January 26, 2008

StepHane TreAnd!.... *Fan-girl Eyes*

Butterflies were fluttering all morning as I anticipated the afternoon. I had flour and dough in between my fingers...but "airbrush" was the only thing on my mind. AIRBRUSHing! Yay!!! I was too excited! I've never used an airbrush before and today was going to be the day I get my sticky little fingers one of these pretty babies.
I signed up for an airbrushing course with world renown Chef Stéphane Tréand about a month ago; and have been waiting patiently for this day to arrive. I was too excited! I knew it was going to mean long hours and 3 long days of no rest after breakfast pastries every morning; but I didn't care! I wouldn't miss the chance to learn from such an excellent artist! He is hands down the best in his expertize on airbrushing, pastilage and sugar moulding. I did a short research paper on him as a topic for one of my assignments for the NotterSchool; I guess it would be appropriate for me to include that here for those who have not acquainted themselves to his name.

Stéphane Tréand serves as executive pastry chef of the St. Regis Resort at Monarch Beach, Calif. He has worked internationally as an instructor and consultant. Chef Treand is known for not only the exquisite taste of his specialties, but also for beautiful, artistic presentation. He has spent the last 10 of his 25-year-career teaching around the world, specializing in airbrush techniques and chocolate and sugar showpieces. In 2004, he received the top honor in the pastry industry in France, in the form of a Meilleur Ouvrier de France award.

Born in Paris; Chef Treand began learning pastry in the C.F.A of Vincennes, France. From 1994 to 2004, he was a pastry instructor in countries including France, the United states and Japan. He also became an international consultant and judge all across the globe offering his services in pastry competitions and performing culinary demonstrations.

He has won countless other awards, including most recently the gold metal for team competition at the 2007 National Pastry Championship in Nashville, the second prize in the 2002 World Pastry Championship with the French team and in July 2005 he won the Food Network’s “Sugar Showpiece Challenge” that took place in Phoenix, Ariz. Innovative techniques have set Chef Tréand apart from his competitors time and time again. He is also the owner of the TREAND Pastry-Shop in Brignoles, France for the past 12 years (1989-2001)

As the clock struck 1.. my strides began to pick up from the excitement and eventually I was prancing around in hops and skips! It was so hard to control myself! Chef James and Chef Mary were amused.
The class was scheduled to begin at 3pm..and by 2..most of the students had arrived and were waiting patiently in the hallway. I took a glance through my classroom windows and my heart skipped a beat. Every person outside dawned a pressed and flawless chef's uniform with an eye catching symbolic logo of a reknown establishment on their left chest. They mingled amongst each other with such professionalism and flair. It made me extremely nervous! Was I going to be only one who have never used an airbrush before?! My mind began to wonder as I worried and dreaded the thought of being behind in class... suddenly; at the corner of my sight; I spotted Chef Ewald in deep discussion with someone. I took a closer look and wahh~ it was Chef Treand! He walked into the classroom and humbly greeted us students with a warm smile.
I mind began to play happy tunes for the next 30 minutes as I helped the chefs set up stations and clean up before class began. I felt a little silly being all star struck. *laughs*
I sat myself next to two sweet looking Korean lady chefs and eventually became comfortable with everyone around me being incredibly talented and experienced. We watched demonstrations from Chef Treand and eventually were given pieces of paper to start practicing our airbrush techniques. Surprisingly; I wasn't as bad as I thought I would be! It is a real difficult tool to use though. Imagine needing to draw with a pen but not being able to touch the paper with your tip. It is almost like drawing pictures in the air with your arms suspended and supported by only your shoulders. It took lots of practice and steady strokes before I began to actually "draw" anything.

Chef Treand blew us all away with his skillful hands and artistic work on pastilage and colours. He first carved 2D sugar shapes from pastilage with a blade and allowed them to dry. He then airbrushed them to bring these white palates to life! He also covered a couple of mask molds and carved out the cavities to create beautiful centerpieces ready for colour and shades.
Here were the many fantastic pieces he has made throughout the 3 days.

I came up with a couple of small pieces of carved pastilage on my own and began colouring them in after I became confident enough with my airbrush. It took awhile for me to get acquainted to the strokes; but I'm lucky I didn't waste any pieces! I made smaller sized sculptures so I could bring them home with me.On the last evening of class; the class participants were given a chance to create their own personal masterpieces with melted and coloured isomalt.

Isomalt is a type of sugar substance used for molding centerpieces and sugarcrafting. Silicone molds were used and many creative ideas were shared. At the end of the night; we eventually came up with a table long display of skillfully done sugar display pieces. I didn't exactly worry too much about the sugar..as I wanted to learn about airbrushing more than anything else. My pieces weren't as big or impressive as the rest; but I had pretty good airbrushing techniques by the end of the class; and it was all that really mattered to me.
We had the opportunity to go around in "oOos and Ahhs" at everyone elses masterpieces. They were all incredible..My jaw dropped many MANY times that night!
It was a great opportunity for me to meet professionals in the pastry fields coming from all around the US and even a master chocolatier all the way from Britian. They were all humble and extremely helpful with helping me get acquainted with isomalt and pastilage techniques. I got burnt MANY many times throughout the 3 days. *laughs* and let me tell you; a hot sugar burn is no ordinary burn.. it is almost like a glue gun burn x30! Its hard not to laugh at myself though. After all; it is my first time. The adults were very amused by my enthusiasm and very quickly warmed up to my quirky-ness. Being 22 does entitle me to a 1/2 child personality! *wink*
You can almost spot my work from a mile away. My piece stuck out like a sore thumb! *laughs* I had cupcakes and cute cartoons all over it! Haha *shrug* Chef James thinks I have an individual style ;). That's good enough for me.. to be different instead of trying to do something which does not reflect my personal touch.
I learnt lots beyond just airbrushing and sugar work. It was an incredible opportunity to meet these talented individuals who still yearn to constantly be enlightened by others. This is one of the many reasons why I love the NotterSchool.


Anonymous said...

OMG! they were the coolest thing I have ever seen. Unreal! I can feel the excitement as I read what you wrote. Keep posting =)

Anonymous said...

W O W!!!
I love reading your post! I can feel your enthusiasm here! ^ ^

Anonymous said...

That's amazing! You are really talented. I just wanted to say I absolutely love reading your blog, and also I have no idea how you stay so slim with all the gorgeous things you cook!

SIG said...

That is one incredible lesson. So fantastic all the works are.

Drifting Cloud said...

WOW... so beautiful... All of them are so pretty... Yours is cute... I like the cartoon of yours.. hehehe...
Guess one needs to be artistic to be able to come out with it... Don't think I would be able to do so...

ENVY you so much ...

PeachyMango said...

Gosh these are amazing!! Now that you're in the US, u should check out ace of cakes on the food network.i've seen them do really nice airbrushing on cakes too.

Anonymous said...

Hi Su

I have been following your blog since 2007. It is so great to be able to share your journey to be a great chef:) And yes, this is indeed an amazing lesson:)


Alejandra Ramos said...

What an incredible post! I once tried to make croissants rather unsuccessfully. I was very impatient though and not good about taking all the right steps. I think I'll try it again some day soon. Those pictures from your classes are gorgeous. Thanks for sharing!

Su-Yin -Décorateur said...

linda: aren't they awesome!lol I'm addicted to airbrushing! I'm going to get a set myself!

yoolee: *JUmps around* I'm enthusiastic ALL the time! haha it's scary!

emily: thanks for that; and NO..I Am NOT SLIM! hahaha... I am fit; I exercise..but SLIM i am not! haha.. it's alright though; I'm happy~ I love the way I am, and I believe in 'moderation' for everything we do/eat.

singairishgirl: I was in awe of everyone in the class; it truly was an experience of a lifetime! I had LOTS of fun

drifting cloud: hehe thanks.. I was the only 'kiddy' looking piece there. It was quiet intimidating; but I guess I do have a different personal style.

peachymando: I have! it's cool the stuff they do. I can't wait to airbrush cakes myself!

jayna: wow.. i can't believe you've stayed with my journey for so long! I still remember the 'crap' i used to churn out from my kitchen! hahaha it's real different now. My photography and my cooking and even my cakes! It's improved beyond anything I could imagine. THanks for being here with me :)

alejandra: You're welcome :) Croissants really do take lots of patience and it's difficult to make them when you're in a hurry. I hope it turns out well for ya next time!

bryant said...

Wow!! I have been reading your blog for about a year now (I stumbled upon it by accident); I am just amazed at your progress. You truly have a passion for it. Kudos to you! You deserve to be in that school. :)

Restiani Tan said...

OMG.. this is so awesome
all in ur blog r so amazing, the idea the recipe all of'em make me always back to ur blog :D