Pastry Chef vs Baker: What is the Difference and What to Choose


It’s common for the terms “baker” and “pastry chef” to be used interchangeably and sometimes you may wonder if the roles of pastry chef vs baker mean the same thing. Well, they are actually both very distinct professions that have some differences that we would like to discuss.

Bakers tend to be very experienced in different types of baking preparations, such as rolls, cakes, bread, pies and pastries. As you can see, bakers don’t just focus on desserts. Pastry chefs, however, usually focus on the preparation of different sweets and desserts. Their expertise may even span different sauces and candies.

In order to become a pastry chef, you typically need a substantial amount of experience in the culinary industry. A baker can be more of an entry-level position that gains you a great deal of experience in different areas.

Let’s look more in-depth at the differences between a pastry chef and a baker. If you’re interested in one of these jobs, this information will be valuable in determining which one is the right fit.

Chef Lorenzo holding a fresh bread in HRC Culinary Academy

What Do You Call a Bakery Chef?

A baker, or bakery chef, is often an entry-level position that is below management. This job requires the careful following of specific recipes. There isn’t a lot of room to create new recipes or experiment. However, this is a creative job that requires a good deal of education and training. There is a distinct science behind making baked goods, including the use of specialized equipment.

The kinds of items being prepared by a baker will depend on where the baking is taking place. Restaurants employ bakers to prepare desserts, breads, rolls, etc. There are even bakers in grocery stores. They make sure that there is a steady supply of bread, pastries, cookies and other baked goods.

What Do You Call a Pastry Chef?

A pastry chef has a more high-level, distinct role compared to a baker. They are responsible for creating a diverse dessert menu, and the preparation of these desserts is part of the process. A pastry chef may oversee other employees that will help with the process of making these products.

Instead of preparing rolls, bread and other non-sweets, pastry chefs will generally focus on desserts that include cookies, danish, donuts, tarts, cakes, pies, éclairs, etc. A lot of detail goes into this profession, ensuring that both taste and presentation are taken into consideration.

Key Differences Between a Pastry Chef and a Baker

There are some key differences that exist between a pastry chef and a baker. This includes:


A pastry chef typically makes more money than a baker. This is because a pastry chef’s position tends to be more of a managerial role. There can be as much as a $20,000 difference between these two positions.


In order to become a pastry chef, there is a great deal of training and expertise that must be achieved. It can take many years of working as a baker or as a pastry chef apprentice to really break into the field.

Types of Foods

While pastry chefs may require more experience, bakers tend to be responsible for making a more diverse menu of foods. Desserts are often made by bakers, in addition to other basic rolls and breads.

Education for a Pastry Chef vs. Baker

In order to get started on the path to becoming a baker or pastry chef, a certificate or diploma in baking or pastry arts will be beneficial. Classes will cover the basics of ingredients, tools, techniques and recipes. By learning the science of doughs, pastries and various baked goods, valuable experience and knowledge are gained for use in the professional world.

Curious about studying for a pastry chef or a baker? Check out our 7-week professional certificate Pastry and Bakery course.


Can a pastry chef also work as a baker, and vice versa?

Typically, a pastry chef and a baker have two different jobs. However, it’s not unheard of for a pastry chef to help out with baker duties and vice versa. In the culinary world, it’s ideal to be able to help in other areas of the kitchen as needed.

However, there are significant differences between these two positions, and they will generally stick to their own duties. Pastry chefs will specialize in desserts, while bakers will produce bread, rolls, cakes, pastries and more.

What types of establishments employ pastry chefs and bakers?

Both pastry chefs and bakers can be employed in a number of establishments. This includes:

  • Restaurants
  • Bakery shops
  • Cafeterias
  • Grocery stores
  • Hotels
  • Reception hall
  • Catering

Are the skills required for a pastry chef different from those of a baker?

Pastry chefs and bakers share a lot of the same basic skills. However, pastry chefs have usually gone through more involved training in both baking and pastry arts. The difference between baker and pastry chef also takes into consideration that bakers are considered to be in more of an entry-level position, and others use a variety of basic skills to make different baked goods.


If you know that you love to bake but are unsure how to begin in this profession, your first step should be building your educational background. The admissions department at HRC Academy can help you with the process of enrolling and selecting a curriculum so you can get started on the path towards a rewarding and successful career in the culinary industry.

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