Pastry Chef- My Dream Job.

By: Megan Schadeck


When I was growing up my family didn't really bake anything, but when we did I cherished every minute of it. I was about 9 years old is when I figured out I wanted to become a pastry chef. I would go over to my sister's apartment and bake with her and her roommate all the time. I loved every minute of it and I loved how when I was decorating anything, i could do my own thing.

Career Information

Daily tasks and responsibilities

  • Order food supplies for your menu
  • Create and prepare the items that are on your menu
  • Supervise the other pastry chefs in your workstation (If you own your own restaurant)
  • Clean as you go
  • Create or find recipes

Work Environment

For a pastry chef you could find jobs in restaurants, bakeries, and cafes. You could also open up your own bakery. It can be very dangerous. You can get burned very badly, splashed with oil or hot water, and many other things. You could also move a lot for your job. The company you work for could move you or if you own your own restaurant, you could move locations or expand your money.

Preferred Job Skills

  • Creativity- You need to have creativity because you have to ice and decorate everything your way.
  • Leadership- You need to have leadership because you need to give directions to your fellow pastry chefs, or to your employees so you get everything done and ready to go.
  • Time Management- You need to have time managment because you need to make sure everything gets done in time. If you don't you won't have anything to sell for your work place.
  • Active Listneting- You need to hear and understand what is going on and what others are telling you.
  • Maintenance- You need to make sure your equipment is clean and clean right so no one gets sick.

Education and Training

There are many ways to get your education to become a pastry chef. In Illinois there many cooking colleges and programs where you could get your pastry career at. There is Kendall College in Chicago, Le Cordon Bleu Cooking School in Chicago, Robert Morris College: Culinary Arts Chicago, and many more. Getting a pastry chef degree is not really required but it is highy recommended.

"I would encourage anyone to take a variety of culinary classes just to get a handle on the industry in general, I would also recommend taking some business classes as like anything in life this is a business and it is beneficial to know how a business is ran in a general perspective." - Heather Nogaj, Pastry Chef.

Career Girls: A Typical Day- Pastry Chef Mellisa Root

Career Girls: A Typical Day- Pastry Chef Mellisa Root (Video Above)

The video above shows what Pastry Chef Mellisa Root does on a day to day basis. What she does right when she gets there in the morning to what she does in the afternoon.

Salary and Job Outlook

Salary- The starting salary of a pastry chef is...

Hourly: $10.18 ro $14.37 an hour.

Yearly: $50,978.

Job Outlook:

There will be a 2% increase in the oncoming years.

High School Preparation

High School Courses

There are few high schools that offer cooking/ pastry classes, it's not very common for a high school to have one. But they do offer classes that will really help you if you want to be a pastry chef.

High School that do have culinary classes

  • Culinary Basics
  • Pastry Chef
  • Cuisine Chef

High Schools that don't offer culinary classes

  • Algerbra
  • Business
  • Food Chemistry

Extra- Curricular Activities

  • FCCLA- Cooking competitions

Working/ Volunteer Experience

There are many places you can either get a job at or volunteer. There are many bakeries, cafes, or resturants that sell baked goods where you can work at. All you have to do is fine a bakery, cafe, resturant, that is hiring or looking for volunteers and go into the place and see if you can help!


  • Ms. Sweeney- Pastry Chef, Cuisine Chef, & Advanced Catering Teacher at East Leyden High School.
  • Ms. Stutzman- Geometry Basic Teacher at East Leyden High School.
  • Ms. Adams- Physical Science Teacher & Anatomy Teacher at East Leyden High School.

Post- Secondary Plan

Their are many people that are born into owning a bakery or cafe, but some people open their place. Schooling is a big part of becoming a pastry chef, people can...


  • in college courses that are apart of your career choice.
  • in a cooking school that has exactly what you want to go in for.

Some schools you can enroll at are...

  • Kendall College Chicago
  • Le Cordon Bleu Chicago
  • Robert Morris College: Culinary Arts Chicago

You could also go right into the work force, but its not recomended.

Interview with a Pastry Chef

To learn a little more about becoming and being a pastry chef, I interviewed Heather Nogaj, a pastry chef that owns a bakery. Here is our interview.

Q: Besides the classes to become a pastry chef, what other classes did you have to take to get your degree/ certificate?

A: I would encourage anyone to take a variety of culinary classes just to get a handle on the industry in general, I would also recommend taking some business classes as like anything in life this is a business and it is beneficial to know how a business is ran in a general perspective.

Q: What do you do at your job on a daily basis? What does a typical day look like?

A: My typical day starts early in the morning and can last well into the evening depending on what my orders look like. My day consists of prepping, baking and preparing items, decorating, clean up. This job is a very hands on manual job.. Be prepared to stand on your feet mixing, cleaning, decorating ect on your feet for 8 plus hours a day.

Q: What is the earning power for someone who becomes a pastry chef?

A: The earning power is typically $30,000/year. Keep in mind that the earning power could also be tremendously higher depending on your skills, experience ect. Top executive chefs at Disney for instance make well over $100,000 a year

Q: For a person going into pastry school, is it better for that person to a college or to go to a actual cooking/ pastry school? Why?

A: My advice would be if someone is 100% certain this is the field they want to get into then hands down go to a culinary school, That's what they do and they will help advocate for you and your future. However, if you are uncertain I would recommend a community college where you can take a few culinary classes as well as some other areas that= may interest you. That way you can make an educated decision.

Q: I’m thinking about taking a year off between high school and college, do you think that's a good idea or do you think I should go from high school straight to pastry school?

A: I don't think that t it is a good idea or a bad idea. Just stay focused and don't give up on your goals. I think that may be a great time to take some culinary related classes at your local community college to get your feet wet. I also recommend getting a job within your field even as a store girl at a bakery.

Q: I know some pastry schools make you do an internship before you graduate. What are some good places to do an internship?

A: Central Continental Bakery, Jarosch Bakery, Higher end hotels.

Q: Do you have any advice for a high school student like me that wants to go into a pastry career?

A: This career is all about experience and hands on experience! Experiment with in the field, stay focused. I would recommend once again finding a summer job at a bakery. Also contact a local bakery or hotel to possibly shadow their pastry chef.


Throughout this career reasearch, I have learned many things about this career that I never knew before. I learned that keeping my information organized is key. I also learned that there are many school that have culinary and pastry programs, and there are a lot of college class. Lastly, I learned that it really helps if you go and shadow someone at a bakery because you will learn many differnt things!