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Pay & Work Conditions for Pastry Chefs

by Forest Time

Pastry chefs design, bake, fill and frost a variety of pastries and desserts such as cakes, pies, croissants, tarts and breads. While the position may seem idyllic at first glance, pastry chefs typically work long hours in a stressful environment and tend to earn less than some other types of chefs.

Chef Pay Comparisons

Website StarChefs.com conducted a salary survey that found the average salary for a pastry chef to be $56,383 per year as of 2012. This was a higher rate of pay than several classes of chef. Sous chefs, for example, averaged $42,059 per year, while chef de cuisines reported an average annual salary of $54,827. However, chefs who owned their own company earned an average of $66,115 per year. Private chefs averaged $71,667 and executive chefs reported an average salary of $84,154 per year.

Experience Pay Scale

As of 2010 pastry chefs earned an average of $28,333 during their first year on the job. Pastry chefs who had been working in the position for between five and eight years reported a significantly higher average salary of $37,466. Average salaries climbed to $47,452 after nine to 12 years of industry experience and to $54,962 after between 13 and 15 years. Pastry chefs with 21 to 25 years in the industry earned an average of $68,000 per year.

Other Factors Affecting Pay

Pastry chefs tend to earn different wages depending on where they work. StarChefs.com found that those working for country clubs fared the best in 2010, with an average pay of $61,611. Pastry chefs working at restaurants averaged $43,123, while those employed by hotels brought home an average of $46,547 per year. Another factor was gender. Male pastry chefs reported an average salary of $52,713 compared with a significantly lower average of $38,548 for female pastry chefs.

Working Conditions

A job as a pastry chef can entail a high degree of freedom to create the types of dishes you really want to make. However, working conditions can be tiring. Pastry chefs work an average of 10 hours per workday and an average of 55 hours per week. Kitchens can be hot and meeting deadlines can be stressful. In addition, many pastry chefs find that they need to work late into the night or start very early in the morning to get certain items cooked in a timely fashion.

Photo Credits

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