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Bake your cake & eat it too
Pastry making is an art, a creative endeavour and passion for some. With India tilting towards the sweet tooth and modern urbanites getting exposed to quality and variety, the demand for pastry chefs has shot through the skies, says Raghu Nandan
The tide of sweeter things has taken curry country India by its collar. The Indian Bakery market is estimated to be worth Rs 16,500 crore, growing at a healthy 7.5 per cent per annum. In fact, it is considered to be one of the largest food industries consisting of product categories like breads, biscuits, pastries, cakes, buns and rusks. These bakery products are catching up with modern Indian lifestyles tilting towards the sweet tooth. Among all, the pastry is the darling of Indian hearts. A rise in demand, paired with the love for innovation, has led to pastry making becoming a leading occupational choice.
One can attribute this rise in innovation to consumers travelling more and being exposed to geniuses England’s master chef Gordon Ramsey and Marco Pierre White bringing culinary wizadry to the Indian shores through television. Gone are the days of Plain Jane fruit cake or frothy pineapple cake. A slew of new techniques and ingredients are the driving force behind pastry making setting the job market on fire.
In becoming a part of the food industry, one needs to understand the whys and hows of the art of presenting. An interest in delicious desserts that not only taste good but also look tempting is a must. A pastry chef needs to inculcate the art of making and beautifying desserts.
It is an interesting, creative, intricate and challenging job to be a pastry chef. Having an artistic presence in preparations creates a temptation in the beholder as people want something that is a feast for their tongue as well as their eyes. Yet the beauty of pastry arts comes with its rigid set of knowledge.
The process of becoming a pastry chef involves specific knowledge, specialized skills and a few personal characteristics, as crafting delectable desserts which are multi-layered, require proper amassing of crucial components and have a stunning final product. Each ingredient needs to be measured properly with a perfect balance to get the best results. Therefore, hard work and patience are the virtues of a good pastry chef.
A greater number of aspiring pastry chefs are going to Europe and US to learn the skill of pastry making. People are no longer heading only to France as a lot of opportunities have come up in India as well. So many of these chefs are returning to India, working in hotels, opening their own pastry shops or doing online business. This brings to the fore the need for a dedicated pastry making academy in India.
Pastry, being such a niche area, needs a perfect set-up with state-of-the-art equipment and a highly finessed pastry faculty.
Once you enter the pastry world you will be surprised to know the opportunities and areas of exposure. Bread, chocolate, pastries, designer cakes, ice cream, travel cakes & vinnoeserie are just the tip of the cake industry.
Whatever level of education, it is necessary to opt for the right programme that offers guidance and expert advice. Vitals to compare while choosing culinary programmes are:
- Faculty: A culinary faculty should consist of experienced chefs who are experienced and can mentor people who have just stepped into this field.
- Accreditation: Always go for a culinary federation that is recognised and has a name that can help you move forward while exercising your skills in the market.
- Facilities: A good culinary facility always involves working in a professional kitchen and on-job trainings using standard industry equipment.
It is important to build a career by imbibing all sorts of practical experiences, part-time job training, finances, customer relations and student placement services.
One misconception to be busted is that pastry chefs are limited to making cakes and bakes.
There are swarms of options for anyone where one can work for a bakery, patisserie or even a restaurant. Self-funded start-ups as a baker or even niche boutiques are currently a rage. With the booming dessert industry fuelling demand, pastry chefs are hot currency and get handsome salaries.
A pastry chef is thus a wonderful career to pursue for anyone who is artistic and creative, practical and logical. It’s a career with rich opportunities and a lot of fun as you get to make money out of your passion.
(The writer is pastry chef, Academy of Pastry Arts)
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