Sunday, March 24, 2013

Apple Pie Bakery Cafe- Back of the house

Everyday after production in BOH Apple Pie Bakery Cafe we either had an hour of critique or lecture. Lecture with Chef Francisco Migoya was very different than our normal baking classes to say the least...

During demo with Chef Migoya we discussed key points in modern food science and new techniques that are big in the food industry right now. Most of our previous classes focused on more traditional methods of doing things, but this gave us an idea of how restaurants like Per Se and The French Laundry create some of their amazing components.

Liquid nitrogen can be used to make the smoothest ice cream or sorbet that you will ever taste! It freezes so quickly it doesn't have time to form the large ice crystals in traditional frozen desserts. 

Liquid nitrogen can also be used to quickly freeze fruits to be pulverized into a powder or broken into pieces.  We froze blood orange and then tapped it slightly and each individual segment separated perfectly.

  We learned a lot about hydrocolloids and gelling agents. Gellan gum, pectin, zanthan gum, guar gum, starches and many others! Hydrocolloids are new to me so I was fascinated at all the " experiments " and new desserts.

I will be putting all of this new information that I learned from Chef Migoya to use in my last block working the pastry line in the new Bocuse Restaurant in 3 weeks!!!!


Enjoyed this article? Read more about Racheal's experience working in the Apple Pie Bakery Cafe!
Apple Pie Lamination Station
Apple Pie Front-of-House

Friday, March 15, 2013

The Chowder Cookoff

Everytime I think about the chowder cookoff, or chowder in general, I think about the chowder scene in The Simpsons.

I say it's only appropriate because the Culinary is focused on French technique... then it does a chowder competition.  Anyways, on to more serious matters.

The chowder competition had twelve teams submitting their recipes to see who had the best one.  The field had competitors with a lot of puns in their names, such as  "Flex your Mussels", "Clams with Muscles", and "Soup-A-Stars".

These teams won third and second, respectively.

There were other forms of entertainment during the cookoff.  There were arts and crafts, music from "The Shoemakers" by Chef Kief and Professor Oswald, and the oyster shucking and eating contests, which was emceed by Chef DelleRose, whose food I'll be shooting two weeks from now.  Get excited for that post.

My friend Jordan was in charge of the arts and crafts station.  Props for his blue steel face.

(The Shoemakers)

Chef DelleRose interviewing students.  More like giving them a hard time while being candid.  Whichever works, I suppose.  But it's always in good fun.

For the oyster eating final, here is what the students had to eat.  Spicy oysters.  No.  In fact, really spicy oysters.  Would you eat these for a chance to win a hundred dollars?


And finally, the judge's room.  For me, it's really awesome to see plated versions of the product presented because I always took the product on plastic cups.  It looks weird in a sense, sure.  But I had to prove then that it kind of happened.  For the record, I don't know which team's chowder this was (a fatal journalistic mistake on my part), but I thought it was one of my better shots of the day. So I thought I'd post it here.

This event is just a sample of major events that go on here at the school.  Racheal posted the Bocuse event, which is another major one.  I think it's safe to say that going to these events and blogging about it is, "the most professional way to say YOLO" because we've done these things that only happen once in a lifetime, and have experienced them.

With that said, I'm off to experience more things in this campus.  Ten more weeks until graduation.  It's gonna get more exciting, since I have a lot in my calendar.  Stay tuned!


Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Happy Birthday Paul Bocuse!

    The wonderful and very talented Paul Bocuse was here for the opening of The Bocuse Restaurant last block. It was also his 87th birthday! A few friends and I had the great opportunity to make him a birthday cake to present at the student panel discussion that same day.  The dean of baking and pastry, Dean Vaccaro,CMB, came up with a design and gave us a basic sketch to work off of. It was our first time covering cake tiers of this size before, and it was nearly impossible to have zero imperfections.

The largest tier! 38 x10!

The tools on the top of the cake were made of pure chocolate, painted with colored cocoa butter. Instead of carving the tool shapes out of chocolate we used the gelatin mold technique.

 By submerging real tools in gelatin and allowing it to set we could cut the gelatin open, take out the tools, and then fill the empty spots with tempered chocolate! Pretty neat!

For the cake topper, the iconic Bocuse "B" was replicated in carved tempered chocolate and sprayed with cocoa butter.


 The various fruit and cheese items were hand sculpted with gum paste and then painted with edible color. The letters on the bottom tier and ropes were made with fondant. The toques were made with thinly rolled pastillage that were cut to size, placed on a curved surface to dry, and then glued on with royal icing.

  For the silhouette on the tallest tier I simply cut out the shape with rolled out gum paste and added black fondant shadows.

Assembling the cake was a little more difficult than expected.. We couldn't stack the tiers until the stage was set up because most of the tiers couldn't fit through a normal door way without being turned on it's side!

   We were very pleased with the results and it was such a great experience we will never forget!!!

Monday, March 4, 2013

Apple Pie Bakery Cafe- The Lamination Station

 The Culinary Institute of America has 5 student run restaurants. Every 3 weeks a new class makes their way through to work the front of the house and back of the house. As a baking and pastry student, we spend 3 weeks in the back of the house at Apple Pie Bakery Cafe. Our last stop before graduation is working pastry in one of the other restaurants!

Currently, in back of the house Apple Pie, my classmates and I have been split up between pastry, breads, or savory. I am on the "lamination station" in the breads shift (12AM- 9:30AM). The lamination station is responsible for all croissants, ham and cheese croissants, pain au chocolate, cinnamon raisin danish, passion fruit danish, kumquat danish, meyer lemon croissant, apple chausson, and other various pastries made with laminated doughs! For those that aren't sure, laminating is the technique used to get the flaky layers in puff dough and croissant dough. Butter is encased in a pocket of dough that is then rolled out and folded several times.

There are many things that can change the outcome of a finished laminated product. The dough and butter must be chilled and relaxed in between folds to the proper temperature. The amount of flour used in between the layers can make a huge difference. One damaged layer with butter melting out of it could have a domino effect and damage the rest of the layers. Chef Migoya, the head chef for the Apple Pie Bakery Cafe, cuts open one of my croissants every day and is looking for a nice uniform "honeycomb" structure.

 There are still days when I have a damaged interior, but my products continue to get better everyday! At the end of the day, it's amazing to see all of the finished products come together to be sold at The Apple Pie Bakery Cafe!

Our tasting and critique at the end of class everyday.

I managed to have extra time a few days a this week and decided to work on my own "project". I had always been curious about laminating multiple doughs together, so I decided to give it a try! I laminated traditional danish dough with pistachio brioche. I thought the results were really good and decided on making a pistachio danish with cherry cake and a sweetened mascarpone filling.

Chef Migoya was pleased with the end result and it was sold in the Cafe as a daily special! I'm really going to miss this class when it comes to an end!!


Enjoyed this article? Read more about Racheal's experience working in the Apple Pie Bakery Cafe!
Apple Pie Back-of-House
Apple Pie Front-of-House