Sweet as, new patisserie programme

Sweet as, new patisserie programme

New Zealand needs more pastry chefs, says a CPIT Aoraki Patisserie tutor who has just co-created a new specialisation to meet industry demand. 

Tutor Marcus Braun is pleased with the new one year specialisation that is now available as the New Zealand Diploma in Cookery (Advanced) Level 5 with Patisserie Strand.

"Industry have asked us to provide them with pastry chefs, because there are not enough professionals with the right skills available," he said. "We were in a position with the facilities and talented people to be able to make this happen.

"It's a whole separate set of skills altogether. Chef training is a good start, however pastry chefs must have patience, precision and perseverance. Patisserie is all about doing a lot of little things extremely well. Accuracy is a vital ingredient - and then the end outcome will always be great."


Andrew Clarke, Owner/Manager of Just Desserts agrees. "There is a small crossover of skills, but obviously the skills pastry chefs need are quite different to the chefs. For example chefs need good knife skills, whereas pastry chefs need excellent palette knife skills."

Clarke says the industry will benefit from the new specialisation. "It's a really positive step forward. There is an increase in demand for pastry chefs and from my understanding, CPIT Aoraki has extended their courses, which is fantastic.

"It raises the skill level and that is wholly positive for the industry."

CPIT Aoraki previously offered modules of patisserie training during chef training programmes. However the specialisation allows students who are passionate about patisserie to delve fully into the secrets of creating perfect desserts and delicious cakes, plus the industry skills of time management, food safety and commercial kitchen operations.

The specialisation begins by teaching students to make classical and contemporary cakes, gateaux and special occasion cakes. Next they move onto individual desserts and pastries, including petit fours, chocolates, Danish and croissants. Finally, the students learn a range of hot and cold desserts and how to plan and cater for banquets and functions.

Georgia Calcutt stayed in Christchurch to study when she learned about the upcoming new patisserie programme at a CPIT Open Day.

She loves the challenge of patisserie, which is quite a step up from the Certificate in Bakery that she completed in 2015. The difference between baking and patisserie, she says, is "the detail in everything. Baking is more about pies and basic slices, whereas patisserie is focused on restaurant desserts and more complex desserts."

Despite just starting her programme, Georgia is already putting her skills to use at Just Desserts where she works as part of the team creating fillings and decorations and putting the company's delicious cakes together. "I love the finished product. People take it home and they are shocked it looks so good – and so am I!"

After graduating, Georgia is hoping to own her own business "down the line" and is considering studying a business programme at CPIT Aoraki to learn more about management. "I've always worked in cafes. I wanted to be a chef until I worked in a café and then I found that patisserie is more me."