My ultimate goal is to become a pastry chef. I hope to be able to own my own bakery or restaurant someday. Would it be better for me to complete an entire culinary arts degree, or to go through a baking/pastry program?
I think if pastry is where your interests lie then you should stick with the pastry and baking arts program. I just don't think you are going to get a whole lot out of the full culinary degree. When I attended CIA we had only a handfull of baking and pastry classes (actually only one baking class and one pastry if I remember correctly) and this will not give you the knowledge you need to be a pastry chef.
Anyone here in the community attend the pastry and baking program have some thoughts?
A culinary degree, to my understanding, will touch lightly upon baking and pastry arts but IMO today, to get a job in either feild, you need to know a little of both. If you're going to major in baking and pastry, stick to those programs only but start off with something introductary like chef training which covers both fields. Now with the basics under your belt, go into the more advance or more detailed programs that caters just for baking and pastry arts. Though I major in baking, I'm still going to take chef training.
Some Baking and Pastry program may require you to take a couple of culinary classes. I know with my program we spend 3 months working on the culinary side and then we move on to specialize in B&P. Hope that helps.
Thanks to all of you responded. I have been looking at alot of different schools lately and have noticed something. There doesn't seem to be alot of schools that offer degree programs in baking and pastry. I have seen a few that only offer certificates and diplomas. If I wind up going through one of these programs is that going to hurt me in the long run? Am I going to be a less desireable candidate for future jobs because I don't have an actual associates or bachelors degree?