Saturday, September 24, 2011

Sugar.. ahh.. Honey, honey...

I guess that's the song that best describes this week's project.

Yeap.. This is sugar week!!

And we have Chef Scott Green.

Now, let me tell you about this Chef.. Chef Scott is THE sugar artist at The French Pastry School. He's competed in countless championships representing the school, and was a member of the first place winning team at the 2011 National Pastry Team Championship ... In short, he IS the person to learn from, when speaking about sugar.

Of all weeks, this was the one I was the most afraid of. Simply, because I knew nothing about pulling sugar. So, saying it was a tough week, it's an understatement. It proved myself in every possible way.. There was a point where I even felt like I wasn't any good at this sweet art. But Chef Scott pushed me to my limit, and not only taught me how to "treat" sugar, but how to focus and concentrate in getting the job done, and do it right!... Best lesson learned... Thank you Chef!!

So, I ended up winning the battle.. And here are the results..

Chef Scott, making a ribbon out of pulled sugar..

Ribbon demo...

One of my pulled sugar roses..

The right and wrong of a blown sugar swan.. Chef Scott has a distinctive way of teaching...

Rachael's swan's being born... CAW CAWWWW!!!

This is me... Making a pulled sugar ribbon..

Have a sweet one!!

Sunday, September 18, 2011

We not only bake.. We laugh as well!!

So, we have a new project with Chef Mark (who I happen to enjoy so much as a teacher!).. this project is a Baby Shower Cake, and it incorporates string work {which is an intricate technique with royal icing}, embossing; lots of piping; gum paste inscriptions; and a super delicate gum paste French Tulip.. I told you.. We are learning a lot!!

These "piping days", the best advise ever, that we have received from Chef Mark, is a very simple one: BREATHE! I discover that most of the times, when I pipe, I just hold my breath.. So, I have to remind myself from time to time to breathe.. Simple, but powerful advise!!

Cake about to be decorated..

Baby shower cake!!.. And French Tulip!!

The most hilarious part of these project , was when Chef Mark took a pantyhose... Yeap... You read right... A PANTYHOSE!! And covered his hand with it. He uses it to strain the royal icing, and he told us that the funniest thing was seeing the face of the cashier at the store, each time he buys
50 of those... She must think he's having quite a party!!

Cakes waiting to be graded..

Have a sweet one!!

Saturday, September 17, 2011

Man cave.. Or Man cake.. What's the difference??

Well, both are designed for men!!

This week, our project was a masculine cake.. Sorry guys.. No flowers, no pretty colors..

We had Chef Mark Seaman, who actually not only teaches at The French Pastry School, but at his Chicago-based studio. He is an award-winning Certified Master Sugar Artist and Cake Stylist, and we had the privilege to learn lots and lots of techniques from him, as well as some tips on how to find ways to be more efficient..

Here are some pics..

Emily and I with Chef Mark...

My man cake, ready to be decorated..

Ta daaaaa... Man Cake!!

Have a sweet one!!

Monday, September 12, 2011

...are we there yet??

...that was the question I kept asking to myself, as we approached the entrance of this mighty place...

I'll explain...

I have been hearing a lot about the most popular hot dogs you can find in Chicago... Yep!... I'm talking about "Hot Doug's"

There's little I can say that could do enough justice to these delucious hot dogs... So, I will leave you with some pictures. Judge by yourselves, and enjoy!!

Did I mention that the French fries are actually fried in rendered duck fat... D E L I S H!!! need to explain...

Chris and I.... Hot dogs = Happiness... :-)

Bon appetite!!

Friday, September 9, 2011

It's all about the details... right??


Good Lord!...

Could anything be more difficult than modelling a monkey that doesn't look like a bear??... Well, let me tell you, it's all about the details.

I always thought that I kind of sucked in the fine art of modelling. And I must say that, I was quite nervous with this specific class. But, once I understood that I must really pay attention to the main characteristics of the object (in this case, a sweet little monkey, and a playful dog), in order to reproduce it successfuly... I started having fun... and that's what really matters... JUST HAVE FUN!!

Friday, September 2, 2011

Greetings from Chicago!!

Hey everybody!...

It's been a long time since I wrote the last post... Please, forgive me for taking so long to write again. It's just that I really had some busy weeks... But, here I am... Doing what I love... Baking and writing!

So, I am now taking this U N B E L I E V A B L E course at The French Pastry School in Chicago, called L'Art du Gateau. I should say, this is nothing like I have imagined... It's waaaaaaaaaaay better!!... The staff has been really helpful, willing to work with us in order to make our enrollment easy and smooth... And the premises are IMPECABLE, like Chef Kristen once said "...I would eat from these floors..."...well... I would too!!

Our first week is all about Sanitation, and History of Pastry... I know, it doesn't sound appealling, but it's kind of fun and interesting to learn about all these facts on real kitchens; the pastry origins; where the ingredients come from... And so on...

Well... That's kind of all by now... I'll keep you posted...

It's fun to be back!!