Do Cake Shops Hire The Self Taught?

Business By luv2cook721 Updated 16 Aug 2009 , 3:10pm by jlynnw

luv2cook721 Posted 12 Aug 2009 , 2:24am
post #1 of 14

I am just wondering if being self-taught can get you(me) anywhere or if it is really necessary to have culinary schooling. There is no home baking businesses in my state and I don't see how I could buy a commercial kitchen and start a business from scratch and still keep a roof over my kids heads. I don't know that I am seriously considering working for a bakery either, but just curious if that would even be an option.

13 replies
Mensch Posted 12 Aug 2009 , 3:59am
post #2 of 14

If your work is up to par, why shouldn't they hire you?

xstitcher Posted 12 Aug 2009 , 4:04am
post #3 of 14

I guess it would depend on the bakery but personally I don't see why not as a number of great decorators (some well known) are self taught and do not have a culinary degree.

Bonavolonta Posted 12 Aug 2009 , 4:31am
post #4 of 14

I've been wondering the same thing myself. I went today to check out the Pastry Arts program at a nearby college. They want $17,500 for a 9 month course. Unbelievable! I'm sure I would love it and learn a lot but that is just outrages. I went straight from there to a well established bakery here in town and spoke with one of the owners. She said herself don't do it. She said I might as well spend 9 months working in a bakery learning hands on. Sure, I'll have to start as counter help for close to minimum wage but that's fine with me! The other owner (she wasn't in today) is self taught and now not only owns her own bakery but has won numerous awards, and competed on TLC and the Food network. Talk about inspiration!

luv2cook721 Posted 12 Aug 2009 , 5:02am
post #5 of 14

That is kinda what I thought. My problem is I don't have the luxury of working as counter help at minimum wage. If I give up my day job I need a comparable income or the bills don't get paid. I love to do cakes, and I get frequent encouragement that I should, "go into business" but it is not as easy as it sounds. Pretty much impossible to do it part time as far as I can tell since my state won't license home kitchens.

xstitcher Posted 12 Aug 2009 , 5:13am
post #6 of 14

Even if you do go to culinary school your starting wages are probably not going to be great either plus you have the added cost of school loan payments to probably pay off. Is there a possibility for you to look for a part-time bakery job? That's what I would love to do myself.

prettycakes Posted 12 Aug 2009 , 5:24am
post #7 of 14

lov2cook, I feel your pain. I am going to nursing school in order to get a job that will pay enough for me to save enough to open a bakery in my area. All of this, just to feed my addiction for decoration cakes.

BCJean Posted 12 Aug 2009 , 6:22am
post #8 of 14

luv2cook721 .....ok, now that I have looked at all of your cakes, I can say, you have a real variety of decorating techniques and that is always really good. I have worked both for bakeries and in-store bakeries. To be honest, most of them prefer you have not been to culinary school. Most bakeries have their own way of doing things and would prefer you learn their way.

As for the decorating part, you are already fine on that and from what I have heard you wouldn't really learn more about decorating in a culinary school. The first thing most bakeries are looking for is some sort of speed. If you can work fast and still do neat creative work, then they will want you to work for them.

I would also advise you to check in on working part time on weekends. They always need extra help on Saturdays. This would give you some commercial training and let you know if it is something you would want to do 40 hours a week.

cylstrial Posted 12 Aug 2009 , 12:19pm
post #9 of 14

Well go out there and apply for these jobs! They will tell you. Personally, as somebody who hired and fired (and was in charge of 100+ people), I can tell you I found that the people that I wanted to hire didn't have the skills, but they had the ability to learn and a pleasant personality. So I hired them and my managers trained them. And most of them did just fine.

It doesn't hurt to try and you'll never know if you don't do it. Go for it!

soygurl Posted 16 Aug 2009 , 2:22am
post #10 of 14
Quote:
Originally Posted by BCJean

luv2cook721 .....ok, now that I have looked at all of your cakes, I can say, you have a real variety of decorating techniques and that is always really good. I have worked both for bakeries and in-store bakeries. To be honest, most of them prefer you have not been to culinary school. Most bakeries have their own way of doing things and would prefer you learn their way.

As for the decorating part, you are already fine on that and from what I have heard you wouldn't really learn more about decorating in a culinary school. The first thing most bakeries are looking for is some sort of speed. If you can work fast and still do neat creative work, then they will want you to work for them.

I would also advise you to check in on working part time on weekends. They always need extra help on Saturdays. This would give you some commercial training and let you know if it is something you would want to do 40 hours a week.




The speed thing is so, SO true! And I was also going to suggest you look for part time work. Saturdays ARE really busy, so it's possible you could find something that would allow you to keep working your "pay-the-bills" current job, while getting some experience doing cakes as a profession.

luv2cook721 Posted 16 Aug 2009 , 5:01am
post #11 of 14

I am not sure if I am fast or not. I really don't know what the average cake making speed would be.

Texas_Rose Posted 16 Aug 2009 , 5:36am
post #12 of 14

It depends on the area where you live too, how much bakeries will pay you even with experience...I see ads here looking for experienced decorators and they only want to pay $7.50 or $8 an hour. San Antonio is notoriously cheap (as far as what employers pay, not cost of living) but you might want to ask around or look at job ads in your area and see what experienced decorator make, and then decide if it would ever be a job that would pay your bills...I mean, if the most they'll ever pay is $13 an hour, for example, it's probably not going to be enough ever, unless you owned your own shop.

sweetcravings Posted 16 Aug 2009 , 2:50pm
post #13 of 14

I think thats what keeps me from applying at a bakery or cake shop, i'm self taught too. I just dunno if I could keep up with trained people. I definitely don't know everything about cakes and am not sure if that would be frowned apon.

jlynnw Posted 16 Aug 2009 , 3:10pm
post #14 of 14

Take your pictures with you. Be prepared to talk about and explain why you are self taught. I would hire someone that had your skills and the motivation to learn on their own. I would apply for a cake decorator or back up decorator position, however. I have seen many counter help think they can work their way to decorate to be disappointed. Aim high and then if they offer a counter position to work up, you will not be disappointed. If you have any specialty shops in your area, apply there as well. You never know what all they are looking for. Maybe a part-timer to help out, learn the ropes while you are still full time will fit their bill.

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