A bakery is not usually a person's first job. It's a high energy environment with hot ovens, flying whipped topping and insane hours. Even so, there are a lot of things that people don't realize, even some of the people that work in other parts of the bakery. So here are some insights as to what I do as a pastry chef.
1. Nothing comes from the freezer
Most things are baked beforehand and stockpiled, like brownies and cakes, but almost none of the stuff is shipped in. And if it's shipped in, it's being made with the bakery's recipe. So no, we don't ship in all our pastries then put them in a display case.
2. Piping sugar cookies is actually backbreaking work
We stress over every single one trying to make them perfect. And when you have to do four trays of them, the stress is transferred to your spine.
3. Bakery and pastry are completely different
A bakery is usually breads, but pastry is your tarts, pies, and cakes. Both take a lot of time and concentration, but the focus is different.
4. Pastry chefs and bakers are not cooks
We are not at the bakery all day. We make a certain number of each item, but if it runs out, oh well. There's no way that we're going to specially make you a single fruit tart, sorry.
5. Again, nothing comes from the freezer
Please don't assume that I don't do anything for 6 hours a day.
6. I'm awake before the roosters, but I'm also off work before some people get up
I get to work by six, but I also get off by 12:30. And no, getting up does not bother me, because I still have a full day when I get home.
7. No, we do not eat as much we bake
Sweet things get old after a while, and all of that sugar is really bad for you. We'll sample things maybe once or twice a day, but otherwise, it's all for the customer.
8. Your piece of pie was probably made to the sound of Disney music
"The Little Mermaid" always boosts our morale and speeds up our hands.
9. No, it's not easy as pie
Pies usually mean a bunch of piping, so when I get assigned them, I see them with dread.
10. I don't care how many videos of it you've seen on Facebook or Youtube or how easy it looks, piping is the hardest thing we do
I have to practice everything on parchment paper first, and even then, most of the time my boss doesn't even trust me to do it.