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Summary of occupation

Pastry cooks prepare, bake and decorate pastries, cakes and other dough or pastry-based confectioneries. They consult recipes in order to plan their products, or may make cakes and other pastry-goods to order. They weigh and measure ingredients, combine them, shape baking mixtures, bake them in ovens, and glaze or decorate them using icing, cream, custard, jam or fruit. They may also make savoury pastries that use cheese, salt or other savoury food products. Pastry cooks also clean ovens and cooking equipment, order baking supplies and serve customers. Pastry cooks work all over the state, from pastry shops in cities and towns to airports, mining facilities or factories.

ANZSCO description: Prepares and bakes buns, cakes, biscuits and  pastry goods.
Alternative names:
Specialisations: Cake Decorator, Chocolatier, Patissier
Job prospects: Average
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Knowledge, skills and attributes

A pastrycook needs:

  • passion for food and in particular cakes and pastriesmanual and practical skills
  • the ability to stay on their feet for extended periods
  • organisational skills
  • the ability to undertake detailed and intricate work
  • cleanliness and a focus on health and safety
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Working conditions

Pastry cooks may work in specialist cake and pastry shops or patisseries, the manufacturing firms of large food production organisations, hot-bread shops, the bakery departments of supermarkets or cruise ships. Conditions may be hot and noisy, as well as being stressful when working to deadlines. They usually work in shifts, which may include early mornings, evening and weekends or public holidays.

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Salary details

On average, bakers and pastrycooks can expect to earn between $685 and $814 per week ($35 604 and $45 338 per year), depending on the organisation they work for, their level of experience, and the demand for their products. As a pastrycook develops their skills, their earning potential will generally increase.

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Tools and technologies

Pastry cooks use a variety of mixing, measuring and baking equipment including bowls, knives, spoons, rolling pins, dough spreaders, sieves, bowl and bench scrapers and cake testers and cooling racks. They also use cake decorating equipment such as sauce guns, fondant funnels and decorating combs. They use kitchen equipment such as electric mixers and ovens, and are usually required to wear protective clothing such as hats and aprons.  

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Education and training/entrance requirements

​To become a pastrycook you usually have to complete a patissier apprenticeship or do an apprenticeship in pastrycooking. These apprenticeships usually take 36 months to complete and are available as a school-based apprenticeship. 

Related courses

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Apprenticeships and traineeships

As an apprentice or trainee, you enter into a formal training contract with an employer. You spend most of your time working and learning practical skills on the job and you spend some time undertaking structured training with a registered training provider of your choice. They will assess your skills and when you are competent in all areas, you will be awarded a nationally recognised qualification.

If you are still at school you can access an apprenticeship through your school. You generally start your school based apprenticeship by attending school three days a week, spending one day at a registered training organisation and one day at work. Talk to your school's VET Co-ordinator to start your training now through VET in Schools. If you get a full-time apprenticeship you can apply to leave school before reaching the school leaving age.

If you are no longer at school you can apply for an apprenticeship or traineeship and get paid while you learn and work.

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Recognition of prior learning

If you think you already have some of the skills or competencies, obtained either through non-formal or informal learning, you may be able to gain credit through recognition of prior learning.

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