What is being a baker or sous-chef like?
May 28, 2008 4:17 PM Subscribe
What has been your experience working as a baker, sous-chef, pastry chef, or on prep staff in a bakery or restaurant? What was the job like? The hours? What skills did you need to know before being hired, and what was OK for you to learn on the job? Did you have any significant professional training before beginning, or was it all self-taught? I have discovered a love of baking and cooking, and am considering going into the field for a couple of years. Is this feasible to do so without culinary school?
posted by schroedinger to Work & Money (12 answers total) 13 users marked this as a favorite
I've been a life-long baker, though nothing more complicated than basic cakes and cookies. About six months ago, I began working in a cafe where in addition to line preparation (i.e. making sandwiches) I've been doing basic food and baking prep work as well. Nothing fancy, mostly baking cookies and making soup, but I've learned a lot about food and baking in general and it's awoken a passion within me that's lasted quite a bit longer than any of my other interests.
I'm not yet ready to give up my current career path and go to culinary school. I'd like to be able to dabble part-time or full-time in a bakery or restaurant while pursuing my current educational goals. But I don't know if this is even feasible, as I'm not sure of what qualifications I'll need to join a "real" bakery or restaurant in any position above dishwasher, nor what kind of hours, pay, or workload to expect. Can you help?