Plating Is the Pastry Chef's Toughest Job

Your recipes may be perfect, but learning proper presentation is an important key to a pastry chef career. Knowing how to present a splendid dessert is the mark of fine pastry chef training. A baking and pastry school can tell you how it should be done, but practice--guided by common sense--helps, too.

Plating--the presentation of food on the dish that the customer will receive--is one of the fine touches in the professional chef's art. Skillful and sensible plating is a particularly important part of the pastry chef job. A pastry chef spends her or his career working with exotic desserts, fragile sugar creations, and items that are served hot and cold. For example, a typical pastry chef job might be to serve a piping hot dessert souffl� and a chilled cream dessert on the same plate. All the skill of a pastry chef's training goes into that task. The timing must be perfect and the handling of the separate items requires the steady hands of a surgeon. You can learn about a task like this in baking and pastry school, but until you've tried and failed a few times, you haven't launched your pastry chef career.

Restaurant owners and managers look for pastry chefs with training in fine and elaborate desserts. Dessert is usually one of the most profitable items on a restaurant's menu and also an item that brings customers back for repeat visits. That adds a lot of pressure and responsibility to the pastry chef's job. After all, a great appetizer and a superb entr�e are meaningless if the dessert is mediocre. It's a challenge that makes a pastry chef's career a creative adventure.