six months in
Let’s all take a moment to laugh at the fact that I said I would be updating you on pastry school and I did not write a single blog post. NOT ONCE. Are you surprised? I’m not really. These past six months have been a whirlwind and with two days left, I can’t believe it’s almost over! I want to deep dive into some of the awesome things I learned like how to make eclairs, temper chocolate, and build a wedding cake, but I think it would be good to first go back to the beginning.
In all honesty, I was overwhelmed for probably the whole first month. Seriously – I was nervous and/or scared everyday. I had never worked in a professional kitchen before so all this yes chef, no chef, order of the kitchen jargon was new to me. I thought I would never pick it up. I can also admit that I live for the approval of authority, so it was difficult to be in a new hierarchy where I didn’t know which way was up.
A question I got a lot from friends in the beginning was, “Are you having fun?” I really struggled with this one. I thought the right answer was to say, “Yes, of course I’m having fun. Baking is my life and culinary school is my dream so of course I’m having fun.”
The truth was not as easy. Class was tiring and surprisingly difficult. On the first day, a classmate asked me if I knew how to cream butter and sugar. I scoffed. How could they think I didn’t know how to do something as basic creaming butter and sugar when I was in pastry school? I soon learned that that was a silly attitude to have. I came to school to learn and improve, but it was hard for me to come to grips with the fact that I had so much to learn about things I thought I was already good at.
Thankfully, it got better! Once I got a hang of things, I actually did have fun and absolutely fell in love with school (don’t make me graduate plz). I got to make incredible pastry, learn from wonderful chef instructors, and become friends with an amazing group of future pastry chefs.
Here are some highlights from my six months in pastry school:
We made so many tarts in unit two that I thought I’d never eat a pie again. Now that I’m a full on sugar addict, I miss my daily slice!
Pate a choux was our third unit in level 1 and this Paris-Brest was first thing we made that I did not want to share at all. It is pure hazelnut goodness.
Bread was our last unit of level one, so after years of researching and dreaming about croissants, I finally made them! Making them was almost as exciting as eating them.
A month into school, I took a risk and entered a cookie competition at the school. Amazingly, I won and got to do a demo with Chef Jansen Chan at Bloomingdales in November!
This cake was my first real attempt at anything fondant related. I realized I have so much to learn about cake decorating, but I surprisingly love it.
This test was the first in a series of three days of midterm testing which ended in me somehow undercooking and overcooking my product on the last day. At least it started off pretty!
When we got to level three, class was less about baking and more about refining more difficult techniques, like pulled sugar. This flower is definitely on the list of things I never thought I’d be able to do.
Making my own wedding cake was probably one of my proudest moments in pastry school. For me, it was a prime example of how challenging yourself can have big payoffs. (Even if the wedding is Caribbean themed and the colors are teal and orange.)
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Another sweet masterpiece from our Pastry Arts students – Pear Hazelnut Naked Triffle. Hazelnut Cake topped with Red Wine Poached Pears and Caramel Semifredo, Finished with Poached Pear Sorbet. #HardWorkTastesGood #culinaryschool #pastryschool #bakingschool #dessert #sweeeeeats #eeeeeats #f52grams #foodstyling #artofplating
Our restaurant day dish was the last project we completed before finals began. Our chef pushed us hard (and yelled at us a lot) but in the end, it was worth it to create such a beautiful and delicious plated dessert.
I think we’ve about caught up to present day. As I said, I have two days of classes left: one where I’ll be freaking out, hoping I finish all my items, and the other where I’ll be freaking out, hoping I finish showpiece on time/ getting judged by a panel of industry chefs. I promise to let you know how it goes.
Until next time, I wish you the best on your food adventures,