The Baking sector is a huge umbrella which includes multiple specialised divisions, be it breads, pastries, chocolate, candy making or customised cakes. The scope for a student pursuing a career in the industry is very versatile in terms of job opportunities. The industry is no more confined to the hotels, restaurants and the standalone outlets. The requirement for the skilled professional has been found in the airline kitchens, cruise lines, event catering, hospitals as well as the corporate kitchens.
As per the report by Imarc group, the baking sector in India has reached a value of USD 10.2 billion in 2021. The market is further estimated to grow at an annual growth rate of 10.94% between 2022-27 with the peak value of USD 19.3 billion by 2027. One of the main boosting factor in this industry is the availability or the exposure of product knowledge by the Indian market. The FMCG sector has streamlined most of the common bakery products on the shelves of the supermarket which has inspired the young crowd into this career. Also the existing Indian Chefs have changed the face of the industry by exposing the country to niche and innovative products through the social media interface.
The students seeking to enter the industry come with great passion, ambition to innovate and also to bring out their creativity. In order for this to happen, it is most crucial for them to get their basics right. This can be achieved through various programs and courses offered by the large number of academies and colleges in the country. Since the profession is skill based, one doesn’t necessarily require a background in any particular discipline. Both students, right out of school or ones with a bachelor degree can pursue a course which helps them learn and refine their skills pertaining to the standards of the industry. There are multiple academies offering various courses for all age group. Tier one cities definitely have seen a rise in the intakes of the students over the last 3-5 years. The single goal of any such academy in the country offering the course is to enhance the Indian market to accept the better quality products and to have the knowledge regarding the same.
The pastry and baking industry offers wide range of specialisation. One can choose their niche and master in it or can choose to be an overall accomplisher. Since there are no set rules in terms of this, one can always learn, practice and experiment to find out their true potential or field of interest. All the courses ensure that the students are taught all the sections of pastry and baking which builds a good base for the students to understand the industry as well as their strengths. Once this is established, they can forge their path with help from bigger establishments or by themselves. The hospitality industry gives them wide scope of choices to work in their preferred area of interest. One can join the industry or venture out on their own as an entrepreneur either through a stand-alone outlet or a cloud kitchen. In the FMCG sector too, companies require skilled and knowledgeable chefs for their research and development of new products.
The demand for fresh, healthy products and alternate diets are on the rise especially after the pandemic, which has opened a whole new market for the pastry chefs to experiment on. The consumers have gotten more conscious of what they are eating which challenges the chefs to be innovative in their approach to food. Also the idea of sustainability has pushed the food industry to revert to organic ways of creating recipes.
The basic knowledge has been emphasised quite a lot in the industry but one mustn’t forget that this is people/ customer driven industry. One not only acquires the hands on practice of preparing the products but also on how to market them to the right clientele. To enhance one’s career, a pastry chef must work on their soft skills such as team management, time management, discipline, patience and creativity. Through the courses and the training, one is sure to gain additional skills such as inventory management, taking sound financial decisions, managing the customer and their demands, handling complaints etc. One of the most important things to remember is that throughout their career, a great chef must be driven to learn something new because that is what sets them apart from the crowd.
The best advice seasoned chefs offer to newcomers to the industry, is to be persistent, resilient and have the ambition to learn and grow every day of their career, as no two days are ever the same in the kitchen.