Every breakfast, lunch, and dinner at the club takes a team of trained experts to make the meal a success.
While the executive chef, or EC, choreographs the kitchen as a whole, the Pastry Chef takes the spotlight when it comes to all the baked and sweet confections that top off a club meal. Typically, the pastry chef reports to the EC, but the two roles have their own specialties that make the positions unique.
The executive chef manages the entire club kitchen staff, including the pastry chef. With years of extensive training and experience in a club setting, they know how to balance the vision of the club with their unique culinary style to choose menus, hire and train staff, and manage the kitchen’s operating budget.
The pastry chef in a club kitchen typically manages all desserts, baked goods, and other confections for each meal—from the breakfast scones to the creme brûlée. They will also frequently have a hand in planning the dessert portion of the menu based on member’s tastes and upcoming trends. The presentation, decoration, and ingredients for each dessert are often managed in collaboration with the Executive Chef.
Executive Chef and Pastry Chef Certifications
The other major distinction between the executive and pastry chef comes down to training, experience, and certifications.
The Certified Executive Chef credential issued through the American Culinary Federation (ACF) falls just below the top level of Certified Master Chef. This rigorous program requires chefs to demonstrate their training, experience, and a deep understanding of both culinary and kitchen management skills overall.
ACF also offers five levels of pastry chef certification, ranging from Certified Fundamentals Pastry Cook to Certified Master Pastry Chef. Though education requirements are quite similar to the Certified Executive Chef program, it requires a focus on desserts, confections, and baked goods to comply.
There are plenty of similarities between the two positions as well. Both the EC and the pastry chef manage a team of kitchen staff to keep their menu items consistent and beautifully presented. Overall, the two positions play two of the most major roles in sending a beautiful, multi-course meal out onto the club dining room floor.