Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Graduation from ESCF Ferrandi

School has finally come to an end. Its unbelievable how quickly five months have passed. It feels like only yesterday I started my first day in the lab and was mortified by one of Chef's 5,000 sexually harassing jokes.

Graduation was simple. We received our certificates of completion, Chef said a few nice words, and we sampled some canapes, desserts prepared earlier in the morning, and of course the obligatory flute of champagne. Chef created a sugar sculpture to display alongside our pastillage pieces and my penguin ice sculpture.

Monday, January 25, 2010

Ice ice baby!

I'm generally always cold. Paris is really cold. A cold person, in a cold city, working in a refrigerated room is not necessarily a good thing. Carving ice? Someone shoot me now. However, I came to realize that carving ice requires a lot of muscle and delicacy at the same time, and you're likely to break a sweat. I started out with a rather large ice block and a general idea of what I wanted to carve.

Normandy Day 3

On our last day in Normandy, we started out by visiting a small family owned and operated cider distillery. Here they bottle their own cider, cider based products, and calvados (apple) liquor. I'm not a big fan of calvados, but did manage to bring home a bottle of their demi-sec cidre.

Saturday, January 23, 2010

Normandy Day 2

What are aspiring pastry chef's dreams made of? Butter, sugar, flour. We've already visited a flour mill, so day two of Normandy started with a visit to a butter factory. Normandy and Brittany are renowned for their love of butter. Who doesn't love butter? Demi-sel croquant butter? Even better butter.

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Normandy Day 1

Day one of our Ferrandi class trip to the Normandy region of France started by meeting at Gare Montparnasse at 6AM. Luckily for me, I live very close to the train station and it was a mere three minute bike ride.

A TGV ride and transfer later, we arrive in St. Malo and did a hurried tour of the town. Its quite cute and reminded me a bit of Rouen. We lunched not too far away and this meal was probably one of the best of the trip. When by the ocean, you'd be a fool not to order seafood.

Friday, January 15, 2010

Coming to a close...

Today we finished our testing by making some marzipan roses, and unmolding ice cream. It wasn't too interesting, but afterward we got to make whatever desserts we wanted with supplies on hand. A few cakes, tarts, and cookies later, it dawned upon me that school is really going to end soon. It's quite bittersweet; sending countless days being harassed by Chef and seeing my friends will definitely be missed, but I'm embarking on a new adventure!

In a matter of weeks, my blog will be littered with rants about my stage at Plaza Athénée and how they beat me (not really), and I might not even have a chance to take pictures. Thinking about it, photos are likely prohibited anyways.

So next week we're going on a class trip to Saint Malo, Cancale, Mont Saint Michel, Isigny, Omaha Beach, Scotteville, and Cherbourg. We're going to be visiting a cidre factory, a butter factory, and a whole lot of other things I can't decipher on my itinerary. Suffice it to say... I'm excited!

But before all the excitement, we had to clean up the lab, clear out the fridges. I really take cleaning seriously.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Testing 1..2...3

It's t-minus less than two weeks until we graduate, and of course that means its test time! Being the nerdy Asian that I am, I love being tested, evaluated, and rated. Yes I know; it's pretty sad.

I've just finished day one of testing, and it was a bit rough, as I'm battling a cold. It's hard to have a steady hand when you're holding back a sneeze. I think I'm doing well so far, but I guess we'll see after tomorrow. And after that we're working on sugar sculptures. I think chef seems to think we're more excited and skilled at sugar work than we actually are. My fingers still hurt from pulling sugar.

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Confections and regional desserts

With two weeks off of school, I have easily forgotten how difficult it is to wake up at the crack of dawn (or rather 6 am) to run off to school. It has become a lot more difficult with the cold weather and snow.

This week we worked on confections and traditional desserts. Though I really like caramels and nougat is okay, I really cant stand marshmallows. Mind you, I love the marshmallows we get back home. I'm talking about French 'guimauves' that we flavored with rose, mint, and violet. Kind of gross if you ask me. I can't seem to handle anything that has a flower essence, except for maybe lavender.

Thursday, January 7, 2010

Blog neglect and big things coming

So I guess I'm starting out the year a little slow... blog wise. Perhaps it means that I've taken my social life up a notch, or maybe have been too busy, jet-lagged, and slipping in the snow here. Nevertheless, its great to be back in Paris. Its odd feeling a bit homesick, especially when you're not exactly sure where home is anymore.

This is the view from my doorstep this morning:

Friday, January 1, 2010

Revisiting resolutions

So looking back on 2009, it was such a crazy year! Lots of ups and downs, and definitely lots of changes. My blog is officially a year old, and reflecting on my first post I'm pretty certain that I met most, if not all of my new year resolutions for 2009.

So here was 2009:

1) Lose 10-15lbs (yeah yeah.. i know beauty on the inside and muscle weighs more than fat.. but I can TRY)
* Well I see this is as an ongoing carry-over goal I'm still working on.
2) Run at least 10 miles a week.
* Yes if you include walking!
3) Wear more skirts/dresses (and dress better overall).
* I've purchased 5 dresses in the last 3 months, so I think that has to count for something!
4) Learn to like lamb, or at least tolerate it.
* I heart lamb. I could eat some lamb right now. Like really.
5) Do some things a little less: drink, spend, eat...
* A bit of a hedonistic year.. but I'm happy at least!
6) Do some things a little more: cook/bake, laugh, have fun.

More California eats

So here's a quick look at some more yummy things I've been noshing on during my visit back to California. First thing on my list of 'things to do' when I get back home? Go running.

Shaved ice bowl called 'falling fruit'. And this was the small size!

Dave's blueberry boats

So my brother has been raving about these 'blueberry boats' that he gets from a bakery about three times a week in Santa Cruz. Though at the rate that he eats these pastries, its a surprise that he's as slim as he is. But some people just luck out with the metabolism and I guess surfing does help.