Chef Kranthi works as a Chef Instructor at Culinary Academy Of India
The bakery has been part of the food industry since its inception; and as time progressed, so did baking technology and methodology. The colonial era also introduced many pastry products like cakes, biscuits and brownies to the colonies, and today, these desserts are used in nearly every celebration, formal or festival.
This spread created a huge surge in baking innovation and by the beginning of the 20th century, pastry and confectionery was its own, separate branch of food production. New pastry chefs broke away from the norm and become more innovative and playful. They used their creativity to add colors, styles, shapes and texture in their products to attract foodies and non-foodies alike.
Nowadays many companies have corporatized pastry and confectionery products, and on the flipside, there’s artisanal made-to-order dessert makers as well. So clearly there’s some demand in the market. But is it enough to make a career out of, specfically in India?
Scope and career
There are numerous opportunities for aspiring pastry chefs in India. Many hotels and restaurants have professionally trained bakers and pastry chefs who meet the daily in-house requirements. In fact, hotels and restaurants routinely scope the kitchens across top institutes for budding pastry chefs during their campus placements. Some even look at pastry skills as a prerequisite irrespective of one’s kitchen of preference. As such, being adequately trained and skilled is necessary to enter and grow within the culinary world and learning from experience is arguably the best way to do so.
Being in India also helps. India has renowned culinary academies and institutions which train some of the best pastry chefs worldwide. India is also a training ground for several cruiseliners and commercial establishments which means quality is never an issue. All in all, there’s healthy opportunities and competition in the bakery ecosystem; and in this space, skill and discipline matter.
What Are the Traits of a Pastry Chef
CREATIVITY: The ability to create a new product and cater to evolving customer needs.
ATTENTION TO DETAIL: Detailing is important to create life-like edible showpieces, and pastry chefs pay extreme attention to this.
CUSTOMER SERVICE: A modern pastry chef is not expected to stay in the kitchen. They have to put themselves alongside their creation and interact with the guest.
STAMINA: Being a chef is a physically demanding profession that requires long hours on the feet. Baking is no different and in fact can at times be a longer process, so stamina is a must.
TIMELINESS: The entire hospitality industry survives on punctuality, and being a pastry chef requires you to honor time. Especially when you consider it only takes 30 seconds to overbake something.
The definition for a pastry chef has changed a lot from the ancient days. Gone are the days in which a pastry chef was classically trained in traditional pastries and basic techniques under a procedural, repetitive system. The world is much quicker now and a modern pastry chef is a culmination of an engineer, a scientist and an innovator. This is continually spurred on by an increase in consumer demand for new and exciting foods.
The specificity of skill and customer demand has also increased the need for specializations in the sub-fields of pastry. This has also created new openings for cake makers, chocolate connoisseurs, and given rise to a range of niche positions. Modern chefs generally learn bakery by following a conventional route across all the sub-fields of pastry, and then focus themselves on one particular subject increasing their knowledge and skill to meet the increasing demand of modern customers. Consider them a jack-of-all and a master of one.!
The trend towards cloud kitchens and restaurant aggregators has also improved the career feasibility and growth rate for aspiring pastry chefs. Imagine building a pastry shop: in the olden days, this was quite a costly affair with large and separate bills for the kitchen, front area and marketing. Cloud kitchens have changed all this. Presenting an offering that entails zero front end requirements and free online marketing, anyone looking at starting and growing their pastry or confectionery business can do so at a manageable budget, atleast in urban India.
During these tough times, the entire hospitality industry looks bleak suffering huge losses and recovery will take time. But one cannot also forget the place pastry and confectionery holds in our culture and traditions. Cakes, chocolates, pies, tarts, cookies, soufflés, truffles, and other delectable creations are all a natural part of daily menus and celebrations.
So clearly, all has not yet been lost – but the future will be different. In this future, chefs with knowledge and information on reducing wastage and maximizing yield will go a long way. As a result we have to change and mold ourselves not only to meet the current requirements but also add to our skillset and equip ourselves for times to come. The scope of growth in pastry and confectionery is still huge, and how far one goes depends on the creativity, skill and choices of those who decide to enter it.
This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.
© 2020 BrandCai
Amarnath G on November 07, 2020:
I am an alumni of BRAND CAI......Kranthi was my Junior and a man with good International Exposure. He has developed lot of technical skills under European Pastry & Confectionery Chefs while working on Cruise Lines. This article itself is a reflection of his career background and also an insight for the young budding chefs whom hes training. The present batch of students of Culinary Academy of India are fortunate to have a Chef Instructor such as Kranthi who's dedicated, hardworking and at the same time quality conscience.
VERY GOOD ARTICLE KRANTHI.
Ankit Mathur on November 07, 2020:
Very nicely written