Thursday, December 27, 2012

The dreaded 5th term practical...

While most college students are enjoying their month long vacation, I'm spending my 9 day winter break thinking about my 5th term practical! On the first day back to school, my class will be tested on the skills we have learned over the past year and a half.

Before I came to school here I was always curious about how the tests and practicals at The Culinary Institute of America were administered. Baking and Pastry students have quizzes, tests, and a final exam in each class, but only two practicals throughout the entire program. The first practical is taken right before leaving for externship,and it is a deciding factor on being able to continue to externship. The 2nd practical is taken before continuing on to specialty baking and working in the restaurants. Each practical consists of making 3 products. If you fail one product, you retake just that product. If you fail two or more you must retake the entire practical. Not only does failing result in the chance of setting you back in graduating, but you also have to pay a pretty hefty fine.

My 2nd term practical. Buttercream cake, puff pastry apple strip, and eclairs

Over a 2 day, 6 hour span (3 hours each day) I must produce a raspberry mousse cake, Grand Marnier truffles, and three loaves of Challah.

General grading is as follows:

  • Produce and present the required amount of each
    product as specified in this document.

  • Prepare all items without assistance from colleagues
    or proctor.

  • Demonstrate professionalism at all times including
    techniques, sanitation, organization and personal demeanor.

  • Complete all items within the allotted time. 

  • Present all items as per the specifications for each

Organization is key to passing this practical.  To prepare myself, I have put together a binder of all of my formulas, grading criteria, and other helpful tips and hints that can get me through this practical without any problems.  I have posted below the evaluation criteria for each product required. It is very detailed!

Grand Marnier Truffles

Raspberry Mousse Cake




2 six braid loaves and 1 four braid loaf
(One wrong braid in any of the loaves results in automatic failure.)

I have practiced the techniques to make each one of these products hundreds of times and shouldn't be nervous at all... Unfortunately that is not the case!  I'm sure I will be a bundle of nerves in a few days, but I'm hopeful that I will succeed. Wish me luck!


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