This is one of those classes that is the reason why you want to go to pastry school. Sure, I loved Art and Design and Classical Cakes, but those classes are meant to teach you the foundations. The entire time you're enjoying it, but you're wanting to run with it. You're wanting to be creative; make decisions; sprinkle piles of luster dust over everything in sight. Individual Production Pastries (IPP) is the first time we get to post all the pictures that look like nothing you could ever teach yourself at home and hear all the ooohh's and ahhhh's from our family and friends. We got to garnish, build, flavor and perfect - and boy is it a transition.
As a class you make nearly 1200 pastries in one 6.5 hour day. You're on your feet the whole time, there's very little lecture, and everything is super intricate. For the first time, no one holds your hand. No one reminds you that something is burning in the oven. You're in a team of four and most of the decisions and responsibility is up to you. IPP is definitely the hardest class in our semester, but it was also my entire class' favorite. Get ready for some serious photographic yumminess.
IPP is taught by Chef Fritz, who is one of those chefs who you just automatically respect and admire. She manages to keep a strict environment in the classroom without having to yell or overbear, and I've never heard of any student not enjoying her class. Each day when we came in, we'd be assigned a dessert in teams of four and then spend all of class in production mode. At the end of the day we'd set up a display of everyone's desserts to practice our presentation skills and setting up dessert buffets.
For two weeks straight we made at least five different desserts every day as a class, plus learned and practiced chocolate work for garnishes. We did units on layered cakes, pate a choux products, verrines, petite fours and petite gateaux to name a few. IPP is busy, busy, but it is so much fun and you learn so much. Among other things, I learned that I am more or less incapable of speaking French without a really cheesy Pepe le Pew accent...
During the last week of this class you work together in your team of four to create a dessert buffet of four different items for presentation to the Deans, other chefs and students who will be taking this class shortly. It was one of the most challenging projects that I've ever been assigned, but my class really pulled together for it and created some awesome products. If you're interested in learning more about the individual desserts, head over to my separate blog Morgan Phillips Cakes where I go into a little more detail.
Although it may not appear to be a good picture at first glance, this next one is probably my favorite photo ever taken of my class all together. If I had to capture what you can expect to get from the CIA in one picture, this is it:
During IPP is when Baking and Pastry students also take their 2nd term practical which is a serious skills test that must be passed before you can represent the CIA on your externship. Stay tuned for a recap of my experience soon!