Brettley Posted 29 Sep 2012 , 8:37pm
post #1 of

I am sure this topic has been touched on before, but I have been wondering this last year about whether or not to call myself a professional. What criteria are used to determine the professionals from the unprofessionals? Is it mentality/ego based, customer reviews, # of orders, execution, etc.....

So my question to you is:

At what point in your career did you start calling yourself a professional?

14 replies
stsapph Posted 29 Sep 2012 , 8:52pm
post #2 of

My understanding with this, in any business, is that as soon as you start accepting money for your work, you are considered a professional. Now, that is only what I was taught, should be interesting to see what others have to say.

CWR41 Posted 29 Sep 2012 , 8:53pm
post #3 of

When it's your profession, your occupation, what you do for a living/your livelihood...
http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/professional?s=t

Brettley Posted 29 Sep 2012 , 9:22pm
post #4 of

So maybe to further my question, what makes a decorator a Master decorator maybe.

I have been browsinng Cake Wrecks lately, and the thing that gets me is that the cakes on there are from Professionals. And that is what got me thinking about the criteria to call yourself one.

Anyway, maybe I am just putting too much thought into it.

Just thought I would get others opinions.

ladyhawke917 Posted 29 Sep 2012 , 9:48pm
post #5 of

Technically speaking, if you get paid for doing something you could say you are a proffessional, but I think there is so much more to it in this case. It seems like a lot of people in the cake industry are selling cakes without being licensed, following the laws set forth and etc. I would personally not call those people proffessionals.

Brettley Posted 29 Sep 2012 , 10:54pm
post #6 of
Quote:
Originally Posted by ladyhawke917

Technically speaking, if you get paid for doing something you could say you are a proffessional, but I think there is so much more to it in this case. It seems like a lot of people in the cake industry are selling cakes without being licensed, following the laws set forth and etc. I would personally not call those people proffessionals.




I agree completely.

Unlimited Posted 30 Sep 2012 , 12:02am
post #7 of
Quote:
Originally Posted by Brettley

So maybe to further my question, what makes a decorator a Master decorator maybe.




I can't define a Master decorator but according to The Bakers' Union, you aren't considered a true Journeyman cake decorator if you can't make roses, write, or figure pipe. You're considered an Apprentice "cake icer" if you make borders, leaves, stems, sweetpeas, etc., but you don't qualify for the "decorator" wages until you've learned those three skills, bid on the position (when available), passed the bench test, and are awarded the title by an independent judge that doesn't know your "style".

Brettley Posted 30 Sep 2012 , 1:07am
post #8 of
Quote:
Originally Posted by Unlimited

Quote:
Originally Posted by Brettley

So maybe to further my question, what makes a decorator a Master decorator maybe.



I can't define a Master decorator but according to The Bakers' Union, you aren't considered a true Journeyman cake decorator if you can't make roses, write, or figure pipe. You're considered an Apprentice "cake icer" if you make borders, leaves, stems, sweetpeas, etc., but you don't qualify for the "decorator" wages until you've learned those three skills, bid on the position (when available), passed the bench test, and are awarded the title by an independent judge that doesn't know your "style".




That is more or less what I am asking. What seperates the good from the bad. What do us "apprentice decorators" need to know before we can gain a new title, as a master or journeyman.

It's too bad that there weren't modules. Haha.

I guess returning customers is always a good sign that you are doing something right.

AZCouture Posted 30 Sep 2012 , 3:15am
post #9 of

When you stop asking questions/saying things like this:

How much to charge? (Unless it's something really complex and want to bounce the idea off other decorators)

Haaaaaaaaaaaaaalp! Customer didn't like cake and wants a refund!!!

Haaaaaaaalp! Cake due tomorrow! How do I make this?!?! (and it's something that should have been made a week in advance)

Where do I find a steamer? (Just kidding...not really. Sometimes it's good for patent leather and...ok, that's it, just patent leather)

icon_biggrin.gificon_biggrin.gif All in fun, all in fun.

Unlimited Posted 30 Sep 2012 , 3:31am
Quote:
Originally Posted by Brettley

It's too bad that there weren't modules. Haha.




The "modules" or standardization for measuring, in this case, was based on speed, consistency, and accuracy.

It's appropriate when journeyman wages are awarded to the most highly-skilled decorators rather than the ones with the most seniority because sometimes you can't teach an old dog a new trick, and they never get it right with all the practice in the world. (It takes a true, natural artistic ability to gain the skillyou either have it, or you don't.)

grandmomof1 Posted 30 Sep 2012 , 3:54am

Our State Fair classifies "professional" as when you make more than a $1000 in a year. If you make less than that , they classify you as "amateur." That's just the classification if you enter decorated cakes in the State Fair in SC.

grandmomof1 Posted 30 Sep 2012 , 3:57am

...and you can earn different designations through ICES, PME, and many of the schools.

Brettley Posted 30 Sep 2012 , 5:12am
Quote:
Originally Posted by AZCouture

When you stop asking questions/saying things like this:

How much to charge? (Unless it's something really complex and want to bounce the idea off other decorators)

Haaaaaaaaaaaaaalp! Customer didn't like cake and wants a refund!!!

Haaaaaaaalp! Cake due tomorrow! How do I make this?!?! (and it's something that should have been made a week in advance)

Where do I find a steamer? (Just kidding...not really. Sometimes it's good for patent leather and...ok, that's it, just patent leather)

icon_biggrin.gificon_biggrin.gif All in fun, all in fun.




This made me chuckle.

When I was just starting out, If I had known about Cake Central, I likely would have posted in the Haaaalp forums. But unfortunately I did not know that it existed, and I remember MANY MANY practice cakes. And LOTS of money spent on dummies.

AngieV256 Posted 30 Sep 2012 , 12:17pm

This is an awesome question. Super complicated! Although i suppose the short answer would be when you are paid for the work you provide. I'm sure we have all seen things paid for that were less than the quality and caliber that someone would consider "professional".

To me it's skill level. Are the cakes produced clean, level, smooth? No tears, pokes, damage, messiness? And yes fresh and delicious too!? Of course there is always room for improvement even a Master decorator would agree to that.

For my experience (Culinary school, apprentice, pastry cook, assistant pastry chef, and then executive pastry chef) it is being granted a "Title" that makes you a professional. In culinary school you are told when you graduate you will be a chef. This is not true! I was an apprentice during school, and then a "Cook, Level 1" after school. Never was I called "Chef" until I was hired as a Pastry Chef (dept. head) in a restaurant.

So I guess my answer would be if those around you would consider your work professional? A jury of peers, so to speak? Does someone just starting out aspire to your skill level?

sorry for the longish post... I said it was complicated lol
icon_biggrin.gif

Brettley Posted 30 Sep 2012 , 1:48pm
Quote:
Originally Posted by AngieV256



So I guess my answer would be if those around you would consider your work professional? A jury of peers, so to speak? Does someone just starting out aspire to your skill level?
icon_biggrin.gif




I LOVE this. I never really thought of it that way, but that could definitely be something to consider when one is trying to figure out whether they are or are not.

You are right, it is a super complicated subject, and does not have an easy answer. But I love hearing your thoughts on the subject.

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