Monday, September 1, 2014

Apple Pie Bakery and Cafe

By student blogger Morgan 

A class that takes up two blocks (six weeks total) and covers both the front and back of houses in the cafe, Apple Pie is the equivalent of "Restaurant Row" for the baking and pastry students at the CIA. It is the chance to work in a contained real-world situation and get to see all of the different parts of a working bakery. For the first three weeks of the class, students are assigned to a position in the back of the house in three different categories: savory, pastry or breads. Job assignments are usually a collaboration between Chef Ballay, the group leader and the students' preference. In the savory kitchen, pastry students work with two MIT's (managers in training) to prep and create the full cafe menu available for lunch from 11:00 am -5:00 pm. They are in class from 5:00 am until about 3:00 pm working hard to learn (sometimes) completely new skill sets from what they've just spent the passed two years practicing. They have one of the longest days and the busiest jobs...I so much respect for the savory line!




There is a team of 5-7 students depending on your class size who hold down and even more non-traditional schedule while in Apple Pie- the overnight bread bakers. Working in stations such as artisan breads, bagels, brioche and lamination, these students are in class from 11:30 pm until all the bread is done for the next day (usually around 7 or 8 am). They bake delicious New York style bagels, ciabatta, foccacia, baguettes, sourdough loaves and a variety of donuts, muffins and other baked goods all from scratch before most people even open their eyes in the morning. They make the bake shop smell heavenly and they look good doing it! 


And the third installment of back of house Apple Pie is the pastry team. The majority of a class of pastry students ends up here, usually 7-10 depending on the size of a class. They are broken up further into positions such as pastry show case, team macaron, glazing and finishing and retail items. Together, they work from 5:00 am until 3:00 pm to stock the bakery with all of the sweet items each day as well as stock the back with mise en place for future desserts, orders and classes. Whether a pastry team member is whipping up the fourth batch of macarons for the day or wearing a trash bag over their whites and stirring a gigantic pot of bubbling jam, this is the team you've probably pressed your noses against the windows and watched on a tour. An example of some items created by the pastry team are raspberry pistachio pops, chocolate dipped cupcakes, mini cheesecakes, mini black forest cakes, eclairs, eight different flavors of French macarons, dessert jars and large entremet cakes.


This is what the pastry case looks like on a daily basis at Apple Pie by 9:00 am. By closing time this plus a back up refrigerator will be nearly sold out!




A frequently used and unique garnish for the desserts at Apple Pie is the gooseberry. It is a small, cherry-tomato sized berry that grows in beautiful paper thin leaves. It tastes even more unique than it looks- like a cross between a tomato, watermelon and an orange and it offers a gorgeous and adornment to our desserts.


 Students remain in their assigned jobs for the full three weeks of this block, practicing and perfecting targeted skills. Because Apple Pie is a real, live working bakery, students also have the responsibility of taking inventory for their stations, learning about ordering and maintaining minimum stocks. On any given day the cafe serves thousands of people and we have to keep constant track of every item and ingredient to make sure our products remain on the shelves to sell. After three weeks making all of the products behind the scenes, students transition to the front of the house and get to experience the other side of business. Stay tuned to hear all about front of house Apple Pie next week!