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Baker and Pastry Chef

Note: Completion of a TAFE SA course does not guarantee an employment outcome. Formal requirements other than educational qualifications (eg licensing, professional registration), may apply to some occupations.

Job Prospects Openings 5 years to November 2019: 10,001 to 25,000
Salary Range Median weekly earnings: < $920 to Source: Australian Government Department of Employment 201
Brief A pastry chef has the ability to prepare baked goods and specialty pastries such as torten, gateaux, mousses, bavaroise and many other desserts with classical and international flair. They can also demonstrate creativity in the preparation of candies and elaborate show-pieces that incorporate chocolate molding and sculpturing, marzipan creations and poured and pulled sugar decorations.

Bakers and Pastry Chef's perform a variety of tasks other then just making breads, cakes and pastries.

There are currently around 2000 bakers and pastrycooks employed in South Australia. Employment is largely full-time and most work in the retail trade and manufacturing industries. Most persons in this occupation are male and most are employed in the Adelaide metropolitan area. This occupation has a younger age profile with only around a fifth of workers aged 45 years or older.

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TAFE SA courses that may be relevant for: Baker and Pastry Chef

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The day's order might include 50 Vienna slices, 30 olive loaves and an equal number of savoury pies, so long before the sun is up, bakers and pastry chefs are busy preparing these and other goodies. Bakers and pastry chefs prepare and bake different varieties of breads, loaves, cakes and pastries. Firstly, a baker or pastry chef creates or selects a recipe. Then they prepare and mix together the magic ingredients. Once this is done, the mixtures are poured into tins or trays, loaded into a piping hot oven and removed once the baking process is complete. Many of the cakes are then glazed or decorated. You only need to take a peek inside a bakery or patisserie (a shop where pastries are made and sold) to find out just how many different types of baked products there are.

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Education Requirements

Entry into this occupation is generally through an Australian Qualifications Framework (AQF) Certificate III or higher qualification. In some instances relevant experience is also required in addition to the formal qualification. Of those employed in this industry 40% have a Certificate III or IV, 3% have Bachelor Degrees and 48% have no post-school qualifications. It is recommended that you gain the available qualification to get the best possible chance of employment.

TAFE SA offers the following courses to help you find employment in this occupation: Certificate III in Patisserie; Certificate III in Retail Baking (Combined); Certificate IV in Patisserie; Certificate IV in Advanced Baking and the Diploma of Food Processing (Specialising in Baking).

Still Unsure? Then try a short course also offered through TAFE SA such as Contemporary Sweet Yeast or French Pastry Classics. Check the website for the full list of short courses.

There are SA Apprenticeships available in this occupation for further information go to the Traineeship & Apprenticeship Services Website or phone the Freecall number 1800 673 097.

Career Path

Due to the steady increase in the number of franchised bakeries opening employment prospects are good for bakers according to industry representatives. There tend to be fewer employment opportunities for pastry chefs though. According to industry sources, with the increasing availability of pre-packaged cakes and pastry mixes, there is a reduced demand for their specialised skills. There are self-employment opportunities for both bakers and pastry chefs.


Retail Trade,  Wholesale Trade


Jonathan Kemble – Chef
“I enjoy promoting cookery through school career nights and cooking demonstrations”.
After finishing high school and with the opportunity of entering university, Jonathan took time out of formal education to think about his career options. After experiencing cookery through a scholarship in Asian cuisine his passion for cooking was realised and he soon won an apprenticeship as a chef.

Jonathan completed his Certificate III in Asian Cookery and Commercial Cookery, and finished his apprenticeship in June 2003. He skipped two levels in the kitchen and was appointed to the more senior role of demi-chef at Adelaide restaurant, Urban Bistro, while he also looked after Urban Bistro’s first-year apprentice and helped with career counselling at Pulteney Grammar School. Jonathan is now enjoying the new challenge of working as the Sous Chef at the Star of Greece restaurant.

Jonathan is passionate about cooking and his ambition is to become the best chef in the country. He has also started his own small catering business. “My ultimate goal is to own several restaurants,” he said, “I’m now considering studying management to develop my skills as a business operator.”

In 2003, Jonathan won South Australian Apprentice of the Year as part of the South Australian Training Awards and went on to also win the national award. Jonathan appreciates the value of learning and how it allows him to look further ahead to bigger and brighter things. “I enjoy promoting cookery through school career nights and cooking demonstrations,” he said. Jonathan has also taught cookery at TAFE to children during the school holidays.

Jonathan won the prestigious 2003 Bonland Proud To Be A Chef Scholarship, which last year rewarded him with a trip to an international food festival in Canada to learn from the world-class chefs. He says his secret of success is simple, “Enthusiasm, persistence and a determined work ethic.”

Nature of the Job

Bakers make bread, cakes and pastries, using flour and other ingredients. Part of a baker and pastry chef’s duties include checking that equipment meets health and safety regulations and checking the quality of raw materials and weigh ingredients. They may mix dough by hand or machine, then place in tins or trays. The tins or trays are then loaded into ovens, keeping an eye on the oven temperatures and the appearance of the bread (or the cake or pastry). When the bread is baked, they unload and take bread out of trays and put aside to cool. They also glaze or decorate cakes and pastries with icing or cream. Bakers and pastry chefs also order baking supplies from wholesalers and may sometimes serve customers.

Typical Physical Working Environment

Most bakers work in small retail bakeries, or big wholesale suppliers of baked goods. They also work in department stores, at 'in house' bakeries in supermarkets, food store chains, hotels and restaurants. They may also own and work in their own bakery shop.

The increased use of machinery has reduced heavy work for bakers. However, they still have to stand a lot of the time. Most bakers work full time, and they often work late at night or early in the morning. They may also work on weekends and public holidays.

Typical Occupational Example

A pastry chef from France who owns a Patisserie, says chocolate éclairs filled with creamy custard and hazelnut escargots (a pastry which is shaped like a snail but which tastes like heaven) are just some of the French pastries on his menu. ''I love food. I love to eat and there are plenty of people out there like me. This job can be routine but it is also very artistic and I enjoy making cakes and pastries that are sophisticated and highly specialised.'' Pastry chefs may choose to specialise in a particular area. Those who are passionate about chocolates can become chocolatiers. Or they may choose to become a patissier (someone who makes French pastries). In South Australia, most pastry chefs work in specialist cake shops, patisseries, restaurants and cafés, five-star hotels and department stores. Both bakers and pastry chefs are on their feet most of the day. You can be guaranteed to get your daily workout from kneading and rolling dough and lifting trays. The kitchen can get hot and it often gets busy trying to get things made on time.

Baking Association of Australia
Phone: (02) 4340 0244

National Baking Industry Association
Phone: (07) 3831 5961

AgriFood Skills Australia
Phone: (02) 6163 7200

Earning Potential

The starting salary for qualified bakers and pastry chefs is between $28,000 and $32,000 per year. Self-employed bakers and pastry chefs may earn much more than this.

Further Information

For further information about all TAFE SA Courses, phone 1800 882 661 or enquire online