Picture yourself making flowers for a wedding cake, squeezing and molding fondant for hours. You prepare the cake exactly as requested by the client, but when they see it, they decide they want something different, and you only have two hours to get it together! As a pastry chef, you must learn to expect the unexpected! There are different types of stress in a job. In this role, you will need to be prepared to change gears at any given moment. You may find yourself kneading dough for two hours and then you're putting the details on the tiniest tarts while managing clients and staff.
"I am experienced in keeping up with the fast pace of the kitchen and working with my staff to prepare the best quality baked goods."
Picture yourself in the back of the bakery in a tiny kitchen with no windows, tension rising high like the yeast in your sourdough bread! In a high-stress work environment with so many moving parts and people involved, you need to be able to keep your cool. This not only benefits you, but it also helps the morale of your team. When you're asked a question about dealing with conflict or overcoming a challenge, think of an example first. Having a concrete situation to draw from will help you to think through the steps you take to deal with conflict.
"My coworker and I had a misunderstanding about the schedule. We both got frustrated, so I took a step back and asked if we could talk about it when we are both calm so that the tension didn't escalate. The next day I pulled him aside and asked if we could talk. We both shared our sides of the story and realized it was just a miscommunication."
Question 3 of 30
Tell me about a time when you disagreed with your boss.
How to Answer
How to Answer
Even though you may have a great relationships with your boss, there will be times where you don't see eye to eye. Think of a conflict or disagreement you had with your boss where responded well, either by suggesting a compromise or taking a calm, relaxed stance when you could have responded in a heated tone. Compromise puts you in a great position with your boss, because it shows your desire to work together and your creative problem solving ability. If you share a situation where you could not find a common ground, discuss how you were willing to share your opinion and also willing to let your boss decide. This shows your humility and willingness to pick your battles, letting the small things slide to focus on more important issues.
Question 4 of 30
Do you work well on a team? Or do you prefer to work on your own?
How to Answer
How to Answer
When an interviewer asks a question like this, they are really interested in two things:
1) Are you flexible?
2) Can you manage yourself?
As a pastry chef, you will need to collaborate with your team when cooking and planning for meals and events. Working on a team requires you to be open and adaptive to working with people who are different from you. They may have different opinions and work styles. Even while working on a team you will need to be able to manage yourself by managing your time and prioritizing tasks just as you would when working alone. You might consider responding with, "I enjoy working on a team because I love getting input from my co-workers, but I also enjoy working independently." You can even share an example of a good experience you had when working on a team in culinary school or in your most recent restaurant job.
"I enjoy working on a team because I love getting input from my co-workers, but I also enjoy working independently."
Question 5 of 30
Are you able to work overtime, weekends, and holidays?
How to Answer
How to Answer
Pastry chefs often work long hours, starting in the wee hours of the morning and sometimes working through the night. You may work a 12-hour day or even multiple shifts in a day, taking breaks in between. Many pastry chefs work with event companies to provide cakes and other treats for weddings, galas, or catering events. Depending on the work environment, expect to work long hours with few breaks, especially before meals. Explain your availability, but be clear that you are willing to work whatever shifts they require. If you're not sure what to expect, ask! Every company is different.
Rachelle Enns is an executive head-hunter and job search expert. Utilized by top executives from Fortune 100 & 500 companies like Fitbit, Microsoft, General Electric, Nestle, and more, she helps professionals position themselves in a competitive marketplace. Rachelle founded Renovate My Resume, a company that focuses on helping job seekers get their edge back. Renovate My Resume creates stand-out resumes, cover letters, LinkedIn profiles and professional summaries for new grads, all the way to corporate executives. Rachelle spends much of her time training career coaches, recruiters, and resume writers. She also holds interview workshops for students and interns, globally. For great tips and tricks, follow Rachelle on Instagram @_rachelle_e or @renovatemyresume.
Elisabeth Walter has over five years of experience in the corporate recruiting world. More recently, she has been freelance writing for the past two years. You can reach out to Elisabeth by visiting her LinkedIn profile, at https://www.linkedin.com/in/elisabethwalter/
First written on: 11/20/2014 Last modified on: 08/21/2018
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About Pastry Chef
August 16th, 2018
Pastry chefs are culinary professionals with specialist knowledge and skills in preparing all types of cakes, cookies, and pastries. Pastry chefs may work solo in small specialty bakeries or as part of a culinary team of dessert chefs in larger standalone restaurants or hotel-based restaurants. In the larger establishments, pastry chefs often create pastries and cakes that follow a specific meal theme whereas in individual bakeries there are more opportunities for them to experiment and create new recipes.
A post-secondary education is sufficient to get hired as a pastry chef provided that you meet all the other requirements. In addition to being highly creative, pastry chefs must have solid knowledge and understanding of the technical aspects of baking. While most pastry chefs acquire this knowledge through self-study and endless experimentation, completing a course in pastries, baking or a relevant program through a culinary school or community college will boost your employment prospects. Completing an associate's or bachelor's degree will offer faster advancement opportunities.
In most larger establishments, pastry chefs complete a period of on-the-job training under the master chef in order to familiarize themselves with the standards, procedures and other aspects of that particular kitchen and restaurant.
As part of the preparations of your pastry chef interview, put together a few photographs of some of your best cake and pastry decorating work to show the interviewers. A successful interview depends on you impressing the prospective employer with your knowledge of the technical aspects of baking and your creative cake decorating skills. Another way to prepare for your upcoming interview is by reading pastry check mock interview questions and planning on how to answer them.