Advanced Patisserie and Display Cakes- Week 1

Thursday, January 13, 2011

At long last I am taking Advanced Patisserie and Display Cakes. Because it is a relatively new class, I wanted to wait a couple of quarters for it to get any kinks worked out before I took it. I decided to take it this quarter, and it's a good thing I did as Chef CJ is pregnant and will not be able to put in a full quarter next quarter. I wouldn't want to take this class from anyone else. Chef CJ is awesome. She's talented, professional, and yet has an incredible sense of humor and makes learning fun. She understands the passion firsthand and is so incredibly helpful to her students in every possible way. I must admit that she is my favorite teacher. Possibly ever.

There are only 6 of us in this class. Five women and one "boy." He wasn't there for the first day of class, however. I kind of feel bad for him once he does show up. We all decided to push the tables together to form a communal table so we could talk more easily while we worked. We each had our own table, speed rack, and mixer. CJ was able to go through the syllabus quickly since we have all had her before. Then she began telling us what we were doing the first weeks. I looked around at the women in the kitchen with me and felt a swelling begin in my chest. Because this is an elective class, all of us in there WANT to be there. We all have passion for this and I could see it on their faces and in their eyes, and I knew it mirrored my own. We are to create (I love that word) three plated 5-diamond desserts. She showed us an example (I found the picture online but it is a TERRIBLE picture and it's all fuzzy) and it contained 12+ components! She gave us a couple of recipes to prepare so we would have some base components to work from and this week we are supposed to decide what else we are going to create and we have to put it all together next week.

Then came the amazing part. She went to the storeroom and brought back scads, oodles, heaps, and every other fun word that implies mass quantities of molds and ingredients and tools for us to work with. She opened the fridge and freezer and begin listing what we had access to. You know that look of excitement and wonder I was telling you about earlier that was on all of our faces? Yeah. That doesn't even begin to compare to the sheer giddiness that was coursing through that group when our bounty was revealed. If you can imagine it, we have access to it. If there, for some bizarre reason, is not an ingredient in the storeroom that we would like to use, all we have to do is let her know and she will do her best to have it available for us the next week. If you recall my post Make Up Lab, you will remember that one of the reasons I was so excited about that lab was because we had access to whatever we wanted and we got to just...go. That is a large part of this class. She trusts all of us to not abuse the materials or equipment. She is giving us loose guidelines for the assignment but we get to be as creative as we want within those guidelines. HOW DID I GET SO LUCKY????

So as we all stood there, staring open mouthed at all of our choices, we were like kids in a candy store. "There are too many choices!" We made our selections and headed to our stations to begin work. We had four recipes we needed to get knocked out. CJ didn't tell us what order to make them in, yet all of us made them in the same order, because we all looked at the time things took and knew what needed to be made first. Even more amazing, we all took almost the exact same amount of time to make everything. As I looked around at these women surrounding me, I had a sudden realization.

"I have to tell you ladies, I know I don't know you guys all that well, but it's so awesome to be with other people who are as OCD as I am." It was true. Everyone was working just as clean as I was. Everyone was working with the same precise movements that I was. We all were stressing about the same things. A woman responded, much as I would, with a slightly paranoid tone, "I really TRY not to be!!!" Oh sweetie. I know. More than you know. That of course was in my head. Out loud I replied with, "I know! I'm on meds for it!" Her response, "Me too!" CJ's response, "I'm pretty sure we all are." Yup. If there are that many of us, though, we can't all be "wrong" though, right? We just have to take meds to get along in a world that isn't compelled to make sure things are precise and accurate and clean and perfect. Maybe those who are messy and disorganized should be the ones on medication to be more like US. Maybe not, but it's a nice thought. In any case, it makes me almost giddy to be surrounded by people like me and to have one place where I don't feel like I have to partially suppress that side.

Back to the food! We each made biscotti (mine is chocolate with almonds and chocolate chips), pots de creme, chocolate ganache (mine has a hint of almond and rum), and bavarian cream. We put everything but the biscotti in molds to use for these amazing plates next week. My head is spinning with ideas and flavor combinations. I went and used the gift card for Kohl's I got from my parents for Christmas and got a plate, a set of interesting glasses, and a set of ramekins. The ramekins are for home use since we have plenty at school, but the plate and glasses are to use for these presentations next week. I also needed a plain white plate to use at home when I photograph my own food here. I would like to begin to build a collection of various plates for that purpose, and I guess I just got my first piece to build off of!

I can't wait to show you all the pictures of what I end up creating, and I'm sure some pictures of my classmate's food, too! I'm sure they will create fabulous items, as well!


Jennifer said...

where's the "like" button???

Now This Is Life... Copyright © 2009 Designed by Ipietoon Blogger Template for Bie Blogger Template Vector by DaPino