What they do
Pastry cooks prepare, bake and decorate pastries, cakes and other dough or pastry-based confectioneries. They consult recipes in order to plan their products, or may make cakes and other pastry-goods to order. They weigh and measure ingredients, combine them, shape baking mixtures, bake them in ovens, and glaze or decorate them using icing, cream, custard, jam or fruit. They may also make savoury pastries that use cheese, salt or other savoury food products. Pastry cooks also clean ovens and cooking equipment, order baking supplies and serve customers. Pastry cooks work all over the state, from pastry shops in cities and towns to airports, mining facilities or factories.
Pastry cooks may work in specialist cake and pastry shops or patisseries, the manufacturing firms of large food production organisations, hot-bread shops, the bakery departments of supermarkets or cruise ships. Conditions may be hot and noisy, as well as being stressful when working to deadlines. They usually work in shifts, which may include early mornings, evening and weekends or public holidays.
Tools and technologies
Pastry cooks use a variety of mixing, measuring and baking equipment including bowls, knives, spoons, rolling pins, dough spreaders, sieves, bowl and bench scrapers and cake testers and cooling racks. They also use cake decorating equipment such as sauce guns, fondant funnels and decorating combs. They use kitchen equipment such as electric mixers and ovens, and are usually required to wear protective clothing such as hats and aprons.
How do I become one?
Education and training
To become a pastrycook you usually need to undertake an apprenticeship in patissier or pastrycooking. These apprenticeships usually take 36 months to complete, and are available as school-based apprenticeships.
Apprenticeships and traineeships
As an apprentice or trainee, you enter into a formal training contract with an employer, enabling you to complete training towards a nationally recognised qualification. You spend time working and learning practical skills on the job and you spend some time undertaking structured training with a registered training provider.
You can do an apprenticeship or traineeship if you are a school-leaver, re-entering the workforce or as an adult or mature-aged person wishing to change careers. You can even begin your apprenticeship or traineeship while you're still at school.
If you are still at school you can access an apprenticeship through your school. Talk to your school's VET Co-ordinator to start your training now through VET in Schools. If you are no longer at school you can apply for an apprenticeship or traineeship and get paid while you learn and work.