Sunday, April 20, 2014

Last Day of Class

Last week was busy with school stuff! On Tuesday, I worked my required 2 practical hours in the school's bakery retail counter. It was hectic, but lots of fun. I enjoyed helping the regulars come in and order their baked goods and then head off to lunch while we packed up their purchases. There were all sorts of breads, cookies, cakes, pies, and other pastries for sale. Everything looked really delicious and professional and the prices were super affordable. I came home with a cinnamon coffee cake anda couple of cookies and a French bread that I used to make pizzas with for dinner! Yum! It was really encouraging to see such brisk sales and support for the culinary school!

The next day I had my last class. I had the final quiz and then we went into the kitchen for our knife skills practical exam. It took a few hours, lots of prep and cutting. My final spread is shown at the top. There are medium and small diced potatoes and some batonets and tournet footballs. We had one potato to use for all of those cuts. The carrots are julienned, made into brunoise, and oblique cuts. There is half of a diced onion and fine julienned leek. We made a couple of cloves of garlic into paste, cut some spinach into chiffonade, and finely chopped a bunch of parsley. We used just a little bit of heat to concassee two tomatoes and fire roast a red pepper, which we then seeded and cut into large pieces. Finally, we each made a bouquet garni bundle, all tied up. I presented my cuts and talked about them with my Chef, she pointed out the parts I did well and gave me good feedback on how to improve. She told me she was giving me an A in the class, yay!

After all of that cutting and cleaning up, we helped one of the other chefs prep a little for our student lunch. I will have Chef Doug for my cookery class this summer, so it was good to chat with him a little bit. He created the carved apple swan in the picture above. Here is a video he did for the local news where he shows how to make it. I am really excited about this aspect of culinary...fancy fruit and veggie carving is something I have always wanted to learn! I really enjoy doing just the basic cuts so far, so doing more decorative work is really exciting!

Also this week, I made a batch of bunny cookies! It's Easter today and I had two family events planned for the weekend, so I decided to make a full batch of cookies and work on repetition and consistency with two dozen bunnies. I also timed the whole process. I was very pleased with how they turned out! Consistent as a group, yet each has it's own subtle differences. I added a few little royal icing flower transfers that I made during my Wilton classes and it kind of opened my mind up to possibilities for using transfers in the future. In particular, I want to make up a bunch of little eyeballs. Because of the thickness of the eyes on top of the icing, they take forever to harden up, and I had a few get smooshed  as I packed them up to take to dinner later in the evening, even though they had a few hours to dry. I think it will help to have them premade, so I can just "glue" them on with a bit of icing and maybe add the shiny spot. I will be curious to go back and make some of the flowers that I learned a few months ago, now that I have had some more experience with icing.

So now I have a couple of weeks off until my next class starts. In that time, I plan to keep making cookies, apply for fall shows and get my bakery display and packaging ready, work on ceramics to go with the baked goods, and keep up with my other ceramic work. I am really pleased at my progress with the two classes I have taken and am excited to keep working!


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