CIA Day 1 (originally written in September 2009)
It’s not yet daylight in the Hudson Valley at 5:30 AM as I make my way north to orientation. As the continuing education coordinator distributes parking passes and food swipe cards, I am nose deep in my instruction manual. What will we be making this week???
Breakfast today was Elvis french toast…what can I say…Memphis is home…I had to try this. It’s almost what you would expect. Two slices of french toast sandwiched to together with banana, peanut butter, and bacon. It’s quite rich, and I didn’t pour on the syrup!
How great to see Chef Welker again. He was my instructor last fall at Baking BootCamp. After watching Chef demo pastry cream, vanilla sauce/creme anglasie, pate a choux, and the wet method of making caramel for creme caramel, we were given our assignments and allowed near the gas cooking flames. How trusting of the CIA to allow this group of people, from all walks of life and all experience levels, free reign in the kitchen.
Pastry cream means whisk constantly and vigourously until your arm feels very, very tired. And then whisk some more. Mary (my bootcamp partner) and I took turns whisking. Now, who’s going to help whisk in my home kitchen?! All the effort was worth the final result; we produced a tray of rich, thick, vanilla seed speckled, pastry cream. (BTW, the CIA uses 2,000 pounds of butter per week.)
Pate a choux did not require any of the heavy duty whisking. We piped lines and circles with the dough…I guess that means we made eclairs and cream puffs. Tomorrow, we will fill these with the pastry cream we made earlier today.
Lunch break was not your ordinary brown bag variety. Caprece salad, lamb, squash, and some type of stuffing. Skipped the cheesecake (I can’t believe I did that!) to get back to class to make the caramel.
And now, on to the hot sugar part of the day. It was just awesome to watch that sugar (we used the wet method to make the caramel) change from white bubbles to golden amber caramel! We will plate these little pots of creme caramel tomorrow.
We finished the afternoon with a very complete tour of the campus. In addition to the baking and chocolate classrooms we observed, we made our way ‘downstairs’ to the fish room and the meat room. I can’t describe these..you will just have to wait for the pictures. Oh, and a quick trip through the store room where they keep the chocolate.
It’s time to dress for dinner at Caterina De Medici; they are expecting us at 7PM. Not to be outdone by the lamb at lunch, I’m sure this dinner will be spectacular.
Dinner service was quite slow; we didn’t finish dessert until 9:30 PM. Today has been a wonderful but very long day.
Here’s a link to another day 1 and 2 post. I was so tired at the end of the remaining evenings of the week that I didn’t write summaries of the day. The pictures will have to tell the story…
The above post was written in September 2009. After the week at CIA Pastry Bootcamp, I returned home to work and everyday stuff. Now it’s July 2010, and I’m on v a c a t i o n! And, I now have time to update some partially-completed posts.
So, I’ll soon be posting CIA Pastry Bootcamp pictures from September 2009. As was the CIA Baking Bootcamp in fall of 2008, this Pastry experience was educational, and fun, and inspiring. If you are even remotely considering a week at CIA, click that button on the computer screen and commit to taking the class. It will change your life.