14 April 2014

Hello, I'm Pastry


Last week was my first week of school. After all my preparations to be ready to start on the first day, it turned out that we spent most of the first week preparing to start. It was a bit frustrating at first (especially spending an hour of class time on the instructor reading the school standards to us), but once I realized that I was the only one in a hurry, I relaxed and was able to appreciate the time to get to know my fellow students, and to shop for my chef's kit.

The first day of the Baking 101 class included going over the list of equipment we each need to purchase. The photo above shows most of it; not seen is the knife bag that will contain most of these tools. Nice haul, eh? I got most of my equipment at Sur la Table, using a gift certificate that my wonderful, generous co-workers at my former gig at ABC Legal gave me as a going away present. I've promised to bring them pastry shop treats once we start baking at school. Last week, the school restaurants and bakeshop were still closed, but I think they will open this week.

There are nine of us in the Pastry program for first quarter, and about twice that number starting in Culinary. The school has both a full Culinary Arts program, and the Baking & Specialty Desserts one that I'm in. If you're in the full program, you are called Culinary, if in baking, you're called Pastry (as in "Are you Pastry?"). We had 10 in Pastry, but one dropped out - the only male. So, we are nine females. The other 8 women range in age from 19-28. One is an international student (from Taiwan). So far we are getting along very well; everyone is good humored and chatty.

We only overlap with Culinary in one class (sustainable food practices) and they were quite a contrast with our small, happy group - they looked pretty glum, and said they had been in the classrooms all week. We actually got some time in the kitchens, for an equipment usage safety check, an overview of where all the different bits of equipment live, and also for two demonstrations in which we got to participate a little bit: one on rolling tart dough and fitting it to different pans, and one on cutting parchment to make impromptu pastry bags.

I have a better sense now of what each class will contain, and I'll write another post about that soon. I also plan to write a post about our practicum (the practical work we do in the school's restaurants and pastry shop), and I will post a photo of the uniform soon - mine turned out to be both too big (yes, I tried on samples ahead of ordering - don't know what went wrong with that) and the material is stiff and scratch, and I'm hoping they will both shrink and soften up with washing. If there's anything else you're just dying to know about, let me know in the comments.

It's begun!


  1. I'm looking forward to posts/photos of the actual pastries you make, my mouth's already watering......remember CHOCOLATE!
    SS and SJ

    1. It's been so rushed this week I haven't even had time to take photographs, but I will soon! I am making breads this week, but the people on dough duty made chocolate croissants today - they smelled wonderful. Too bad this blog doesn't support Smellavision!

  2. I'm curious what they told you to look for in picking out a set of knives. Any particular material or brand they recommend?

    1. Thanks for the idea - I'll do a post on knives. I had my first hands-on knife skills class today. I still have all my fingers!