...so What's It Like Being Bakers/decorators? Please Help

Business By keflyn Updated 6 Jan 2010 , 2:39am by morgnscakes

keflyn Posted 5 Jan 2010 , 8:56pm
post #1 of 14

I'm at the point where i'm considering many different possibilities for a future...
and I love baking, I just hate cooking. My family says I'd have to go through full-on culinary in order to do well in this field, I just want to do pastry (my future family will eat hamburger helper and like it, or they just won't eat icon_razz.gif )

So without further ado---

What kinds of things are required to know?
What do you wish you had known before starting this?
Are there regrets?
Do you love your jobs?
What are the hours like?
How rewarding is it?
How is this industry doing as a whole?
Any schools you would recommend?
Anything else I should ask about?

Thank you all if you do take the time to answer these, you all are so nice

13 replies
indydebi Posted 5 Jan 2010 , 9:02pm
post #2 of 14

I am an advocate of add'l education ... it's never a bad thing. But you don't "have" to be a culinary graduate to do this. Many of us on here (me included) have never taken one single class, let alone went to a whole school to do it.

The food industry in general is a "love it or hate it" industry. You better love it, because if you don't, you'll HATE it. It's hot, hard, demanding, heavy, hot, work that involves long hours on your feet in a hot kitchen (did I mention how hot it gets?).

BillieH Posted 5 Jan 2010 , 9:04pm
post #3 of 14

Great Questions! I'm curious to know the answers too! icon_smile.gif

keflyn Posted 5 Jan 2010 , 9:12pm
post #4 of 14

I don't mind baking indydebi, I just hate touching meats and the smell of grease just kills me, I can't stand the smells or textures, pastry though does not have those issues and I love it...

Mike_Elder Posted 5 Jan 2010 , 9:20pm
post #5 of 14

There's no right or wrong answer here. education? it couldn't hurt (or could it??) I'm almost solely self educated (and lucky to have grown up with a ICES hall of fame MOM!) Went to college for an aviation degree! The main thing I KNOW you MUST have is a very strong will!!!! (talent helps ALOT!!!)

Is it rewarding... Yes (sometimes! LOL) It's also very very demanding!!!!! This industry doesn't allow you to mess up!! The cake has to be there and it has to look like you promised! (end of story) There is no excuse good enough to sooth a bride whose cake is laying in a pile in the back of your van after some jerk cut you off, or reason to explain why the cake isn't what your client wanted!

The Job includes many rediculously long hours on your feet for what is rarely enough money! It is also very fun and rewarding (i think??) I've been lucky enough to get alot of attention in the media and TV but most really good decorators only get the audience at the event to recieve the praise from!

It's great doing something for someone that they have never seen before (because it didn't exist until you made it!) and seeing how happy they are with your work!

I would suggest that you take as many opportunities to learn about the art as possible, and be sure that its for you before you invest too much time (and money) to the cause!

I would think the best way to learn is by doing! If your lucky you can find a (good) decorator who needs help and intern there! Take what you can get at first but make sure they're willing to throw you a bone here and there!!

Hope that helps? If you got more questions email me!

Mike

confectionsofahousewife Posted 5 Jan 2010 , 9:29pm
post #6 of 14
Quote:
Originally Posted by Mike_Elder

There's no right or wrong answer here. education? it couldn't hurt (or could it??) I'm almost solely self educated (and lucky to have grown up with a ICES hall of fame MOM!) Went to college for an aviation degree! The main thing I KNOW you MUST have is a very strong will!!!! (talent helps ALOT!!!) Is it rewarding... Yes (sometimes! LOL) It's also very very demanding!!!!! This industry doesn't allow you to mess up!! The cake has to be there and it has to look like you promised! (end of story) There is no excuse good enough to sooth a bride whose cake is laying in a pile in the back of your van after some jerk cut you off, or reason to explain why the cake isn't what your client wanted! The Job includes many rediculously long hours on your feet for what is rarely enough money!
It is also very fun and rewarding (i think??) I've been lucky enough to get alot of attention in the media and TV but most really good decorators only get the audience at the event to recieve the praise from! It's great doing something for someone that they have never seen before (because it didn't exist until you made it!) and seeing how happy they are with your work! I would suggest that you take as many opportunities to learn about the art as possible, and be sure that its for you before you invest too much time (and money) to the cause!
I would think the best way to learn is by doing! If your lucky you can find a (good) decorator who needs help and intern there! Take what you can get at first but make sure they're willing to throw you a bone here and there!!Hope that helps? If you got more questions email me!
Mike




Thanks for asking this question. I, too, am just contemplating getting started and don't have any kind of pastry "education" except for a few wilton classes (unless a masters in biology counts icon_biggrin.gif ).

Mike, I happened to notice you are from Missouri. I am in southwest Missouri. Do you know of any more advanced classes that are offered in your area? I would enjoy learning some new things. (Don't mean to hijack the thread). TIA

tonedna Posted 5 Jan 2010 , 9:32pm
post #7 of 14

I think you have to have passion for it!..Is the force that drives me. I love cake decor.
Even when things can be difficult, you just find yourself wanting to try harder until you get it.

Practice is a must. No matter how gifted you are. Some things will be easier to learn, others just require more time. Leave frustration out the door. And just have fun with it
Edna icon_biggrin.gif

leah_s Posted 5 Jan 2010 , 11:40pm
post #8 of 14

You do have to love it. Just ask the Friday Night Cake Club. we're here every Friday night, talking about the cakes we're working on, solving problems, etc. Every. Friday. Night.

As long as you're prepared for 16-20 hour days on your feet (not every day, but sometimes several in a row) and being the responsible person (you know, whatever happens, whatever, you're the one responsible) and can bake, decorate, create a website, write marketing materials, talk to people on the phone, sell and upsell, network with other people in a variety of industries, clean and endure inspections from lots of people what to look at your "stuff" you'll be fine. Oh, and fill out forms, and do taxes and accounting and understand general business practices.

You see, a lot of this biz doesn't have a lot to do with baking and decorating.

all4cake Posted 6 Jan 2010 , 12:15am
post #9 of 14

Rewarding? This is the only job(even when I was working for someone else doing the same thing) that I can do, happily, without sleep, for 3 days in a row, sleep for almost an entire day and be willing to do it all over again. I'd have to say if it's what you really want to be doing, it is definitely rewarding.

cas17 Posted 6 Jan 2010 , 12:40am
post #10 of 14

love/hate relationship. LOVE creating an edible work of art and seeing the happy smiles when you deliver your baby. hate the clean up, every bit of the business end of it and the selling/marketing of yourself. i took all the wilton classes in '08 and then began trying to absorb everything i possibly could from the very knowlegable and talented folks here icon_smile.gif

prterrell Posted 6 Jan 2010 , 12:40am
post #11 of 14

If you do decide to go to a culinary school, there are those that have programs dedicated to baking and pastry. You may have to do some basic general cooking courses, it just depends on the program.

If I hadn't met my DH, I probably would have gone to the CIA for their pastry program.

costumeczar Posted 6 Jan 2010 , 12:50am
post #12 of 14

I was going to mention the pastry programs, too. I did a certificate in pastry arts and the only "cooking" part of it was the sanitation and basics course (knife skills, etc.) Not a piece of meat in sight after that.

It's not necessary to do a culinary program, but I think it helps because it will give you the foundation for making your own recipes and a chance to gain a wider variety of pastry skills that you might not get without it.

FACSlady Posted 6 Jan 2010 , 1:19am
post #13 of 14

I'm not a pro - just fairly recently became a hobbiest. I have taken some culinary arts courses, however, for my job (Family and Consumer Science teacher) and I must say that having the basic understanding of the chemistry of baking can help a lot. There's a reason why pastry recipes are called formulas. Besides, it's fun to take baking courses!

morgnscakes Posted 6 Jan 2010 , 2:39am
post #14 of 14

I would say like IndyDeb that it is not necessary to have formal education from a college of school. I acquired my "formal education" the way most people do...by being in the kitchen with my mother, aunts, grandmother. My husband is the same way. We create new recipes by trial and error and by knowing tried and true recipes from scratch recipes that our families have done for years, but incorporating some new ones that we have researched.

In my professional career (pharmacist), I chose to be in a retail environment because I am a people person and am always on my feet. Same thing goes for the cake business. But seeing the reaction from clients when they see the cake or confections and then when they taste it!!! It's priceless and the most rewarding feeling!!

It's not a glamour job...long hours at times, physical labor and endurance, breakdown moments, frustrating clients sometimes and the need to be a people person.

Like we say at to our pharmacy interns...this job is not for everybody, but those it is for...there's nothing like it!!!!

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