Baker vs. Pastry Chef: What's the Difference

How is a baker different from a pastry chef?

Baking and Pastry Chef Careers

baker making bread

To those outside the culinary world, the difference between a baker and a pastry chef may seem negligible. After all, you don't need to know the title of the person creating your hearty breads and delicate desserts—just as long as they keep making them.

However, to those who work in the industry, or are thinking about entering the field, there is a marked difference between a baker and a pastry chef. While these terms may sometimes seem interchangeable, they actually describe different roles. So what's the distinction?

Perhaps the primary difference between a pastry chef and a baker is that the word "chef" literally means "boss." So while pastry chefs may bake, their title indicates that they have authority. A pastry chef is also a baker, but a baker isn't necessarily a pastry chef.

Attending Pastry Chef School

As you start your baking career, you'll find that a lot of training comes through experience. However, getting your culinary education can help give you the confidence and the skills to advance more quickly than you would otherwise. A degree in baking and pastry arts will prepare you for a career as either a baker or a pastry chef.

Read a pastry chef job description to learn whether this is the right job path for you.