Thursday, November 06, 2008

Baking for Culinary Students

One of the the toughest classes I have had in my 6 years at CHIC is this culinary cohort of 10 students. With tough economic times when even education funding is affected by the financial crisis, and retention is a major concern, my patience was tested to the max. I was so frustrated with the poor attendance of this group, but I could not give up. I knew that my main goal is education and teaching them to be the best they can be. I also wanted them to have respect for baking.
I think, in the long run, they came up to my challenge. They did an amazing job. Micahel O'Donell told me after the finals, Chef, you totally changed my perspective about baking.
These pictures are from their sweet table after a 3 week- term in baking

Monday, September 29, 2008

Gourmet Chicago 2008 at the Millenium Park

getting ready for my chocolate demo
The Bean

Chef Marshall and Mixologist Bridgit Albert
Stopped for a picture on our way home
The Pritzker Theater

The Mayor admiring the Cake

Before the cake was hand painted

Transported the cake from the parking lot via golf cart

The first ever Gourmet Chicago, a celebration of food and wine, organized by the City of Chicago and the Illinois Restaurant Association opened at the Millenium Park this past weekend, Sept 28 and 29. Our school, the Cooking and Hospitality Institute of Chicago had a tent and served perhaps a couple of thousand on Saturday and quite a bit less on Sunday. The culinary department, fresh from a lift of the ban on foie gras in Chicago, served foie gras mousse with veal gelee, potatoes with ratatouile and a spinach salad with orange vinagrette and a parmesan cheese cracker. The Baking and Patisserie department on the other hand, served an assortment of truffles that incleuded a caramel balsamic, a honey-ginger-sesame oil, a mango passionfruit, pistachio,etc,an assortment of macaroons, chocolate mousse cups, an assortment of pate de fruit, and an assortment of tartlets, oh, and some opera tortes. In addition, we had 5 full sheets of yellow chiffon with white chocolate mousse and raspberry. Lloyd Kirsch, school president, Kirk Bachmann, Le Cordon Bleu North America Executive Chef, Marshall Shafkowitz, Vice President of Academic Affairs forCHIC cut the cake to celebrate CHIC's 25th year.
I designed and created the 25th Anniversary cake out of fondant, pastillage and pulled and blown sugar. The cake which was really mostly of styrofoam was a stacked copper pot, a chef's hat, a saute pan, a copper saucepan, a colander and some kitchen tools: spoon, a rubber spatula, a fish spatula, a whisk, rolling spoon all made of pastillage. The bubbles are meant to suggest cooking or boiling and were made of blown sugar. Chef Nancy Carey helped me blow about 50 bubbles for this cake. She also made the pulled sugar ribbon.
It was a fun, but exhausting event, tremendous amount of preparation was involved and lots of help from great student volunteers who plated, served, cleaned up, all with smiles on their faces however much their feet hurt.

Saturday, September 06, 2008

Mousse Parade

My Baking and pastry Cohort of 4 students just finished their custard class. Here are some pictures of their mousse cakes, part of their final practical. In the pictures are Megan King, Jan Tramposch, Karrie Lay and Maricel Arroyo. Megan King's parents barely made it after over 6 hours of long driving from Michigan and Karrie's mom is here from Texas.

Saturday, July 26, 2008

Sweet Table with Chef Toni Leahy and John Montanile

Chef John Montanile and Chef Toni Leahy and I had sweet table classes this term, Chefs Montanile and Leahy had the cuisine class and I had a very small Baking & Patisserie class of 6. We d ecided that cuisine will do their sweet table on Thursday and B&P will do it Friday night. Both nights had a big turn out, families and friends showed up to support the students. For the cuisine part, Paul Young stayed late on behalf of administration to welcome the guests and also honor Diana Rodriguez for her role with the Blood donation Drive for Lifesource.

On Friday, Ruth Raynard, Director of Faculty Srvices for CEC, so graciously responded to our invite and stopped by with her family to say hello to the students and see their progress first hand.