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Chef Vs. Baker

May 21, 2018

Considering a career in the restaurant industry? Chefs and bakers play a lead role in deciding what is prepared at their establishments. Explore the key differences between these related positions.

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Comparing Chefs to Bakers

Those who enjoy working in fast-paced environments and have a passion for quality food are often suited for either the role of a chef or a baker. Individuals in these positions are the minds behind the exciting food items featured at restaurants and bakeries. Discover how each role is similar, and what makes each unique.

Job Title Education Requirements Median Salary (2017)* Job Growth (2016-2026)*
Chef High school diploma or equivalent $45,950 10%
Baker No formal educational credential $25,690 8%

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

Responsibilities of Chefs vs. Bakers

Chefs and bakers are both responsible for the successful preparation of foods. Bakers focus solely on preparing baked goods like bread and pastries, while chefs oversee a staff of cooks who prepare a variety of menu items. Individuals working in these roles are held accountable for routinely checking the quality of the ingredients they use, and for inspecting and maintaining kitchen equipment. Chefs must usually earn certifications and take formal cooking courses, while bakers almost exclusively receive on-the-job training. After receiving an extensive amount of experience and training, some chefs and bakers open their own restaurants/bakeries.

Chefs

Have you ever wondered who is behind the tasty menu items at your favorite restaurant? Chefs are the individuals who create recipes and develop menus for restaurants. Although many individuals think that a 'chef' and a 'cook' perform the same job duties, this is actually a misconception. Instead, chefs use their training and experience to manage the kitchen. They are also often in charge of hiring and training new kitchen staff members.

Take an expanded look at some of the duties of chefs:

  • Ensures that food preparation safety standards are being met by all staff members.
  • Takes steps to deliver quality meals for all restaurant guests.
  • Records and keeps track of supplies and food inventory.
  • Prices menu items.

Bakers

Those who have a passion for preparing all kinds of delicious baked goods may consider a career in baking. Typically, bakers receive on-the-job training in commercial bakeries or retail bakeries. In each work setting, they are generally required to use and maintain commercial baking equipment. They must also be precise in measuring, weighing, and shaping the various baked products they make. Bakers are required to know the best methods for combining ingredients, and for properly timing the baking of each batch of baked goods.

Bakers are also responsible for the following:

  • Follows recipes and instructions carefully to produce a variety of baked goods.
  • Prepares special orders for customers (when working in a retail bakery).
  • Unloads baking supplies that are delivered to the bakery.
  • Hires and trains new staff members (if they own their own business).

Related Careers

For those who want to work in a professional kitchen, but don't want the intense responsibility that comes with being a chef, working as a cook can be an alternative. Additionally, if you want to specialize in working with sweet foods alone, you may consider a career as a confectioner.

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