Tuesday, September 29, 2009

N-Block: Contemporary Cakes and Desserts

A new class, yet again! I have never truly enjoyed the first-day-of-school jitters. Seems like I get to experience them every three weeks here at this school! Only 'cause it's that intense! In college, the first day was a guaranteed snoozer = go over the syllabus, maybe get an assignment, go home early!

Here we are expected to be well well well prepared. This new class is no different, and I suspect that it will get increasingly harder as we make our way back down the hall throughout the bakeshops.

Chef W is French. Our first French chef so far. We have had several Germans, Americans, and a Swiss instructor. Everyone has had a hard time pronouncing my name, but instead of annoying me, I find it amusing and look forward to the next butchering of my given name. Chef W is French, but for some reason still couldn't pronounce my French-style name! Haha!

So far, he seems extremely nice, but wants to push us and make us better. This is a production class. All the desserts we make will go down to the common eating area for the other students (fondly referred to as Club Farq by some of us). We will be expected to have things finished by 10:45 am every day, so it is really a collective effort instead of individual. When we finish things within our team, we are expected to offer help to other teams. The products I made today (coconut dacquoise and chocolate flourless - both short, flat cakes in sheetpans) will be used by everyone else later on in the week. In this way, we can maximize our production, although we don't get to learn how to make everything. Too bad, but this class also focuses on taking our skills to the next level, not necessarily learning all new things.

Chef W was pretty serious about being prepared for the class - to the point of sending home two students right off the bat because they didn't have everything with them. They came back once they got their act together, but I'm sure it wasn't a great way for them to start off the class.

We lost a classmate last block (dropped out), and gained three more, so our group stands at 16 now. There are 8 of us who are from the "original" group of 13 we started with. Pretty amazing how many people have filtered in and out due to varying circumstances.

Today was mostly a mise-en-place day. It felt good to do some baking, as I hadn't done ANY since I made a friend's wedding cake back in July! Tomorrow we will begin to build our desserts. The "large" size is called an entremet (on-tre-may) which means "between meals" in French. It's typically served around 4pm. The smaller sizes we will make are called petit gateau (pe-tee gah-toe). Contemporary means we are using new ways to make cakes - using molds, fleximolds, silicone molds, pvc pipes and ring molds to create ways to hold up mousse and make new shapes. Interesting glazes, chocolate decor, and colorful jaconde (decorative thin sponge cakes) will happen in this class. I'm totally familiar with making mousse after the many debacles I had with gelatin in my last class before extern. Woo!!!

On another note, my mom and I had a FABULOUS time this past weekend, celebrating my birthday! It was great to see her of course, and I'm hoping to post some pictures about it here soon. Here's a shot of my lovely *surprise* birthday cake from my best friend! It was delicious!!!
I feel as though we are finally starting to look related, Mom!

My pillow is calling me.... goodnight!

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