I am considering becoming a Pastry chef

Joined Jan 12, 2018
So I'm 18 and really love to bake and I am thinking about going to culinary school to major in baking and pastry arts. How long should it take to finish school for the best possible career and what kind of jobs can you get right out of culinary school. I am also curious about the starting pay.


Founder of Cheftalk.com
Staff member
Joined Oct 5, 2001
Hey Joshua, welcome to ChefTalk.com! Have you ever baked professionally? If not before you sign up for culinary school go and work in a professional pastry shop. You could do this in a local restaurant or hotel or full blown pastry shop. I always encourage people to do this because there is a world of difference between "I love to cook" and "I love to cook professionally". It is not enough to just enjoy baking or pastries you have to really embrace the business and the lifestyle and what it is all about. Long hours, weekends, nights, time away from family and loved ones.

As for jobs right out of culinary school they are often base jobs starting points and there is no salary you will be hourly. If you were to start working in a large organization like a hotel, hospital or restaurant group you would probably start at above minimum wage and also receive benefits. My guess is you would probably start at around 13.00 an hour
Joined May 26, 2014
there is a world of difference between "I love to cook" and "I love to cook professionally".

I agree entirely with that! That is one of the hardest things I try to get people to understand!!! The conversation usually goes "Oh, your a Chef?!?"
"yup, 10 years on the hot line, with loads of banquet experience. Now i am a pastry chef."
"I love cooking/baking! I want to go to culinary school. im sick of doing (insert anything NOT related to F&B)!"
"...get a job in a kitchen first..."

...MIC DROP...
Joined May 5, 2010
Dear OP...we are not trying to bring you down only show you reality.
Even with a degree AND experience actual "pastry work" is not something you find at the corner bakery.
To get a job at a place where you will be creating and producing high quality product is relegated to the few and unique.
You have to be very good to work in these places. I wish you well and good luck.
Joined May 4, 2005
I would suggest finding a job in a banquet pastry department at a hotel or plating dinner service at a restaurant. There are a lot of entry level jobs that look for a willingness to learn. Personally, I wouldn't stack up the debt from culinary school but I know there are chefs who would disagree with that. In my experience, culinary graduates don't get paid more as a new hire; they are still treated as though they know nothing. Why not get paid for training? Pastry might be a little different; all I know is that I'm mostly self taught. You get training at each place you work at anyway.

It won't happen overnight. You've got to first, get your foot in the door and then see if you can withstand the bull**** and still have a morbid sense of Humor about it.

You've got to find that one mentor/pastry chef that you can learn a lot from. Then find a way to climb up the ladder, work for anyone you can, smarten up and then you can think about becoming a pastry chef. Hell, maybe you'll get really lucky and strike some good opportunities!

Sounds easy, right?


Founder of Cheftalk.com
Staff member
Joined Oct 5, 2001
I am with chefross chefross we don't want to discourage just offering you a realistic approach. Culinary school like most colleges is very costly. Before making a huge investment work in the business for 6 months or a year then see how you feel. You will start out at the bottom but that is the right place to start. Remember being a great cook (in my opinion) is 20% excellent technique and 80% attitude.
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