Friday, January 16, 2009

First 2 weeks in FPS!

Everyone agrees that time flies when one is busy or happy, or both. That pretty much sums up how I feel about the first 2 weeks in class.

First week, we went through the orientation, Servesafe classes, test and theory on baking. I enjoyed myself listening and learning from chefs about eggs, cream, butter among other things. Not so much about the servesafe classes, which talks about foodborne illness, bacteria, allergy etc. I am not saying sanity in kitchen is not important though....

knife skill


Second week is when all the kitchen works begin!We started with knife skills and practice with piping. Here's a picture of my 2 apples, peeled,cored, and cut into different dimensions.

butter piping


Piping is never my forte. It's sad that the Wilton courses I attended didn't make me any better. My friend Heather on the other hand,is insanely good at that.

Apparently, she could decorate more than 60 cakes in a day when she was the cake decorator in Sam's club. I think her next challenge would be to do piping with both eyes closed. Or could she do that already? Hmm....I need to ask her about that.

tart dough cookies


The first edible product I brought home was these cookies made of sweet tart dough. Unlike the soft and chewy cookies that many are accustomed to, these cookies are baked until really golden brown and crunchy. The dough was rolled and cut with cookie cutter, and after the second rolling and cutting, the dough was discarded. Being the frugal girl that I am, I couldn't stop thinking about the wasted dough in the bin. It could turn into some great fruit tarts, together with the pastry cream we made and brought home the same day. And speaking of the tub of pastry cream, I was too worried about what to do with it, since it had a short shelf life; I gave it to my classmate before tasting any myself. Silly me! The torturing thought of fruit tart with the wasted dough and pastry cream accompanied me into dream land that night.

piping french meringue


The second edible product I brought home today- Piped french meringues. The picture above was when they were still raw.

We have Chefs Sebastien Cannone and Dimitri Fayard for cake class today. The chefs shared about the thinking process of building a cake. The various elements that are in play and a demo on whipping cream to make butter! When OCT asked me how chef did it, I told him it's like centrifuguring the cream (centrifuge is a high spinning machine in the lab) to separate water from the fat, and bringing all the small fat molecules into one big glob. It feels like a chemistry experiment, except it's something that I can relate too.

Speaking of chemistry experiment, it brings a smile to my face everytime we do scaling for recipes. It was exactly what i did when I was trained to be a chemist many years ago. And when Chef Laura showed us how to scrape everything off the bowl, I remembered Dr Wang, my ex supervisor in the pharmaceutical plant. We scraped off everything from the instruments we were using, because every drop of drug active ingredient mixture translated into a few bucks. I think chemists can be very good bakers! ;)

19 comments:

Susie said...

What a cool and informative post!! Thanks for sharing that!

veron said...

Harold mcgee showed us the same thing about turning cream into butter and then turning butter back into cream. Quite a transformation don't you think?

http://sweetcrumbs.blogspot.com said...

The cookies look so lovely! hope u are having fun at your class :)

Jennywenny said...

Thanks for sharing, similar to what I did at my baking and pastry at community college. I just got my servesafe certificate in sanitation too! It does make you feel like you never want to eat out again!!

I dont think I realised you were a fellow chemist. Cool! And yes, it does really help with the scaling as its just like setting up a reaction!

keep up the good work!

The Duo Dishes said...

Everything's so cute...even the by products of your knife skills. :) We see evidence of loving slicing and chopping!

onur said...

Meringues look great! Can we get the recipe? What's the white flakey stuff underneath? Sugar? Flour? Coconut?

Melisa said...

Thanks for putting up photos and sharing your journey! This is fabulous!!!

Manggy said...

Thanks for the update Mandy! I DID love Chemistry back in college!! That is why to this day I detest those measuring cups, lol :) Please do update whenever you have the time! :)

Bunny said...

I'm really enjoying hearing about your journey through pastry school!

Maria said...

Great post! Looks like everything is going well. Thanks for the update!

tigerfish said...

Sounds so exciting!

Desmone007 said...

It must be so interesting and fun and not to mention yummy going to FPS! I really like your blog and your recipes too...and the pictures just have me so hungry!
I would love to invite you to share your recipes and cooking tips with us at Foodista. It's a cooking encyclopedia ala wikipedia, full of recipes, cooking tips and much more!
We also have small embeddable widgets that can help you cuild traffic from Foodista-related pages. You can check it out here. I look forward to reading more of your blog and seeing more recipes!

Jude said...

Wow looks fun for kitchen geeks like me. It's so nice that we get to see inside through your photos. Definitely looking forward for more!

Clumbsy Cookie said...

Funny how baking can be related with so many things! And lucky you that you can bring the stuff you bake home! Glad you're having fun!

Maya said...

Mandy:

Hope you are enjoying yourself in Chi town!

Eileen said...

What fun this must be! Wish I were there with you.

eliza said...

i just read that you've become a pastry student, best of luck to you! sounds like you're gonna learn a lot and have a terrific experiences.

Rasa Malaysia said...

So good to hear you are pursuing your dream, hobby, and passion. Not many people have the courage to do that. Congrats.

Aran said...

Mandy- I haven't visited your blog in a few weeks and I find out that you are attending the FPS! Lucky you! I have taken many classes in the past with sebastien cannone and jacqui pfeiffer and they are just the best in this country. no doubt. best of luck to you and enjoy!

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