how I got started | My grandfather and father were both pastry
chefs, so I was in the kitchen as a kid. I started my formal
apprenticeship in my father's patisserie at 15. In France, you have to
pass an exam to prove your knowledge and skills after a formal
apprenticeship, then you can be hired as an entry-level pastry cook.
After five years at my father's (2 as an apprentice), I moved straight
to Paris and got a job working with the best people from which to learn,
at the famous Ladure on the Champs-Elyse.
why this job?| The fact that I grew up literally above my
parents' patisserie had a lot to do with it. I knew from about age ten
that this was what I wanted to do. Also, pastry combines art and
science, so it's not just all creative or all technical, it's both
equally so I get to use both sides of my brain. And of course I love
desserts and pastries!
why I love this job!| The whole world of cooking and pastry is in
constant evolution, so I'm always learning and creating new things. I
love seeing the look on someone's face when they're really enjoying
something I made. As a French pastry chef, I can easily work in any
country in the world.
my typical day| In a bakery, it starts early, sometimes 2:00a.m.,
baking breakfast pastries and prepping for the items that will fill
display cases throughout the day. In a restaurant we start a few hours
before service, and again it's preparation and baking. There's also
working the line, which is assembling and finishing desserts as orders
come up. But there's no really typical day as an Executive, because you
do all that, plus testing new recipes for changes to the menu,
designing the layout of plated desserts, doing inventory, hiring and
training staff, and going to meetings.
what they are | The biggest challenge is starting out at the very
bottom as a grunt. You work very hard for little pay, which is
challenging especially for career-changers, less so if you're still
young. It's also a challenge to manage work-life, because you do work a
lot of times when your family and friends are not working.
all about growth | There's a real ladder to climb, and the bottom
isn't always fun. But when you love what you do and you work hard, you
can literally and figuratively go almost anywhere in this field.
There's always a demand for talented pastry chefs in America, especially
those who have worked/interned in top European establishments. There's a
huge diversity of work in this career--restaurants, hotels, bakeries,
catering, wedding cakes, chocolate, competitions, even television and