January 17, 2008

"Reinforcing knife skills"... Huh? ...skills? What skills?

I wouldn't dare call my attempts at the 'knife' a Skill of any sort! *laughs*Very quickly; we were taken through a day of prep work; knife skills and basic knowledge about health and safety in the kitchen by an experienced guest chef lecture who happened to be Chef Mary's other half who was a Culinary Chef for many years.He has an incredibly vibrant personality and filled with humour and charm the entire day. He had the class giggling and roaring with laughter. I guess it comes from all those years of experience working in Disney; it's hard not to be a fun person! I felt a tiny bit bewildered by all the information he had bestowed upon us newbies in the food industry.
We were taught to follow ways and rules within commercial kitchens and were given the opportunity to learn how our jobs in the kitchen influences healthy eating habits and customers with food allergies or special needs. Mary helped finish off our long day of lectures with a wonderfully moist and delicious slice of gluten-free carrot cake. I don't think I've ever had such a breathtaking bite of gluten-free goodness in my life. It's astonishing the amazing formulas bakers are coming up with these days to alter their recipes to suit special dietary needs.
The class has been divided into 2 equal portions of students now....and we're currently working together in pairs in our daily baking. One portion of the class is doing "Breads" with Chef Mary in the laboratory next door; and we on this side with Chef James are doing "Breakfast Pastries"! It's so much fun trading goodies at the end of the day with our classmates next door! I just love freshly baked bread! We will be doing a bread class as well when we eventually swap over and change instructors.
My partner; Nicole and I love how we've been teamed up together. We seem to get along so well; and we have a natural understanding. Things are so efficient, fair and well sorted out. I hope we stay partners throughout the classes...*grin* James mentioned that we'd have to switch pairs with every class component..but *sigh* we have mess ups...and I seem to be making at least one a day! (this story will be kept for another time) hehe... but she forgives me with a smile and an "It's okay" I don't want to lose my Nicole! *laughs*
The amount of pastry and bread we churn out every morning is probably enough to feed an army! The smell of all that sweet dough and pastry is really driving me nuts! *in a good way of course*. We bring home most of the baked goods; and I give them away to friends I've made working at the lobby at my apartment complex. They love me now..*giggle* Who wouldn't? I come in everyday at about 3pm with arms full of delicious freshly baked goodies!
So what have we made? Hmmm....
So far; Here's a couple to start you drooling...I'll save some for posts within the week.

Soft and delicious Sweet Dough used for cinnamon rolls and sticky buns!It made the entire lab smell like cinnabon! It was incredible! I love the smell of freshly baked cinnamon scrolls in the oven.

*drool* Su 'hearts' brioche-s! Haha~ I brought home a couple of these little babies and stuck in smears of peanut butter and jelly! How un-French of me... but *sigh* it's so YUM! Nicole kept talking about them with pb+j all day! I had to go home to try it!
We learnt how to mold them into the traditional Brioche a tete~Adorable little fluted breads aren't they?
Rolling the dough and shaping was lots of fun! Ours didn't turn out as nice as James's but I guess they'll be better after more practice. He's probably done at least thousands of these! I can't wait to learn lots from him. He's incredibly talented and wise. It's really amazing for young man like himself to be so well versed and experienced in both pastry and culinary arts. He's currently a Hot new addition to the series of cake decorating competitions on cable TV in the US (FoodNetwork). I've yet to watch an episode myself. *sigh* it's frustrating waiting for the cable guy to repair my TV channels. It's probably going to be next week before I get all my channels working correctly. Anyone seen him on TV yet? Before we went home for the day; Chef James loaded us up with small tasks as homework. We were to do a short paper on the History of Brioche;... Graeme came up with a quick answer to my entire paper; Brioche = France.
Haha~ ...I wish it were so easy.

Pumpkin + Cranberry loaf with a lovely crisp crumb topping!
Chocolate chip Hazelnut loaf

Blueberry muffins
Making all of these in a commercial environment is really quite a challenge. We had to constantly be clean and prepared; quick, ready and alert. At the end of the day; I often felt exhausted from running around and all wrinkly in my palms from all that washing in the sink. It's heaps of fun though; waking up at 6 every morning, looking forward to a full day of working in the kitchen.... it really is like how I dreamt it would be like.
I've got more homework to finish off and i'll be climbing into my sheets soon...Catch ya soon guys!


Lynn a.k.a.Mama G said...

oh so YUMMY!!!! Its like I can smell it all the way in Penang!!!

Anonymous said...

Wow, I just found your site and have been looking at it all night! You are very talented. So how does it feel to be in a new place? I have just moved as well to New York. I love to bake as well, and hope that you will get the hang of a commercial kitchen. Did you ever get to make those candy flowers yet? -Aja'

Anonymous said...

Hello Su! This is Chiara from Italy! Big post today, I enjoy your pics very much...and I think you like James???*evil smile*.
Beautiful recipes...yummy!
Thank you for this post, it's great.

rokh said...

oh gosh you got me drooling badly :P~~~

Anonymous said...

I love your blog i read it all the time! I am SO jealous you are school for pastry and sugar crafting!! How did you get the cinnamon dough in a perfect rectangle? I can never seem to do that. It's always a long blob when i do it.

cakewardrobe said...

What a neat looking cinnamon roll! Nifty!

Anonymous said...

Haha! I have to agree with Chiara, but James is cute though. Take more pics of him. Hehe

Anonymous said...

i feel u when you said "the amount of food that you bring back could feed an army!!" hehe
jealous jealous!! can you stop putting photos of mr. good-looking? hehe How come i never had good looking chefs in lcb *sob*

Anonymous said...

hey suyin . had been 'stalking' ur blog for quite sometimes . nice blog u have . keep it up .

*loving all the super-sinful-choc-ty cakes recipes*

allyhere said...

I am drooling.... all that pastries... You look so cute in your uniform and environment. XOXO!!

Sarah said...


Haven't had them in ages! When we were on holiday in San Francisco, my dad would buy them for breakfast every morning - how fab.

Good luck with school; it looks like you're having a great time and learning a lot!!

xox Sarah

Anonymous said...

Everything looks so nice and professional, Su.

Those sticky buns are so wee. Pardon my use of "wee", I'm not Scottish.

Anonymous said...

Hi Su Yin,

Have you got you cable set up and have chance to watch Ace of Cakes?
Their shop is called Charm City in Baltimore, Maryland. Have a look at their site.

Su-Yin -D├ęcorateur said...

lynn: Haha! wow seriously? I wonder if i can make a blog post that smells :P hehe it'd be real cool if i could.

chilisugar: hey there..thanks for the kind words.. *blush* it feels really nice to be here. I've been making sugar flowers for awhile now..just not professionally; i can't wait for this school to teach me lots more! good luck with settling into your new place :)

chiara: hi again! :) haha NO..its A BIG NO for everyone that is wondering if I like Chef James.. haha I DO NOT! ... haha.. he's my instructor; i respect him and i think he's real nice...and of course I like him..but not that way ; with the whole evil smile and the sort. haha...he's my 'teacher' it's gross... I think he's good looking though; but i don't think it's anything to think twice about :P.
Of course; YOU guys are allowed to 'like' him as much as you want *wink* :P

rokh: *giggle*

angel: Oh wow! nice to hear from you :) haha lots and LOTs of practice before you get it perfectly even on all sides.. its not like fondant which you can re-roll if it gets ruined. Don't give up though; i bet you'll be good in due time :)

cakewardrobe: thanks :)

anonymous: hahahahahaha! THis is funny; i take pictures of him because he is doing a "demo" for our daily recipes! haha..not because I choose to take pictures of him 'specifically" but if it makes you girls happy; i shall take more cute pictures of James for everyone~ hahaha..he's going to feel really awkward :P

swee: I cant WAIT FOr BREAD!! !hahaha...He is good looking isnt he? haha Im happy at least I have something nice to look at though.

jing wen: thanks dear :) haha It's really nice of you; I hope the recipes are working out for ya!

ally: they are YUMMY! :P haha i still feel a little weird in the uniform; it makes me look fat...*LOL*..how vain of me :P *tsktsk*

sarah: they were delicious! I love the smell of them coming out of the oven! it's absolutely magnificent! thanks for the good luck wishes; it's always so nice to hear from you :) Hope you're doing well.

graeme: "wee"...haha.. thats cool~ I wont judge you; :P

linda: I HAVE!! I jsut saw an episode about an hour ago! I love it! haha I cant wait to watch more! I'm in love with the concept of the show! I wonder if i can record every episode..hahaha thanks for the link hey~

Anonymous said...

i love your blog. i love making cakes too and basically feel like we're kind of in similar situations. i'm in college getting a business degree and secretly i want to spend all day every day designing and creating crazy sugar cake projects. i love that you are so happy in culinary school. you're much braver than i am haha. oh and i love your cakes, they've inspired me to try a new style of design. love it! good luck hun!

Anonymous said...

Hi hi, sasa here fr spore!

been missing your blog these past few weeks since school started. but boy am i happy to visit ur blog again! so many goodies and ehm.. that good-looking chef. haha... lucky u...

btw is it possible to post the recipes of the recipes, esp the cinnamon rolls? looks so yummy.. or is it not allowed by the school?

ViNi said...

Oh wow, gluten free carrot cake that taste good? Argh, do give me the recipe. Then again, I still go for the cakes and cookies although I'm allergy to gluten lol! Take care!

Anonymous said...

Hi Su !!
I like reading your blog. Just make me hungry everytime I see your pictures of scrumptious looking food...BTW, I hope one day you are going to post the recipe of cinammon roll. Look so yum...Thanks- Meike