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Baking and Pastry Arts

The Breakdown

If you love to eat and love to make what you love to eat for yourself and others, you might want to consider a program and career in baking and pastry arts. Baking and pastry arts programs prepare individuals to work in restaurants and other commercial baking establishments as professional bakers and pastry specialists. Most often, these programs are two-year programs resulting in an associate’s degree, rather than full four-year bachelor’s degree programs, although four-year programs do exist. Students learn all aspects of bread and pastry-making, food safety (proper bread and pastry-handling and storage), cake decorating, baking industry operations, packaging and marketing operations, and counter display and service.

Nuts and Bolts

The overall curriculum depends on whether the major is part of a two-year or four-year program. Four-year programs typically include more advanced coursework in baking and pastry arts and well as broader general education requirements.  Typical baking and pastry arts coursework includes:

•    Cake Decorating
•    Advanced Pastry Techniques
•    Food and Beverage Cost Control
•    Tiered and Themed Decorated Cakes
•    Baking Science
•    Naturally Leavened Breads
•    Advanced Sugar Artistry

Decisions, Decisions

If you lean to the technical aspects of baking and cooking, you might want to consider alternative majors in food science and/or nutrition. Alternatively, programs in culinary arts are more expansive and will touch on all aspects of cooking, not just baking and pastry. Still others may find that the business side of baking and pastry arts are more their speed. In these cases, programs in restaurant management and hospitality management might be more appropriate.

What's Next

It seems fairly obvious that most careers will be in the bakery or restaurant field, but other opportunities also exist. Pastry and baking arts graduates might take on professional roles such as teacher, caterer, small business owner, cookbook author or editor and food journalist. That said, most graduates find jobs working as bakers or pastry chefs in restaurants or bakeries.


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Don Munce