So I am just about to resume my patisserie course at Le Cordon Bleu after my two month broken wrist sabbatical so I thought I would give you a little update on my progress so far. I have learnt so much, my pastry has improved dramatically amongst other things, I have met some brilliant people and have broken out of the complacent little rut I had found myself in. Firstly...speed..I never knew I was so slow!!! Having worked for myself I have had no one to compare myself to. Having someone basically cracking a metaphorical whip behind me has done wonders for my efficiency. Secondly....teamwork...for someone who works by themself I have really enjoyed working with other people, I can talk to someone else apart from myself, my dogs and Netflix. I love geeking about pastry, cakes and just food in general. Thirdly....practicals....I love sitting with a cup of tea watching a top pastry chef create something gorgeous in front of me and then getting to eat it. Little gasps and rounds of applause are not unusual, it's a beautiful thing. Fourthly...age has its benefits....I think if I had done this course when I was 18 I would be in a corner rocking and gibbering. A little dash of French contempt here, a smidgen of English sarcasm there and occasionally a compliment or two which you grasp onto like a drowning man to a lifebelt. I have cried over a broken tuile biscuit (yes, really), I have been told my chantilly cream was "irrelevant" - strangely upsetting at the time but vastly amusing when I am out of the goldfish bowl. I have had my lemon julienne measured (with a tiny ruler) and found to be too long (by 1 cm!), my buttercream piping resembling the James Bond "Spectre" logo or an octopus. Whilst I may sound like I am mocking this attention to detail it is what I actually love about the course and what I hope will make me a better baker.
Top five things I have learnt this term:
1. Dock your pastry, makes it so much more crispy and lovely.
2. Get a microscale for measuring salt...saves heartache.
3. Julienning things...it gets easier, it really does.
4. Negative space...it's a thing.
5. The French put booze in absolutely everything. Not that this is a bad thing. Don't sit still as you may be lightly brushed with a kirsch syrup. Vive La France!