What do you do for a living?
Executive pastry chef at Waterbar and Farallon Restaurants and cook book author.
How would you describe what you do?
Make and create desserts and dessert recipes.
What does your work entail?
Dessert production, marketing and PR, recipe testing, managing employees, maintaining quality.
What’s a typical work week like?
Varies. Go back and forth between the two restaurants. Discuss with pastry staff what’s going on, change dishes if needed. Do off site events in and out of town.
How did you get started?
Starting cooking after college to pay the rent. Stayed with it ever since. Switched from culinary to pastry after about 7 years.
What do you like about what you do?
Get to do for a living what most people do in their spare time. Make desserts to make people happy.
What do you dislike?
Being on my feet all the time. It’s nice to answer emails- you get to sit down.
How do you make money/or how are you compensated?
By running the pastry departments at each restaurant, wirting books, doing consulting recipe development.
How much money do pastry chefs make?
Wide range- $30K to $100K or more.
How much money do/did you make starting out as a pastry chef?
I honestly don’t remember. Maybe about $30K.
What education, schooling, or skills are needed to do this?
Culinary education helps lay the foundation of your skills. Getting out in the work world and building them is important after that. You never stop learning.
What is most challenging about what you do?
Creating new really good desserts.
What is most rewarding?
Seeing someone’s face after eating a dessert that they loved.
What advice would you offer someone considering this career?
Be prepared to work hard. Don’t go for instant rewards of fame and fortune. You have to be in the business because you like the day to day work.
How much time off do you get/take?
I work 5 days a week and take vacation. Everyone should in the business.
What is a common misconception people have about what you do?
They underestimate the hard work and the less than glamourous side of the business.
What are your goals/dreams for the future?
Keep creating and redefining myself as a pastry chef.
What else would you like people to know about your job/career?
It’s a fun business but don’t get into it unless you are ready to work hard. If you are ready the rewards are huge.