rr2sweet Posted 15 Oct 2013 , 9:03pm
post #1 of 21

AI just had an interview this past Thursday at a local bakery. They want to start selling cakes and are looking for someone to head up that department. I showed him my portfolio of all my cakes and he was pleased. It is down to three people now and he wants each of us to come in two days to see what we can do. I'm just getting really nervous now. I have decorating experience at home and have worked in a grocery store bakery for two months now. He wants me to do everything with the cakes from start to finish, and while I have many good recipes I don't have them all memorized. I'm just nervous he's going to ask me to make something during the job testing and I'm not going to know what to do. Any advice? Or has anyone had a similar experience?

20 replies
MimiFix Posted 15 Oct 2013 , 9:43pm
post #2 of 21

No one would ever expect you to memorize recipes. It's actually foolish to work from memory since it's easy to make a mistake without the formula in front of you. Most professionals have a tool bag filled with favorite most-used tools. I'm still using the black & white striped tote bag I started with. I suggest you bring one to the working interview. Good luck, hon! 

embersmom Posted 16 Oct 2013 , 1:02am
post #3 of 21

I hope they're not expecting you to make the cake :shudder:

 

Most bakery try-outs give you the cake and tell you to decorate it or finish or something along those lines.  In any case, I'd bring my tool box (akin to what Mimi Fix said) with me.

rr2sweet Posted 16 Oct 2013 , 2:31am
post #4 of 21

AYa I'm not really sure if their expecting me to make the cake. They said ill be working with their other pastry chef and they want to see how we work. And thanks for the idea of bringing a tool bag ill definitely have to do that now :)

Stitches Posted 16 Oct 2013 , 2:39am
post #5 of 21

No one memorizes their recipes, bring them with you. Most people have small note pads or digital recipes. If possible bring a smart phone so you have internet access to look up anything you might be unfamiliar with. I even bring photo references/ideas with me.......that's normally what I use on the job.

 

Do they advertise that they bake from scratch? If they don't, they probably expect you to use a mix, which they will have the recipe for. If they want you to bake cakes from scratch that adds to the complexity of the job and you'll be giving them your recipes.

 

I always bring my own tool box with everything I could possibly need....just in case they don't have some basic items.

 

Remember no one knows how to bake and make everything. I look up recipes online during work all the time, that's fine. You probably will know more about cakes than they do, if they are looking for a dept. head.

 

Good Luck!

AnnieCahill Posted 16 Oct 2013 , 12:54pm
post #6 of 21

If they're expecting you to bake they will probably have everything mise en place with a set of directions for you.  I think it's unreasonable to assume that they're expecting you to bring in your own recipe. 

MimiFix Posted 16 Oct 2013 , 1:45pm
post #7 of 21
Quote:
Originally Posted by AnnieCahill 
 

If they're expecting you to bake they will probably have everything mise en place with a set of directions for you.  I think it's unreasonable to assume that they're expecting you to bring in your own recipe. 

 

Executive chefs can be unreasonable. I once had a four-hour working interview, pastry chef position, with a national hotel/restaurant chain. It was like Cupcake Wars without a decent kitchen (and without the hoopla). I was expected to bake and decorate a cake, plus two more desserts (my choice). And I was expected to use my own recipes and tools. But they did pay me.

-K8memphis Posted 16 Oct 2013 , 1:53pm
post #8 of 21

Quote:

Originally Posted by AnnieCahill 
 

If they're expecting you to bake they will probably have everything mise en place with a set of directions for you.  I think it's unreasonable to assume that they're expecting you to bring in your own recipe. 

 

i hope this is true for you--what a nice interview that would be--

 

it's not been my experience at all my interviews that they mise en placed for me--so also be prepared to really be able to scramble and negotiate well and get what you need IF you need to--

 

if necessary-- be prepared to not use what you bring because some places want you to use their stuff exclusively--they can sometimes resist buying/trying new things--even if it's a new department--they want to start up with as little cost as possible--just something to be aware of if they lean that way--not unusual

 

and be careful to keep all tools separate--yours & theirs--little tips & stuff--

 

i don't know--vastly different experiences huh

 

would love to hear how it goes for you--the interview

-K8memphis Posted 16 Oct 2013 , 1:57pm
post #9 of 21

Quote:

Originally Posted by MimiFix 
 

 

Executive chefs can be unreasonable. I once had a four-hour working interview, pastry chef position, with a national hotel/restaurant chain. It was like Cupcake Wars without a decent kitchen (and without the hoopla). I was expected to bake and decorate a cake, plus two more desserts (my choice). And I was expected to use my own recipes and tools. But they did pay me.

 

this sounds like my experiences ;) 

 

"executive chefs* can be unreasonable"  :lol:  what a diplomat you are, mimi!

 

*owners, bosses, managers 

Cakespirations Posted 16 Oct 2013 , 2:13pm
post #10 of 21

I have had two working interviews. One as a Culinary Chef and one as an Artisan Baker. For the culinary job I came with my knife kit in full cook whites and ready to go, For the Artisan job, I provided my calculator ready to do bakers math, plus had my kit and my thermometer. No one expects you to have recipes memorized. The preconceived notion of a Pastry Chef/Culinary Chef is that we know all the recipes in our heads. We don't, we know technique. Now there are some things we all memorize. How to put a rue together, baking powder biscuits, a quick country loaf, risotto and a simple cake. But outside of that, I have a great big book of formulas from my experiences in college which is well loved and worn at the seams, in addition to a million (per my DH) of cook books.

 

Good luck today !! You will do Great

AnnieCahill Posted 16 Oct 2013 , 2:21pm
post #11 of 21

Yeah I've heard many words for executive chefs and unreasonable isn't one of them.  :P  LOL Mimi!

BrandisBaked Posted 16 Oct 2013 , 2:48pm
post #12 of 21

AI used to do try outs that lasted about 3 hours (unpaid, unless I hired that person). I hand them a recipe, showed them where to find things and let them do it. I had them mix and bake a simple recipe, decorate a cake, ice sugar cookies and then tray up croissants (What we called "breakfast prep") to see if they were naturally efficient.

I didn't care as much about decorating skill as I did efficiency and how comfortable someone seemed in the kitchen.

I think it's best to move efficiently, but with purpose (not flustered or scrambling). And they may ask you to copy a cake design or come up with your own, so it's good to have a design that you can execute quickly and well.

MimiFix Posted 16 Oct 2013 , 3:03pm
post #13 of 21
Quote:
Originally Posted by -K8memphis 
 

"executive chefs* can be unreasonable"  :lol:  what a diplomat you are, mimi!

Quote:
Originally Posted by AnnieCahill 
 

Yeah I've heard many words for executive chefs and unreasonable isn't one of them.  :P  LOL Mimi!

 

 

He was a real gem, hated women, hated all God's children except his own. He plays a starring role in my last book, The (Faux) Pastry Chef.

Cakespirations Posted 16 Oct 2013 , 3:07pm
post #14 of 21

Quote:

Originally Posted by MimiFix 
 

 

He was a real gem, hated women, hated all God's children except his own. He plays a starring role in my last book, The (Faux) Pastry Chef.

 

I worked for a man just like that... was yours French... mine was. I was good enough to make him breakfast every morning before my shift ended (baked all night) but I wasn't good enough to advance into the all men club at dinner service.

-K8memphis Posted 16 Oct 2013 , 3:10pm
post #15 of 21

how cool, mimi--i never clicked on your links before--rural tennessee! how cool

 

(i really wanna write a book-)-

 

that is awesome for you--

 

that you are a published author--

 

multiplied congratulations

rr2sweet Posted 17 Oct 2013 , 1:58am
post #16 of 21

AThan k you everyone for the great advice :) ill definitely be bringing a tool kit and my recipe booklet Just in case

longduo Posted 17 Oct 2013 , 6:22am
post #17 of 21

 Most professionals have a tool bag filled with favorite most-used tools.

http://www.ff14mall.com/

morganchampagne Posted 17 Oct 2013 , 6:52am
post #18 of 21

AI had an interview once at a country club that I thought was intense. But nothing like what you guys are describing holy cow!! I loved that job too...learned so much.

Sweetasyou Posted 17 Oct 2013 , 1:10pm
post #19 of 21

ACongrats!

This world is all about talent.

Come to the interview as if you were going to work.

Bring your tool bag, in uniform (hair pulled back), and your recipe/professional book. Bring extra towels, gloves, and an apron so that you are not running around in an unfamiliar kitchen.

Have everything organized and do as you are told!

If you are to create your own recipes then have your recipes handy, so that you do not waste any time.

Most important do your mise en place first (get all your ingredients and measure before cooking) and clean as you go.

If you are slow, dirty, or spend most of your time looking lost you will not get the job.

This is why it is very important to organize a good laminated binder with your recipes, photos, and cheat sheets.

I use laminated sheets or large Ziploc bag to keep my paper clean that I am using while working at the table.

But, I do bring my binder to work with me every single day.

Like someone suggested keep your phone on you for Internet purposes.

Good Luck!

rr2sweet Posted 21 Oct 2013 , 2:29am
post #20 of 21

ASo i guess I was scaring myself for nothing! The bakery uses cake mix and better cream to decorate! I don't have much experience with bettercreme though I. Used to buttercream and fondant

embersmom Posted 21 Oct 2013 , 1:31pm
post #21 of 21

Quote:

Originally Posted by rr2sweet 

So i guess I was scaring myself for nothing! The bakery uses cake mix and better cream to decorate! I don't have much experience with bettercreme though I. Used to buttercream and fondant


That doesn't surprise me in the least.  Back when I did restaurant/catering work the only thing we made from scratch were cookies.  We doctored cake mixes and used Bettercreme as a base for our icings.

 

A lot of people prefer working with Bettercreme because it's easier to manipulate than buttercream.  I don't particularly like it because it tends to get lumpy/chunky if you leave it out for too long.  A lot of people prefer the lighter taste, too.

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