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Specialty Jobs in the Pastry Field

Updated on February 13, 2011

Specialty Jobs in the Pastry Field

Pie with chocolate garnish. Photo courtesy of PDphoto.org.
Pie with chocolate garnish. Photo courtesy of PDphoto.org.

Working with Chocolate and Creating Showpieces

Chocolate sculpture. Image courtesy of Flickr.com:Carabou; through a Creative Commons License.
Chocolate sculpture. Image courtesy of Flickr.com:Carabou; through a Creative Commons License.

Chocolatier

As a chocolatier, the job requires attention to detail and a sound knowledge of chocolate. A chocolatier knows how to temper chocolate by using many different methods, and can identify different chocolate through taste and texture. At the same time, a good chocolatier can tell different chocolates apart by their cocoa percentages (which are higher and which are lower). Some chocolatiers specialize in certain chocolate varietals and know which chocolate was made in what part of the world.

Chocolatiers can do fun stuff like create chocolate-filled truffles and bon bons, and create showpieces and figurines out of chocolate. They can also make varied decorations for desserts in the form of chocolate garnish, such as piped chocolate pieces, cut-out pieces and molded chocolates.

Creating Sculpture and 3-D Art with Bread Dough

Bread sculpture. Image courtesy Flickr.com:Dreamsjung; through a Creative Commons License.
Bread sculpture. Image courtesy Flickr.com:Dreamsjung; through a Creative Commons License.

Professional Baker or Bread Artisan

Bakers can bake bread, that goes without saying, but pastry chefs who specialize in yeast breads can take the job a step further. Bakers can create showpieces from yeast bread to be used as decoration. They also understand and have a thorough knowledge of yeast and quick leaveners, and can identify different leavers from site. Knowing what makes things rise also helps them in formulating new recipes, and adjusting old recipes is made easier.

Bakers have a keen understanding of the function of basic incredients, such as eggs, flour, salt and sugar. As such, they can also identify different flours through sight and texture, and can ajust gluten levels when necessary.

Working with Pulled Sugar, Pastillage or other Modeling Dough

Sugar art. Image courtesy Flickr.com: Carabou; through a Creative Commons Licens.
Sugar art. Image courtesy Flickr.com: Carabou; through a Creative Commons Licens.

Pulled Sugar or Sugar Paste Artist

A pastry chef who is also a sugar artist can create real-to-life masterpieces from hot sugar by blowing it and pulling it. They have an understanding of basic sugar and other forms of sugar, and knows the boiling stages for different applications of a basic sugar syrup.

Sugar artists can also work with different sugar pastes such as marzipan, rolled fondant, pastillage, and gum paste. Much like a sugar clay, all these can be rolled out, pressed, cut and molded into various shapes, and can be made into people figurines.

All these types of sugar work from a sugar artist can be used for wedding cake decoration, pastry art and design and buffet work.

Training and Education Needed

Some schools specialize in the different aspects of pastry art and design, where students can learn a different form at one time. This is great for pastry chefs and people who are new to the field to pick up sound recipes, learn the basics for any technique, understand the basic ingredients and in most cases do a sample of an item being talked about.

Also, apprentices can learn from established pastry artists who are pastry chefs and their bosses. These pastry cooks can take lots of notes and pictures during the course of a regular workday. This is a great way to learn as it is generally free (just watch and learn), you get paid for it (it's your job to work at that worksite), and it can be very hands on giving you vital experience in doing that type of work.

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