Although a pastry department can play a vital role in a club’s kitchen success, not at all clubs have the demand or resources to employ a pastry chef.
An executive pastry chef is responsible for operating the pastry section of a club’s kitchen and preparing a wide variety of goods, such as cakes, cookies, pies and bread. An executive pastry chef is also required to plan production and develop seasonal offerings, while working closely with the executive chef and sous chef. An executive chef without a pastry department might think they can have one of their savory chefs prepare desserts, but having a pastry department and a trained pastry chef makes a huge difference.
Pastry has become such an important part of modern and fine dining. Fine dining has returned, and chefs are realizing their pastry program deserves the same respect and authenticity as savory cooking. Dessert menus require the skills and creativity of an experienced pastry chef. Dressing up frozen or premade desserts doesn’t do any justice to the high-quality food the rest of the kitchen works so hard to put out.
In most dining establishments, the pastry department usually accounts for a low percentage of overall sales. However, most clubs have more outlets to offer pastries to members than just the final course of a meal in the dining room. Between a la carte, weddings, banquets, wine dinners and other events, there are plenty of opportunities for members and guests to indulge in something sweet. It’s important to remember, though, that pastry chefs are not limited to just desserts; rather, they can also prepare bread for sandwiches or bread service, as well as breakfast and brunch pastries.
Some clubs might look at the financial breakdown and perceive that pastry sales aren’t worth the cost of maintaining a pastry team. Higher-end clubs are most likely willing to spend more and invest in a pastry department, while a casual or smaller club will spend a lot less on desserts or find a pastry department unnecessary.
Not all clubs have a pastry chef, and there are certainly ways to get by without one, but adding a pastry chef who has the necessary skills and dedication to the team can play a vital role in a club kitchen’s success.