Bakery Week

Our delicious apricot passion fruit jam, lined up and ready to go home with our lucky guests.

Our delicious apricot passion fruit jam, lined up and ready to go home with our lucky guests.

The second-to-last week of my pastry school program could really have been considered a final exam. After finalizing the list of items for our big Bakery Day the week before, and deciding who was responsible for each item on the list for that Friday’s big day, we walked in on Monday morning pretty much ready to go. A few people had items that could be knocked out right away, while other people (like me) needed to do a little R&D to finalize flavors, quantity and/or presentation. Let the fun begin!

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Walk Like a Tourist

Strawberry pavlova. This is was such a hit that we made it a last-minute addition to our Bakery Day menu.

Strawberry pavlova. This is was such a hit that we made it a last-minute addition to our Bakery Day menu.

As I sit to write this on a Sunday evening, there’s only one week of classroom instruction left for pastry school. Where has the time gone? It’s so hard to believe. Looking back on the last week or so of school, it’s nice to reflect on what we’ve done and I’m sure it’ll help me savor the final five days that await me.

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Desserts I Could Make But Not Eat

Guest chef Pichet Ong works on a dessert and instructs on his design principles.

Guest chef Pichet Ong works on a dessert and instructs on his design principles.

I knew coming into Plated Desserts week at school that I was going to be a little frustrated. It really didn’t matter which theme was going to take place during Passover (although some would have been harder than others to deal with), but it would not be as much fun to be at school and not be able to eat most of what we made. As someone who tries to observe Passover rules very strictly that means no wheat, no grains, no corn, no soy (which rules out nearly all the chocolate at school, due to the emulsifier soy lecithin), no legumes, no canola oil and a few other nitpicky items (like cumin).

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Passover in Vegas

The Strip on Friday night.

The Strip on Friday night.

Everyone gave me a funny look when I said that I’d be celebrating the start of Passover in Las Vegas. Who does that? It’s certainly not a family tradition. For the past few years, I hosted a seder at my house on the first night and went to our close family friends on the second night. I originally thought I’d fly to LA for this year, but then some cousins had a different plan. To commemorate the 60th wedding anniversary of one of my mom’s first cousins, that whole side of the family was invited to Vegas. The anniversary coincided with the first night of Passover, so it worked out perfectly! (In fact, this was the second time in recent history. November, 2013 not only featured Thanksgivukkah, but also a bar mitzvah, so we celebrated all three on one weekend!)

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Healdsburg Heaven and Beyond

The Frankaroni at 4505: hot dog-studded mac and cheese that's been breaded and fried. I don't have to tell you that it was delicious.

The Frankaroni at 4505: hot dog-studded mac and cheese that’s been breaded and fried. I don’t have to tell you that it was delicious.

It’s been about ten days since I walked out of school on a Friday afternoon, with a bakery box full of croissants and other bread treats for my friend Matt and his family, although it feels like weeks ago now. I was excited to have an opportunity to get out of the city and head into Sonoma, meet Matt’s wife and kids, and have a relaxing weekend. The only issue with my trip came right at the beginning – the massive traffic that made my drive last about two-and-a-half hours. But by getting that out of the way, I could enjoy the rest of the time!

A gorgeous sunset over the vineyards.

A gorgeous sunset over the vineyards.

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