A pastry chef

Appears in
Oxford Companion to Sugar and Sweets

By Darra Goldstein

Published 2015

  • About

A pastry chef is the person responsible for designing the dessert menu in a restaurant, hotel, or pastry shop. The pastry chef typically works in consultation with the chef in charge of the savory side of the kitchen to ensure harmony in the meal from start to finish. Depending on the size of the establishment, pastry chefs might work on their own or with a team, which can vary in size from one other person to dozens of employees in a hotel. When a restaurant cannot afford to employ a full-time pastry chef, one might be asked to consult and create a dessert menu that a more junior cook will execute, or the chef-owner might take on that responsibility. Because not all customers order desserts, whether for dietary or financial reasons, the pastry kitchen is often an area of the restaurant where budgets are trimmed.