So you’re thinking of becoming a Pastry chef or maybe you’re procrastinating something sitting in bed reading random blog posts. Nevertheless, you have stumbled along to this one and now you’re about to learn some either relevant or maybe not so relevant information.
First of all if you think being a pastry chef means you will be making cookies and and mini cake, you are not entirely wrong but that is barely, and I mean BARELY the tip of the iceberg. Being a pastry chef is hard, it’s long hours, early mornings, delicate and intricate work that requires focus and skill, all while surrounded by the noise and chaos of a kitchen. I can create a blog post on the role of a pastry chef, leave a comment and let me know!
I can only speak of how I am becoming a pastry chef because I am the only anecdote I have. My first word of advise: the first thing not to do is to apply to a culinary school straight away. Take a little time to decide whether you really want this or not. There are many times in life we may think we want something, but it so often turns out that we were wrong and end up with feelings of regret and being stuck, because now we’re too afraid to go and change paths lest we be wrong again. For this reason, I urge you to contemplate on this choice, because it is not only an issue of time wasted, culinary schools are expensive, it is quite an expensive mistake to make.
Now that you’ve decided you really want to be a pastry chef, you can start looking at schools. This is an exciting time, there is just something about google searching your future, like anything you could ever want or be is just a click away. I stumbled across Le Cordon Bleu quite accidentally, I just randomly clicked it, okay maybe not so randomly, it was french, I have a soft spot for anything french, what can I say? It didn’t take long until I was completely impressed. Once I saw their programme, read the testimonials, reviews and almost everything on their website, I looked no further. Everything about it felt like the perfect fit. All I had to do now was apply. Ha! Not so fast. Did someone forget about the tuition fees? There it was, all £17,650 worth of fees. This along with rent and living costs is enough to floor anyone, I think I fainted a little. Le Cordon bleu like many culinary schools is a private institution therefore, student loans are out of question. I am a dental hygienist so I decided to start saving and inquire about an installment pay type of situation. Unfortunately, and definitely not to my surprise, I was told, there is no installment pay program. However, I could take the A la Carte route. This means I pay for each term as I study it, doing the whole diploma as a whole was going to take me just 9 months, but doing it in this way means it might take me longer as I will have to gather these fees in order to move on to subsequent stages.
I will be starting my Basic Patisserie Certificate training on the 27th of September, 2019, which is exactly 6 days from now. Thing are getting very real, and the butterflies in my stomach are multiplying with each day that passes. Perhaps this is why I find myself writing a blog post on a Saturday evening while my age mates are out there inhaling life in many other shapes and forms.
Before I continue loosing track, let’s go through the paperwork! Once you send your online application through the website, you’ll be contacted by very friendly admissions staff, who give you all the relevant forms to fill out. These will include, personal detail forms, uniform size sheets, nothing complicated at all. Along with these I had to pay an application fee of 500£ which is deducted from your course fees or refunded if your pplication is unsuccessful. I also had to submit a personal statement as to why I want to study there and what I planned on doing with my qualification. Basically if this course is really for you, you shouldn’t struggle with this part. It’s where you get to be honest and express your passion for this particular career choice out of the many out there. After all of this some important people in high places got to decide whether they wanted to accept my application or not. It’s funny how life works, isn’t it? Nevertheless, once accepted all that was left was to pay my tuition fees, I had until 6 weeks before the course start date. Me being me, I paid 7 weeks and 2 days before the course start date, there is of course nothing wrong with that, but seriously why does procrastination even exist? I’m the type of person that likes to self reflect and the more I think about this, the more I realise that once I paid there was no going back, I was quitting the career I thought I would be stuck with forever to follow my dreams, this might sound like an easy thing to do, but try waking up tomorrow and throw away your life’s work to change the course of your life just like that. I imagined all those countless hours of study I put in, the late nights stressing over clinical cases, all for a distinction I was kind of now saying goodbye to. I was also committing to paying a huge sum of money on a gut feeling that this was the right course for me, before I faint again, let’s stop there. Alas, I find myself here, I still don’t know if I’ve made the right decision, but it’s only a matter of time until I find out. I may very well end up writing a new blog post entitled ‘how I ruined my life by pursuing patisserie’. Now that would be a punch in the stomach I am really hoping doesn’t come to pass! Let’s wait and see.