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Culinary Central

Baking in the Bay Area

November 2, 2009 Le Cordon Bleu 0 Comments

Being a pastry chef in San Francisco is no walk in the park. It requires patience, training, and a detailed understanding of what makes the Bay Area unique. Pastry preferences and specialities vary from city to city, even among neighboring districts. Standards of pricing are also largely determined by location. For aspiring pastry chefs, below is a look at how to pursue success in the city by the bay.

Knowledge is Power

San Francisco is unique because the various communities within the city have very distinct tastes. It's not uncommon to find products that sell extremely well in one part of town, but are less popular in other areas. As a pastry chef in San Francisco, your knowledge of the city will be your best friend. Even if you make the highest quality products, the locals determine your success. If your neighbors don't have a high regard for the quality of your sweet treats, it will be very difficult to maintain a prospering business.

Learn From The Best

An externship at a patisserie is a great option for culinary academy students who need more hands-on experience. Most bakeries require you to inquire within for training programs, but some favorite French cafes include Patisserie Philippe, Patisserie Delanghe, and Citizen Cake located in Hayes Valley. Upon graduating from culinary school, it takes diligence to work your way towards a bakery chef position.

Start From Scratch

Another popular career route for graduates of Bay Area culinary institutes is to start a bakery on their own. This is unquestionably the most difficult course to take, but it could also be the most rewarding. If you have a good business plan with a great product, you have the potential to find success quickly. Not only could this result in obvious financial rewards, but in recognition throughout the Bay Area.

Leverage The Web

As more and more chefs become well known and customers begin to use the web to document their culinary experiences, the Internet plays an increasingly powerful role in the success of a company. Besides offering opportunities to publicize your restaurant or recipes, the web offers you the opportunity to bring a voice to your craft. Research popular blogs and cooking forums and see what people are chatting about. Notice a desperate need for an amazing quiche recipe? Leave a comment and offer suggestions for creating the perfect breakfast dish. Build your own blog and publish new recipe ideas and personal thoughts on the industry. Your insight will absolutely be valuable for people looking for a new restaurant to try, as well as aspiring cooks looking for inspiration.

Resources For Success

There are so many avenues available to up-and-coming pastry chefs. The effort you put into advancing your career will inevitably be met by a fulfilling and promising future. Pastry is one of the most delicious, lighthearted delicacies around, so don't forget to have fun in the process.

The various titles of “chef” generally apply to more advanced roles in a professional kitchen (for example, Sous Chef, Executive Chef). Graduates of a culinary arts training program should expect to pursue entry-level opportunities and should not expect to become chefs upon graduation but are encouraged to work toward becoming a chef throughout the course of their careers. Le Cordon Bleu does not guarantee employment or salary.

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