My training: Illinois Institute of Art - Chicago
My job: Pastry chef at Fidel & Co. Coffee Roasters in Little Rock
Paige always enjoyed baking with her family as a child. After high school, she enrolled at the Illinois Institute of Art - Chicago to complete a baking and pastry degree program and decided to stay in the city after graduation to work as a pastry cook and pastry sous chef. She moved to Los Angeles to work at various restaurants until becoming the pastry chef at Hatchet Hall. After several years working in California, she moved back to Arkansas and is now the pastry chef at Fidel & Co. Coffee Roasters, helping open its new Sterling Market location in east Little Rock. The most rewarding aspect of her job is making good, nourishing food that makes people happy.
Twelve years into her culinary career, her favorite pastry items to make are croissants. Paige says a common misconception about pastry chefs and restaurant workers is that they have the same time off as other professionals. Instead, pastry chefs are often working during holidays and weekends while other professionals in many different fields have these days off. “I think a lot of people don't understand how physical it is,” Paige said.
She wouldn’t change anything about the path that has brought her to where she is today. Paige encourages those also interested in pursuing a career as a pastry chef to explore the culinary world to its fullest. “...travel, read a lot of cookbooks and work in restaurants before deciding whether to attend culinary school.”
Cooking Up a Great Career as a CHEF
► Education required: While no higher education is required, a culinary certificate or degree from a culinary program or school is highly valuable for a career as a chef or pastry chef.
► 13% projected job growth for chefs in Arkansas by 2028
► 90 projected job openings for chefs each year in Arkansas
► Median annual wage for chefs & head cooks: $42,860
Source: Above stats and salary data on this page from careeronestop.org
► Bakers: $28,350
► Restaurant cooks: $27,010