So school started on Friday, with what was the only day of the whole term with a demonstration & practical class on the same day. Unlike the rigour that I’d been exposed to in the intensive set for Basic Patisserie, the normal set has a pretty spread out schedule, with approximately one class a day, four times a week. We’ll see in due time whether I think the intensive course/normal one is more suitable for me haha.
It was really awesome to be back in the demo room (albeit a totally different school) and to be a pastry student again. Apart from the fact that I’d barely slept the night before, the 3 hours of class was super enjoyable and passed by pretty quickly. We were introduced to the chefs I/C of the IP group and briefed on the rules etc. that we were expected to follow in the weeks to come. In terms of strictness, I’d say that the school has definitely stepped up its game from the time I was here.
Prior to knowing the syllabus, Tenille (my friend from Trinidad & Tobago who is also not from the most recent BP batch) and I were discussing how we hoped the first class would be basic enough to handle. I’m not too sure how she felt, but when I saw that it was a class on inverted puff pastry, I started getting quite worried (my experience in basic with Pithiviers in the sweltering summer heat was horrible). The chef made it look really simple but at the same time, you could tell that the room was slightly too warm for laminating, resulting in the chef himself having a difficult time handling the deterempe.
Immediately after demo (which ended around 630pm), everyone from groups E & F rushed to the locker rooms to get changed for our practical class which was at 7pm. I was super nervous at this point, knowing that the unfamiliarity of the kitchen would be a potential hurdle in my class. Right from the beginning, I got it wrong. Unlike 4 years ago where we’d just stand wherever we pleased, my classmates were all standing at benches corresponding to their index number (I didn’t even know what mine was LOL). One of my classmates had to come up to me to tell me I was standing in her spot *oops*.
To my delight, our chef for the prac was Chef Jean-Jacques, one of my fave chefs from Basic. He kept his usual cool demeanour & I felt that familiarity from Basic once again. Everyone paired up to make different components of the puff pastry & I was lucky to have Jianhua (from China) pair up with me. She was super helpful in telling me where to get all the items & I must say we worked pretty well together 🙂
Once everything was out of the oven and we’d cleaned up, Chef went around to assess our work. Another new thing that was introduced was an evaluation journal that each of us had to bring in for the class, for Chef to give a grade based on our work. Again, I must say that the new system put in place really seems much more school-like than it was. Kudos to the academic team for that!
Going to my second practical tomorrow – we’re using leftover puff pastry from this first one to make a mille feuille 😉 Stay tuned!