Thoughts For Food

Insights into the Mind of a Culinary School Student

Life in the CIA: Culinary vs. Baking

In the food world, this is an age-old battle. no matter where you go on-campus or in the industry, the vibe is always the same: many, if not all, of the chefs in the kitchen hold a distinct disdain for bakers of pastry chefs. They think the baking & pastry side of the culinary world is easy street compared to the fast-paced, high-demand kitchens of the savory side of things. I think it’s high time to set the record straight. True, there are aspects of the bakeshop and pastry shops that are easier than the traditional kitchen, but that does not make bakers or pastry chefs exempt from high demand or stress.

First, some acknowledgments of why traditional chefs accuse bakers of having it easy. Number one, every bakeshop I have visited on-campus is indeed air-conditioned. This does give bakers and pastry chefs an easier environment in which to work. Number two, it is a slightly more laid back atmosphere. the pace is much more controlled and more even. Finally, the one major complaint I always hear is just that bakers are too girly/prissy/fussy/gay (choose your slang) and that they’re not “real” chefs. This one is just wrong on so many levels, but I’ll get there eventually. Bottom line is this: while many complaints and jeers are somewhat valid, others are just plain wrong.

First off, while bakers do have an easier working environment, it is for a good reason. Bakers and pastry chefs need a certain level of humidity and temperature to ensure that the products they’re working on retain their shape, structure, moisture content, etc. The most obvious reason for the A/C? So the chocolate or sugar pieces don’t melt! It’s not for the comfort of the chefs or bakers. It’s so that the food they’re working on doesn’t come apart while they’re working on it.

Secondly, it is true that the working environment in the bakeshop is quieter and more at ease, it is FAR from laid back or easy. bakers and pastry chefs who run the bakeshops are militaristic in their control of everyone in said bakeshop. they, like any chef, are dictatorial in their control of the kitchen or bakeshop. They get yelled at as much as any other cook in a traditional kitchen.

Finally, not all bakers and pastry chefs are gay. That’s just hate for hating’s sake. It’s dumb to assume that and even worse to assume it’s true. And to say that they’re not “real” chefs? What is wrong with people? They are real chefs! They put in as much (if not more) work, they suffer just as much as any other cook, they got through as much hell as other cooks. I really don’t get why people give bakers and pastry chefs such a hard time. I say, go experience it, before you make any judgments, and above all, BE NICE. They’ll all be working together at some point, most likely in the same space. So be civil, please?


Author: NJ_Chef

A graduate of the Culinary Institute of America and aspiring food-writer. 28-year old chef, blogger, eSports fan, gamer, jack-of-all-trades and master of none.

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