs in Virginia

When you study culinary arts specializing in baked goods, you’ll start by learning basic food preparations and gradually learn more advanced techniques. You’ll also receive training in business and administrative skills. Some places where formal training is offered in Virginia include:

  • Reynolds Community College. Located in Richmond, VA, this community college offers an Associate in Applied Science in Pastry Arts. Students learn foundational and advanced baking and pastry skills, along with other useful subjects such as safety and sanitation, confections and artistic presentation.
  • The Art Institute of Virginia Beach. At this school, students can earn a diploma in baking and pastry, which consists of 52 credits and can be completed in four quarters. The program consists of applied coursework and hands-on experience. This gives students a well-rounded education that includes instruction in a variety of skills including managing a commercial kitchen, preparing confections and plating a dessert.

What Kind of License do You Need to Become a Pastry Chef in Virginia?

In Virginia, you don’t need to obtain a license or certification to become a chef. You may want to consider pursuing certification through the American Culinary Federation, but this is optional. You’ll need to pass both practical and written exams to obtain this certification, but it may help you to stand out among other candidates in the job market.

Virginia Salary Expectations and Job Outlook for Pastry Chefs

In the United States, median annual pay for head chefs as of May 2018 was $48,460, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Approximately half of all head chefs made more than this amount and half earned less. The salary range for pastry chefs in Virginia as of November 2019 was between $46,262 and $76,120, and the average salary was $53,422 according to

Job outlook for chefs and head cooks looks very promising in Virginia. CareerOneStop projects growth of approximately 14 percent in Virginia between 2016 and 2026.

Working as a Pastry Chef in Virginia

A variety of businesses hire baking and pastry chefs including restaurants, hospitals, hotels, healthcare facilities, stores and cafes. You’ll probably work a wide range of hours including days, nights and weekends.

Many places require pastry chefs to work early in the morning. You may have to stand on your feet a large part of the day and work in a fast-paced environment. Virginia is a large state that has plenty of opportunities for people in this field, especially in large cities such as Virginia Beach, Norfolk and Chesapeake.

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