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Sweet Chicago Pastry Chef Opportunities

October 7, 2009 Le Cordon Bleu Chicago 0 Comments

Does creating exquisite desserts for a living sound like a sweet career? In Chicago, we take our pastry seriously! From Lincoln Park to Little Italy, we crave cannoli, shortbread, and truffles. Illinois baking wizards can gain faithful fans by consistently offering fabulous pastries. If that sounds like the job of your dreams, consider these possibilities when searching for a Chicago pastry chef position.

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.

Hit the Hotel Scene
From Sunday brunch specialties at the Drake to eclectic treats at Trump International, Chicago pastry chefs practice their magic for hotel patrons. If hoping to break into the Illinois culinary scene, why not start your search at fine hotels in the Chicago area?

While the Gold Coast hotels are splendid, other Chicago neighborhoods offer aspiring pastry chefs hope for a hotel position. The Loop, the Magnificent Mile, and the Theater District are only three areas near downtown Chicago that are home to spectacular hotel dining venues.

If you prefer working in the suburbs, consider Wood Dale, Schaumberg, or Itasca for resort hotels, conference centers, and spas that tempt patrons with sumptuous desserts.

Bake Your Way into Stardom
The people of Chicago are loyal to great bakers, whether they weave their spells with spectacular cakes or feed our souls with ethnic favorites. Some of the best Illinois culinary masterpieces can be found in neighborhood bakeries throughout Chicago.

The panaderias, patisseries, and wedding cake shops sprinkled from Edgewater to Garfield Ridge feature mouthwatering pastries and job possibilities for aspiring Chicago pastry chefs. A new trend in pastry creation moving into Chicago is the boutique donut bakery. These one-at-a-time donut chefs create exotic specialties as you watch, and are extremely popular with the under forty crowd.

It might seem strange to complete a prestigious Illinois culinary program in pastry arts, only to find work in a neighborhood bakery, but the experience you can gain in commercial baking is invaluable.

What it may also help you gain is the ability and experience to open your own bakery someday. Pastry chefs who learn to manage costs and staff while whipping up gorgeous pastries can earn the right to set up shop in a Chicago neighborhood. Definitely pursue that Illinois certificate of pastry chef training, but also look for the opportunity to gain practical experience if opening a bakery is your goal.

Restaurants and More
There are, of course, dozens of restaurants in the Windy City where diners finish great meals with signature desserts. Outside the hotel scene, look for openings at neighborhood bistros, fine dining establishments, and ethnic restaurants. Nearly every neighborhood in Chicago has local favorites, so decide where your pastry specialties lie and start mapping your job search strategy.

Even more Illinois culinary job openings may exist at golf clubs, country clubs, and resorts in the outlying areas around Chicago. Many of these clubs offer elegant dining venues where Chicago-area pastry chefs can really shine. Again, polishing your skills by serving fine desserts day-in and day-out to grateful patrons is a wonderful way to build your resume and gain support for future business ventures.

The truth is inescapable; we truly love a great pastry chef in Chicago. Find your own “sweet spot” in Illinois baking history by following these tips.

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