If you discover that your passion is in baking, making pastries, trying out new recipes, and sharing your very own baked goodies with friends and family, you should consider taking up a career as a professional baker. Some people think baking is easy, but what they sometimes overlook is that baking is also an art, and it may take years before someone can truly become a well-seasoned baker. Here are some pieces of advice to help you get started on the road to professional baking.
- Practice baking at home. Professional bakers have a common beginning—they started with baking the most simple recipes and homemade favorites. Whether it’s helping grandma bake her homemade lemon meringue pies, or attempting to wow their family by baking premix brownies, bakers first start learning the most basic recipes, their favorite comfort food, and food that reminds them of home. Baking is mostly hands-on, and it is through continuous practice that you learn what works and what doesn’t. Try out different recipes. Share your baked goodies with family and friends, then ask how they liked it. Be open towards suggestions and comments, ask them what they like, and how you can improve your baking better. Through trial and error you will definitely pick up lessons and tips that would help you become better at what you do.
- Complete a culinary arts degree. There are many institutions within the country and abroad, offering two years or even up to four years of formal culinary arts education. Aside from hands-on training, you will also learn the skills and concepts in food preparation, menu planning, and production and management of a culinary business. For those who find it difficult to attend regular classes, there are also those which offer online courses. Receiving a diploma in culinary arts from an accredited institution opens many doors and countless opportunities for an aspiring professional. Studying in an expensive and famous school is not a requirement. You just have to choose the best one that suits your needs.
- Enroll in specialized baking classes. There are also technical schools and institutions that offer short certificate courses or special classes with hands-on training in baking. Just be patient and resourceful in scouring the internet and getting information about classes like baking fundamentals, bakery production, cake making and decorating, pastry and dessert making, bread making, etc.
- Apply as an assistant baker or pastry chef. After gaining all the basic skills, technique, and knowledge that you need, your next focus should be on building up work experience. You have many options. Look for jobs and openings in cafes, restaurants, bakeries, pastry and dessert shops, and even catering businesses. Here you’ll be able to apply all that you have learned and still have room to further hone your techniques and skills. Watch your work superiors and mentors. Learn from them as well. Work your way up and always keep on adding to what you already know. With honest hard work and determination, you will eventually see yourself as a senior professional.
- Experiment and create your own signature pastries and goodies. In cooking and baking, don’t be afraid to experiment. The ones who are successful in this industry are those who continue exploring creativity, originality, and also those who overcome challenges and test their limits. If you are able to create something wonderful and entirely your own, people will remember you for that. And they will continue to come back for more of your food.
To be a professional baker means you have to be willing to invest time and money to gain the necessary skills and techniques needed to be successful in the industry. At the same time, you have to work extra hard and make sure your heart is really into it. But don’t let this intimidate you. Once you work hard to become a professional baker, you will surely reap the rewards and satisfaction of making people happy once they’ve had a taste of your exquisitely-made goodies.