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Kerrie-Lee Perrins has worked in the food industry as a Pastry Chef. She is currently a lecturer at Capsicum Culinary Studio. Read on to find out what happens in the typical day of a Pastry Chef…

Working hours?
I work a ‘split shift’, which is from 09:30 until the anytime between 22:00 and 23:30.

What does your job entail?
Keeping my section running when my head chef is not around, preparing all the separate components of each dish for the lunch and dinner menus, ensuring there’s enough stock on hand at the end of a shift and ordering more when we run low.

What are the boring bits?
Stock take needs to be done once a month, and it’s a sore topic for any chef!

What type of personality should you have?
PASSION! DEDICATION! DETERMINATION! And with the long working hours, you need to have a sense of humour to keep you smiling when you feel like you can’t any more.

Where could I work?
Overseas in top hotels, on cruise liners, as a private chef on a yacht or for a family. Locally, you can work in restaurants, hotels, lodges or health spas. On the media side there’s food styling, food photography, food critic or journalist.

What entry-level requirements should I have to qualify to study?
Generally a Grade 12 certificate is required at an entry level to study for a chef qualification.

Subjects I can expect to study:
On the hot kitchen side – cooking principles, the effect of heat on food, cooking techniques and methods, cuts of meat and how to de-bone whole joints of meat, different vegetables, fish and shellfish classifications, basic knife skills, how to plate a meal and how to garnish a meal – and loads more.

On the pastry side – aeration techniques, classic egg desserts, how to prepare meringues and work with gelatine, how to prepare classic cakes, pastes, sponges and biscuits, sweet sauces, breads and scones, as well as learning how to work with chocolate.

What would be the best way to get started in your field?
Start in a professional kitchen as an intern.

What could I earn in this career?
As a chef trainee anything from R1500 a month. A Sous Chef can earn around R8000 per month.  As you move up the kitchen brigade, the higher your salary becomes. Executive Chefs from top establishments earn a very good salary.

Are there many positions available?
Food is universal, and you can take your knowledge with you wherever you go. The hospitality industry is one of the fastest growing industries in the world, so there are never-ending opportunities!

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