Choosing the best pastry chef courses depends on your goals as a pastry chef. Generally speaking, some cooking schools are more prestigious than others due to the renown of the faculty or the reputation of the school's graduates, but a local cooking school may be better even if it is not prestigious for people who cannot travel far for school. Most pastry courses at culinary institutes are offered as comprehensive programs, but there are some pastry classes offered that take less time to complete and may focus on only one aspect of making pastries or a specific project. When possible, it is a good idea to look at reviews of the program or class in question in order to make sure it is a good fit.
What you take away from pastry chef courses is typically the beginning of a career as a pastry chef. Courses that are less thorough may be offered to recreational chefs and bakers, but these do not usually offer diplomas or the necessary qualifications needed to become a chef at a restaurant. Pastry chef courses cannot always overcome a lack of talent, but any sufficiently motivated student can learn the science and techniques behind pastry cooking.
The technical aspects of pastry chef courses are absolutely essential to the program. Understanding not only recipes but also how different cooking techniques work allows for innovation in the kitchen and is the most valuable part of this type of program. Looking at the curriculum and talking to instructors can help determine whether the courses in question are sufficiently rigorous.
Criticism is a major part of finding the best pastry chef courses, as a chef needs to learn not only how to please his or her own palate but also the taste buds of others. Most professional courses include criticism from the teacher, and whether or not you agree with the teacher's criticism, this process is important when learning to be a diverse pastry chef. It is important, however, not to be at odds with your teacher, so if the teacher runs a restaurant or bakery, it may be a good idea to try some of his or her pastries in order to ensure that your tastes mesh.
Restaurants and special cooking schools that cater only to non-professionals often offer recreational pastry chef courses. Choosing this type of course is much easier than choosing professional courses because there is no need to obtain a competitive diploma or degree. Typically, pastry courses of this type include eating your creations at the school and are primarily used as entertainment even though they may be educational. When choosing this type of course, you should look at what type of pastry will be created as well as whether the school's location and times of classes are convenient.