Baking_Pastry

Baking &Pastry

I want to make my passion my career.

It’s hard to find someone who doesn’t like dessert. It’s not easy to find someone who has the talent, passion, and imagination to turn desserts into works of art. This is serious stuff—especially in a culinary industry that grows more competitive and demanding every day. It’s why restaurants often call on the creativity of pastry chefs and bakers to help give them an edge. If you’re ready to put your talents to the test, the place to start is our Baking & Pastry degree programs. While you’ll focus on the pastry arts, you’ll get a well-rounded education—from plating a dessert to preparing confections to managing a commercial kitchen. You’ll be surrounded and inspired by other talented, creatively driven students. And you’ll be pushed, challenged, and, above all else, supported by experienced faculty* who want to help you find your place in the world.

*Credentials and experience levels vary by faculty and instructors.

Degrees Offered

Diploma in Baking & Pastry

Quarter Credit Hours:
51
Timeframe:
4 Quarters

Gainful Employment

Outcomes

Diploma in Baking & Pastry

Outcomes

See ge.artinstitutes.edu/programoffering/3293 for program duration, tuition, fees, and other costs, median debt, salary data, alumni success, and other important info.

1. Safety and Sanitation: Graduates demonstrate the ability to establish and maintain safety and sanitation procedures.

2. Cooking: Graduates demonstrate the ability to prepare standardized recipes using a variety of cooking, baking and pastry techniques as well as appropriate equipment and tools.

3. Cuisines: Graduates demonstrate the ability to produce various baked goods and a variety of international and classical pastries and desserts using basic as well as advanced techniques, which meet industry quality standards.

4. Problem Solving: Graduates demonstrate the ability to design, produce, assemble and decorate display and wedding cakes using various finishing methods which meet industry quality standards.

View Academic Catalog

Classroom Experience

I can't wait to show what I can do.

There aren’t many careers out there that let you express your own individual style and creativity while giving you the instant gratification of seeing consumers enjoying your work. That means you’ll need to compete for your place in the real world. And that’s the driving force behind Baking & Pastry. You’ll work on fundamental pastry and bread-baking techniques, all-purpose baking, desserts, cake decoration, and pastry arts. You’ll apply your skills to chocolate, confections, and centerpieces, as well as classical, glazed, iced, molded, cream-filled, wedding and display cakes. You’ll have the opportunity to learn to mix, shape and bake hand-crafted breads. And we’ll make sure you’re up to date on trends across the entire culinary industry, including international flavors. You’ll have the opportunity to learn critical thinking and business basics, including the principles of ordering food, equipment, and supplies. See our gainful employment pages for possible careers that match the program that interests you.

Meet Our Alumni

  • Alison Leake

    Graphic & Web Design , 2008

    "[My education taught me to] approach a project in a logical, thoughtful way. It was a great simulation of how to tackle design challenges in the real world."

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    Alison Leake

    Allison Leake is working as the senior graphic designer for the Chicago Architecture Foundation. She’s responsible for the design of company materials and art direction. Allison says that each day includes communicating about design strategy with marketing co-workers and other departments. She also manages workflow in the design department and art directs design projects done by other designers, communicates with print vendors, and processes invoices. She enjoys solving design challenges and communicating with non-designers about how design can serve content and audience. “I am starting to enjoy logo design more after much practice. I have always loved layout projects like brochures and magazines because it requires an understanding of how people read through large amounts of copy.”

    Recently, Allison re-branded “Open House Chicago,” a free annual architecture festival showcasing more than 150 architectural gems throughout Chicago. She applied the brand to a variety of collateral pieces including posters, flyers, print/digital/out-of-home advertising, onsite signage, and t-shirts. She looks to packaging design blogs for creative inspiration. “I think the best typography and illustration, as well as the thoughtful use of both in creating impactful POP display, pushes me to stretch my creativity and problem-solving within my own job.”

    Allison, who in 2008 earned a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Visual Communications from The Illinois Institute of Art — Chicago, says that her education taught her the importance of being process-oriented. “Approaching a project in a logical, thoughtful way was a great simulation of how to tackle design challenges in the real world. Without it, I would be lost. Also, relying on my professors as mentors helped me to value the utilization of anyone around me as a resource to develop my own skills and career.” She tells current students that finding a niche in the industry may take time. “You will not necessarily know exactly what to do the first day or week or year out there. Your job is to take direction well, learn as much as possible and use whatever skills you gain over time to excel in what you do, in every way.”

    See aiprograms.info for program duration, tuition, fees, and other costs, median debt, salary data, alumni success, and other important info.

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  • Christine LaSorda

    Culinary Arts , 2012

    "This industry is tough and they prepare you for that, but they always encourage you as well."

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    Christine LaSorda

    Christine LaSorda is the owner of A Baker’s Tale in Chicago, Illinois. She oversees daily operations, cost control, and marketing. Christine adds that every day is different—but all start quite early—at 4 am. “I am proud that at the age of 28, I was able to open the bakery of my dreams. I have an incredible staff and it’s everything I envisioned and more. It’s so fulfilling to do something you’re put all of yourself into and love so much.”

    Christine finds inspiration in family and friends, and in the life wisdom that these people have passed on to her. She abides by her father’s philosophy that “you can be successful while still being a good person.” Christine adds that her profession allows her to express herself and try new, creative ideas. “[My staff builds] on each other and it’s just so much fun.”

    Christine earned an Associate of Applied Science in Hospitality Management from The Illinois Institute of Art — Chicago in 2012. She also earned an Associate of Applied Science in Culinary Arts from the same school in 2011. She says that her instructors brought real-world experience into the classroom. “This industry is tough and they prepare you for that, but they always encourage you as well.” She suggests that current culinary students make sure that they’re dedicated to the industry. “Sleep now while you can. Make sure you love it and make sure you are willing to work for it.”

    See aiprograms.info for program duration, tuition, fees and other costs, median debt, salary data, alumni success, and other important info.

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  • Heather Ditson

    Fashion Design , 2009

    "There are so many things to enjoy [about my career]. But most of all is the reward of seeing [my] designs in stores - or even better, on people."

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    Heather Ditson

    Heather Ditson is working as a head designer for Calvin Klein @ G-III Apparel in New York City. Heather is responsible for designing and developing seasonal print/color directions for swimwear as well as developing new silhouettes, trims, prints, and embellishments. She also manages the design team and oversees and manages fittings. Heather works with overseas vendors and her in-house team. “In the early stages of design, I am working with a graphic artist to get the prints and color story perfect. Next, I focus on silhouettes and new body development,” she says. Many weeks of fittings and approvals follow before the design moves forward. “[We have] internal meetings to make sure we are all still confident about our selections.”

    Heather’s swimwear design career began with the Anne Cole brand. “I was involved in the early stages of his now-renowned, successful label.” Heather adds that business growth at Calvin Klein has increased since she’s come on board. “Being a large part of these labels’ success makes me feel extremely proud in every way.” To gain inspiration, Heather visits large and small beach towns and stays tuned-in to trends, fashion shows, and magazines.

    Heather, who in 2009 earned a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Fashion Design from The Illinois Institute of Art — Chicago, says that her education provided a well-rounded overview of the fashion industry. “The technical courses offered in Adobe Suite, Web PDM, and U4ia were essential to my success.” Heather recommends that current students take on a variety of internships to learn the industry. “This will help you to determine your long term career goals.” She adds that knowing one part of the industry doesn’t automatically mean you can move into another area. “If you [have] five years a swimsuit designer it doesn’t mean you are qualified to move right into an evening wear design position. Changing fields is like starting over in your career. Make sure you are happy doing what you’re doing.”

    See http://ge.artinstitutes.edu/programoffering/231 for program duration, tuition, fees, and other costs, median debt, salary data, alumni success, and other important info.

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  • Raven Norman

    Fashion Design , 2012

    "The career services department aided me in sourcing new opportunities that allowed me to build my résumé."

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    Raven Norman

    Raven Norman is working as an assistant designer at Randa Accessories in Rosemont, Illinois. She’s responsible for leather goods design. Raven works on brands including True Religion, Columbia, Levi's, and Dockers. A typical workday includes following up with factories in Asia to ensure that sample development continues to stay on track. “I also do trend research on menswear and general accessories. However the majority of my workday is developing new designs and problem solving.”

    Raven is proud of her experience working with Polo Ralph Lauren and Calvin Klein in New York City. “I am also very proud of my recent success in Asia. I was graced with the opportunity to work with our factories in China and Hong Kong. The business knowledge and cultural exposure I obtained during this trip was very beneficial. I count that trip as both a personal and professional accomplishment.” Raven enjoys using her fashion as a way to express herself through colors, silhouettes, and textures. She adds that she’s inspired by street fashion and the personal style that it embodies. “I am also inspired by Ralph Lauren. Ralph Lauren is exceptionally distinctive and classic, I admire how the brand has carved a sector in the market that no other brand has been able to trek upon.”

    Raven, who in 2012 earned a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Fashion Design from The Illinois Institute of Art — Chicago, says that her education provided a solid foundation for her career. “The career services department aided me in sourcing new opportunities that allowed me to build my résumé.” She recommends that current students pursue internships. “I also encourage [students] to gain knowledge of business development and merchandising.”

    See http://ge.artinstitutes.edu/programoffering/231 for program duration, tuition, fees, and other costs, median debt, salary data, alumni success, and other important info.

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  • Salisia Webber

    Fashion Design , 2002

    "My education prepared me for my career because it taught me the importance of meeting deadlines."

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    Salisia Webber

    Salisia is an account manager and merchandiser for 4Seasons Global, a full service design, sourcing, manufacturing, and import company in Chicago, Illinois. She manages retail accounts and works with overseas suppliers—a typical day could start at 4 am with a Skype call to a partner in a foreign country. “What I enjoy most about my career is being able to learn about different industries while traveling and meeting new people. I’ve been able to travel to Spain, China, and large cities in the United States. And I get to work with everyone from engineers to extremely creative designers.”

    Salisia finds creative inspiration in the world around her and counts her heroes as people who have a personal style and “make any piece they’re wearing their own.” She’s proud to have changed career paths within fashion, moving from design to fashion buying and merchandising. Salisia recommends that current students learn the industry’s trending technology. “There are so many great apps, fun blogs, and websites that are accessible to everyone. It’s like fashion on the go.”

    Salisia, who in 2002 earned a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Fashion Design from The Illinois Institute of Art—Chicago, says that her education taught the importance of meeting deadlines and never taking no for an answer. “I [learned] to push myself beyond limits. Having gained these skills as a student [helped me] to survive many obstacles in my career—and still come out on the winning side.”

    See http://ge.artinstitutes.edu/programoffering/231 for program duration, tuition, fees and other costs, median debt, salary data, alumni success, and other important info.

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What Will I Study?

Baking_Pastry

This is where I belong.

The Baking & Pastry curriculum is focused on helping you grow as both an artist and a technician. Working in professional kitchens, you’ll explore both theory and practice through courses that take you from the fundamentals to the world cuisines that are emerging in popularity. You'll study:

  • Ingredients
  • Weight & Measures
  • Sanitation & Safety
  • Dessert Plating and Presentation
  • Artisan Breads
  • Baking Production
  • European Cakes and Tortes
  • Advanced Patisserie
  • Purchasing
  • Nutrition Science
  • Management, Supervision and Career Development

I'm looking for my proving ground.

The Art Institutes system of schools, creativity is our core, our calling, our culture. Our Baking & Pastry degree programs are built on that creative foundation. It’s also built on our knowledge that a creative career is not for the faint of heart. Because it’s tough out there, it’s tough in here. But along with that toughness comes all the support you’ll need at every step along the way. That’s why we provide the mentoring and real-world experience to help you prevail, with faculty* who’ve worked in the field, along with opportunities to learn that go far beyond our kitchens. You’ll be encouraged and expected to be bold. To take risks. To push yourself and the people around you. It won’t be easy. In fact, it’ll be the hardest thing you’ll ever love.

*Credentials and experience levels vary by faculty and instructors.

 

Meet Our Faculty

  • Katie Crain

    Audio Production

    "I want students to understand the dedication it takes to succeed. They can do it if they're willing to put in the work."

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    Katie Crain

    Was there a defining moment when you knew you were destined to become a creative professional?

    I can tell you exactly. 11:03 pm, September 12, 2000, at a concert in Rockville, Illinois. In that instant, with the world buzzing around me, I realized that this was what I wanted to do. Among the record reps, the roadies, the musicians and the fans, a magnificent light bulb went on. An immense world of possibility was illuminated. I had to become part of the music industry.

    How do you weave your professional background into the classroom experience?

    I share real-world scenarios from my experience promoting concerts and shows, whether it’s reviewing a contract from a concert or an email I received from a client. I always try to put everything into context, drawing on examples from my career.

    Is there a class assignment that exemplifies your approach to teaching and mentoring?

    One of my favorite assignments is the Career Challenge. I challenge students to contact an industry professional and engage in some sort of interaction to help them build networking skills early. I've had students reach their favorite artists—and even receive offers for internships.

    How do you inspire students to push themselves beyond their perceived limits?

    I also teach a course where students craft a business plan that takes eight weeks to complete. It's not easy, but the students often thank me at the end of the course because now they have the tools to start their own business one day..

    How does collaboration contribute to students’ success—particularly when students from different programs work together?

    The industry I work in certainly does not exist in a bubble—and neither can education. Music, now more than ever, is a cross-platform medium. In almost every class I teach, there’s some group work, whether in assignments or large-scale presentations. Teamwork is critical to success beyond the classroom.

    What’s the most important thing you impart to students to help them succeed in class and the real world?

    I want my students to know that to have a career in this industry they have to work hard and be passionate. It's a 24/7 career, and their success is directly correlated to the hours they invest. Nothing will be handed to them. I want students to understand the dedication it takes to succeed. They can do it if they’re willing to put in the work.

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  • Mark Stanley

    Culinary Arts

    "Never stop learning."

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    Mark Stanley

    Was there a defining moment when you knew you were destined to become a creative professional?

    When I turned 30, I realized my commercial real estate career was unrewarding. A friend from New Orleans was in the midst of a culinary apprenticeship in New York City. We got together to celebrate my birthday, and talking about his experiences spurred me to sign up for a chef training program when I got back to Chicago. I’ve never looked back.

    How do you weave your professional background into the classroom experience?

    Having worked in the hospitality industry for nearly 30 years, I’ve seen and experienced a great deal. I devote half of my lectures to relating my personal experiences—and those of my friends in the industry—and using current examples to reinforce the concepts I'm teaching.

    What class assignment exemplifies your approach to teaching and mentoring?

    In Facilities Design and Management, I expand the class project to concentrate on developing a restaurant that meets the standards of the Green Restaurant Association, an area I've been focused on for most of my teaching career. Understanding the importance of incorporating sustainable practices is critical to the future of not just our industry, but the planet.

    What’s the most important thing you impart to students to help them succeed in class and the real world?

    Never stop learning. Our discipline is so broad and continually evolving, if you don't stay abreast of the changing landscape, you won’t reach your full potential.

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  • Michael Howe

    Michael Howe

    Culinary Arts

    "There's a lot more to being a chef than just cooking."

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    Michael Howe

    Was there a defining moment when you knew you were destined to become a creative professional?

    There really wasn’t any “a-ha” moment, but I always liked to cook. I went to culinary school and found I had a natural skill and a real interest, and 33 years later I’ve never wanted to do anything else.

    How do you weave your professional background into the classroom experience?

    Along with being a full-time chef instructor, I own and operate three successful restaurants. I always relate what happens in class to the culinary industry. I explain how the skills students are developing—setting up their stations and organizing their work area, breaking down a chicken, making a mother sauce, or developing and costing a menu—relate to the real world. I stress that the work habits they form now are the foundation on which they’ll build their careers.

    What class assignment exemplifies your approach to teaching and mentoring?

    Students need to understand that there’s a lot more to being a chef than just cooking. I tell my students the same thing my instructors told me: It takes years to become a chef, but only minutes to dress like one. My students prepare daily prep lists and timelines so they can plan and organize their day…just like in the real world.

    How does collaboration contribute to students’ success—particularly when students from various programs work together?

    The Capstone class is a great example of cross-program collaboration. I encourage students to seek out Interior Design and Graphic Design students to assist, guide, tutor, and mentor them in those areas. Not only does it help them with their project, it’s a good lesson in working with others while keeping a single vision in mind.

    What’s the most important thing you impart to students to help them succeed in class and the real world?

    Treat everything like it was your own. Think of that chicken, that carrot, that pot of stock, that stove, that oven like it was yours—like you reached into your pocket and paid for it yourself. Treat them all with respect. Get the most out of everything you can. Then, when the day comes that it is your money, you’ll have the mindset to be successful.

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  • Vassi Vasevski

    Graphic & Web Design

    "Believe in yourself and don't stop dreaming, no matter how long it takes and what sacrifices it requires."

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    Vassi Vasevski

    Was there a defining moment when you knew you were destined to become a creative professional?

    For me, that moment was when I was accepted into the Academy of Fine Arts in Sofia, Bulgaria after passing a series of very challenging exams (on my fourth attempt).

    How do you weave your professional background into the classroom experience?

    I always rely on my professional experience as a practicing artist for more than 30 years. I tell stories from the real world, such as getting rejections from galleries, meeting tough deadlines, and facing tasks that put my talents and experience to the test.

    How do you inspire students to push themselves beyond their perceived limits?

    Students learn to respect my experience over the course of the term. I think the fact that I came from another part of the world and have accomplished a thing or two over the years is an inspiring story in itself.

    How does collaboration contribute to students’ success—particularly when students from various programs work together?

    Collaboration between students from different programs is always beneficial. It’s an opportunity to see something from a different perspective, as well to be able to add your unique professional input to the learning process.

    What’s the most critical advice you would offer any student embarking on a creative career?

    Love wholeheartedly what you’re doing. Believe in yourself and don't stop dreaming, no matter how long it takes and what sacrifices it requires.

    Anything else you’d like to share?

    I’m really happy to have been a part of the The Illinois Institute of Art—Chicago family for over a decade now.

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