Presentation T P32

T P32 (Poster Presentation):
Preventing premature burnout and disability of employed artisan pastry chefs: a multidisciplinary, multi-level descriptive study.

Presented by: Anne Pichené-Houard

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Pichené-Houard A1, Lapoire-Chasset M1, Martel L2, Gaudart C2, Volkoff S2, Claudon L1

  1. Institut National de Recherche et de Sécurité, Vandoeuvre
  2. Centre d'Etudes de l'Emploi, Noisy-le-Grand, France



Pastry chefs employed in France's artisan sector remain closely attached to both their trade and firm. Nevertheless, few pastry chefs work after 50: they suffer burnout and leave the profession early. A confederation of artisan pastry chefs has asked whether this trend can be countered and if the disabilities can be prevented.


A multidisciplinary team including a statistician, a sociologist, ergonomists and an occupational physician assessed this situation using a cross-disciplinary, multi-level approach. On the macroscopic level, the statistician analysed data from French surveys of employment, working conditions and occupational health. On the microscopic level, the sociologist and the occupational physician conducted a qualitative study of the situations of 13 experienced employees. Factors contributing to instability or, on the contrary, stability in the profession were identified. The ergonomists conducted an assessment of working conditions and work organisation at 2 artisan pastry cooking establishments.


The macroscopic approach shows that pastry chef numbers regularly decrease after the age of 30 and that, while pastry chefs are more exposed to time and physical constraints, they are less exposed to psycho-social stresses than manual workers in general. On a microscopic level, the interview- and ergonomics-based approaches converge towards similar findings. Implementation of new production and conservation methods has improved working conditions and productivity. However, employees consider they work at the limits of their physiological capacities. Night work and physical hardness persist and cause disability in the long term. The employees work under "just-in-time" in response to new marketing requirements. Ultimately, their working history highlights a stepping of the pace of work which is harmful to individual adjustments. Apprentices are required to ensure half the mass production. After 20 years career, few of the pastry chefs envisage pursuing their activity until retirement.


Guidelines for action focusing on allocation of working hours, apprentice status, physical and mental workload, and both environmental and time constraints are proposed. Suggested thinking on diversification, professional career adaptation and job image is also provided.

Schedule Details

Tuesday September 30
12:45 - 13:45 Poster Viewing
Session: Mental disorders