From a young age, children are encouraged to cultivate their beloved hobby, one that provides them with a break from their strenuous schedule. Unlike schoolwork, one spends numerous hours, inadvertently perfecting and practising their chosen hobby for mere enjoyment. Imagine if one could use these years of refinement into the perfect career. Passion is the sole foundation for finding a job where one is truly happy. This simple principle perfectly encompasses the feeling of fulfilment one would receive from continuing their hobbies into one’s adulthood by creating a viable career option. For many around the world, this hobby would be baking.
From children playfully dashing together ingredients, to adept bakers gingerly piping on cakes, baking brings a sense of satisfaction and relaxation unlike most other hobbies. With a plethora of cuisines, each one utilising their own unique flavour palette, baking provides a creative outlet that can mould to one’s style. This creativity is remarkably appreciated in today’s world as traditional desserts are merged with others, completely reinventing them. While most associate baking with confections, it includes much more, from bread to even gourmet chocolates. By intertwining the disciplines of science and math, skills that require years of perfecting can be acquired easily with the passion one has towards their hobby.
By relaying a passion for baking into their creations, any aspiring baker can simply pursue this artistic pastime into the quintessential career. Whether one wants to start a bakery from their own kitchen or open a quaint neighbourhood bakery, the love for finely crafted desserts, coupled with one’s personal touch will indeed allow a business to grow and become successful in the years to come. If this might seem too daunting, one could seek employment in exquisite and renowned restaurants, cafes and even factories from across the world. Head baker, artisan baker, assistant baker, bread baker, cake decorator- the roles in a professional kitchen are endless. Apart from the physical baking, bakers can also perform various management tasks such as ensuring the quality of ingredients, training newcomers or finalising prices and amounts of desserts to be baked. Hence, baking allows each one to find a responsibility where they can develop and learn each day.
Baking has always been seen as an art of precision and patience, developed by years of refining skills and recipes. However, in today’s day and age, people are able to easily acquire these skills from screens flashing tutorials by some of the most esteemed pastry chefs in the world. It is important to note that due to the highly competitive world, having a degree in culinary arts or a masters or bachelor’s degree in majors relating to this field could help sway an employers decision. Thus, those seeking to further their knowledge and capabilities could enrol in well-known pastry schools, each providing unique combinations of courses to create a well-rounded skillset. These would include Institute of Culinary Education, International Culinary Education, Le Cordon Bleu, Auguste Escoffier School of Culinary Arts and many more. A great benefit of these courses is the adaptability to one’s schedule so that one can continue working while partaking in these intensive programs. On an average, one needs around 29 credits to successfully obtain a culinary pastry certificate which can be completed in around a year.
On the other hand, a more detailed course would be a bachelor’s degree, completed in 4 years. This syllabus, requiring hundred and thirteen credits, entails a more detailed and developed skillset, ranging from management to even menu development. Selecting different courses largely depends upon the level of expertise, and complexity one wants to acquire, thus resulting in varied applicability for jobs.
While attending a professional course would only be feasible for those above the age of 18, children and teenagers alike can further enhance their baking by assimilating knowledge from several other sources like books or documentaries. Some recommended books include ‘Professional Cake Decorating’ by Toba M. Garrett, ‘The Advanced Professional Pastry Chef’ by Bo Friberg, ‘In the Hands of a Baker’ by The Culinary Institute of America, ‘The Advanced Art of Baking & Pastry’ by R. Andrew Chlebana and ‘Pastry School’ by Le Cordon Bleu. By familiarising oneself with different methods of baking and cultivating a deeper understanding through the years of wisdom by these professional bakers, one would be able to present a greater variety of artisanal products to their customers. This, coupled with the growing use of social media to document and publicise food, will allow any baker’s dream to grow into a stimulating and rewarding career.
Despite the declining importance given to most hobbies, they prove to be a renewing source of innovation and learning, completely contrasting that done in the classroom. Baking, a combination of meticulous working and creative thinking, can easily be turned into one’s dream job with passion and motivation. With numerous resources available in both physical and digital format, all that is left for one to transform their hobby is to step into their kitchen and just start baking.
By Nysa Adurkar , Mumbai