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What is the Average Pastry Chefs Salary?

Tyler MartinezAuthor

Pastry chefs do it all – they make cakes, bake bread, and design delicate pastries for restaurants, pastry shops, and industrial-scale kitchens. 

In addition, pastry chefs are often tasked with overseeing other workers and leading the team to work efficiently. This article takes a look at how much pastry chefs earn, on average. 

And, keep reading to learn more about the typical pastry chef’s career progression and some tips for negotiating higher pay.

How much do pastry chefs make?

How Much Do Pastry Chefs Make? (Average Pastry Chef Salary Data)

Pastry chefs earn, on average, between $41,000 and $116,000 annually. That might seem like a big range. We got those numbers by averaging these three sources: 

  • Salary.com reports on the salaries of pastry chefs from across the US. They cite an average salary of $64,707, with the top 10% of earners making over $81,000 annually. 
  • Comparably.com cites a much more extensive range of salaries across the US, reporting that pastry chefs make between $10,000 and $190,000 annually, which makes the average of $39,075 less accurate. They also say that most pastry chefs earn annual bonuses each year. 
  • Talent.com divides average salaries for pastry chefs by state. The average in Virginia, for example, is $49,750 annually. Pastry chefs in other states can earn considerably more, the highest being Nevada at $105,000 annually. 

A great way to determine how much you should make as a pastry chef is to have honest conversations about how much other pastry chefs in your area earn annually. It may seem taboo to talk about salary, but those discussions help you to know what your skills and experiences are worth when compared to your peers.

Factors that Influence Pastry Chef’s Salary

Pastry chefs can work in a number of different environments, each of which influences their earning potential. Pastry chefs can work in restaurant kitchens, pastry-focused businesses, and industrial production facilities, to name a few. Each employer has different expectations for pastry chefs that factor into their salary.

For instance, pastry chefs that work in cake shops or patisseries have an incredible amount of creative control, but their earnings are dependent on the sales of the shop. Pastry chefs can expect to negotiate a steady salary when working in restaurant kitchens and industrial manufacturers.

One of the biggest determining factors of a pastry chef’s salary is their skills and experiences. Many pastry chefs spend years in culinary school learning the tools of the trade. Then, they go on to work as hourly employees in pastry shops or restaurant kitchens to get experience working to meet customers’ requests.

Whether making pastries at a large scale to sell to other businesses or creating intricate cakes for celebrations, the volume of sales of the business will determine a pastry chef’s salary range. Businesses that maintain good relationships with clients and develop a marketing strategy are more likely to keep sales, and salaries, on the rise.

Many pastry chefs enjoy the creative freedom that comes with owning and operating their own pastry business. Owning a business comes with many challenges and their salaries are dependent on the business’s profit margins.

Pastry Chefs have Steady Salaries

Typically, pastry chefs are salaried employees of the businesses for which they work. Their salaries are negotiated at the start of their employment, and they’re typically able to earn raises during performance reviews. 

From our research, we learned that many pastry chefs also earn annual bonuses. Bonuses can be negotiated as a part of a compensation package or can be ad-hoc when profit margins allow.

Career Progression and Increasing Salary

Pastry chefs often start their careers with culinary training to learn the art of baking breads, cakes, and pastries. Some pastry chefs learn through research and on-the-job training, but culinary education is often required for many positions.

Either way, pastry chefs must work their way up through the ranks of the industry to become the head pastry chef for a restaurant or shop. Running a kitchen requires leadership skills in addition to technical knowledge and creativity.

Starting as a baker’s assistant or prep cook allows people interested in becoming a pastry chef to learn the ropes of the industry where they want to work. Keep in mind that the kind of experience you acquire translates into future job prospects – for instance, a pastry chef that starts in a restaurant kitchen might have a difficult time transitioning to industrial bakeries, and vice versa.

Negotiating Higher Salary as a Pastry Chef

When you go into salary negotiations as a pastry chef, be ready to talk about how your skills and experiences prepared you to succeed in the role. You might also be asked to demonstrate your pastry skills by staging – a restaurant-industry standard where candidates work for a trial period.

Researching the salaries of other pastry chefs in your area is a good way to find out what your skills are worth. The research will also equip you with an idea of where to start salary negotiations. That way, you can approach salary negotiations from an informed perspective.

During annual performance reviews, be ready to provide detailed information to business owners on how you worked to increase the sales and profits of the business. Diligence and attention to detail are important in food service work. And, don’t be afraid to ask the owner or manager for the salary you believe your skills are worth to start negotiations.

Pursue Your Dreams as a Pastry Chef!

Pastry chefs have specialized skills and knowledge in the food service industry. Research what other pastry chefs in similar positions earn. Your passion and creativity for pastry will be rewarded.

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