I am just about to finish up my wilton cake decorating classes and I really really want to get a job at a bakery but I could use some advice on what I need to do next.
I really want to give myself the best chance possible at getting hired so I wanted to have a portfolio to show my work. The following are my questions lol if anyone has time to answer I would appreciate it greatly!
should I have a portfolio?
if so, should I include early work or just the 'best' cakes?
how many different cakes should I show in my portfolio?
should I put my wilton certificates in my portfolio to show that I took the classes?
If I don't have very many photos of cakes yet, should I hold off on applying for a job so that I can produce more cakes and have images to show?
What other steps should I take to help me get a job at a bakery?
Am I just kidding myself? Should I wait longer and practice more before trying to get a job? Is applying for a bakery position right after my wilton classes too soon??
Speaking from experience, they will want to see as many photos as you can come up with, as would I if I were interviewing. I would show them everything you have done, and can do, good and bad. This will work in your favor as I will explain.
I only showed my very best work, like fondant wedding cakes I did myself that took me an entire week. They loved them, but then wanted me to perform the same stacking, frosting, smoothing, leveling, decorating, etc. in an afternoon! They were a small family owned bakery, but still demanded that I do "production work". I was used to working for my own family and other catering businesses, who had no idea how long it took to do a quality cake, and just left me alone in peace. Not in a commercial bakery when you are on the clock -picture the new show Cake Boss! I even wanted to stay late sometimes, off the clock (knowing I needed to pick up the pace), and they had a fit! I'm quite meticulous, and that doesn't count as a good decorating quality when you are paid by the hour. This is why I LOVE working alone now at my own pace Don't get me wrong, I understand their side of it, too. But be prepared!
Also, unless they are quite large, expect to work on cakes while trying to wait on customers, do dishes, make coffee, mop, dust the front, wait for mixers or tools others are using, know where everything is without asking, clean behind refrigerators when it's slow, etc.
I was also mislead by tons of cute fondant covered cakes in the front of the bakery on display(which I was anxious to work on), but then found out when I started they only got BC orders, so my fondant and gumpaste skills wouldn't count for anything.
And my final word of advice, DO NOT bring in any of your own decorating tools or equipment to their shop unless you don't care if they mysteriously disappear! All this for $8.50/hour (I didn't find out my rate until after 2 wks of working!
I admit, I did have a terrible, eye-opening experience. As I said, I have worked for other food businesses (not bakeries), and they just want the work done when it's due, not looking over your shoulder. I have been gourmet baking and decorating over 25 years, off and on, and don't want to hate it just because of a bad employer. I wish the same for you
Andrea: Go for it! Apply for your dream job now... you'll get plenty of practice on the job. A portfolio isn't necessary, most bakeries won't even want to look at it, they want to see what you can do for them in a productive amount of time rather than what you can do from home without a deadline. They'll want to train you to do it their way, and may even say "forget what you've already learned, this is the way we want you to do it" which is fine, learn all that you can from the experience. You've already got the basic skills down, just be eager and available! I always tell potential employees that it doesn't matter how good they are -- if they can't show up to work (on time), then we don't get any work done. I'd rather have someone willing to work, even if I need to train them from scratch in order to be productive. Good luck to you!
I used to work in a bakery in a grocery store, as a bakery clerk. When they would interview a new person for a cake decorating position, they would see how quick they were at decorating a cake. At grocery stores they want speed. A cake decorator also has to make many cakes for the display cases. They also have to make eclairs, brownes, pies etc. When the decorator is caught up with their work, they usually had to help out in front with the clerks. After they were done with their work they had to make sure that their area is clean and all their tips and bags were washed. I hope I am trying to rain on your parade but that is how it was when I worked for the supermarket. Good Luck
excuse me, I meant to put not trying to rain on your parade. Also, if u have the ambition and are willing to work hard and learn new things, it is the job for u!!!!!