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Making Your Own Silicone Molds


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#1 PastryLady

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Posted 29 August 2003 - 07:12 AM

I have some mold ideas and remember a Notter video where he made his own silicone molds. Just wondering if people knew of any companies that kind of had a how-to guide. I would like to learn to make my own as I was shocked to see that a simple leaf mold at Notter's website goes for about $50. :shock:

Plus, I think we get more interesting items if you can use your own ideas/objects. Thanks!
Debra Diller
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#2 Michael Laiskonis

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Posted 29 August 2003 - 08:16 AM

Albert Uster sells all of the components for both hard and soft silicon molds- they might be the easiest. Next time you are at school, ask chef to to see their catalog, I think there are basic instructions, and actually pictures of Ewald doing them.
Michael Laiskonis
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#3 Steve Klc

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Posted 29 August 2003 - 08:34 AM

I just used fine art and sculpture books which deal generally with silicone mold making and found those helpful in making food-grade silicone molds. You just adapt by using special, expensive food grade materials. But when doing showpiece-only things you can work with non-food grade silicone (much cheaper) and even make molds for some things out of silicone caulk-type stuff from Home Depot.

I haven't seen those Uster instructions but have used jars of the Ewald/Uster material and like it. I did take Ewald's moldmaking class years ago and it was super--he's a very commited instructor and it was the first of its kind. Back then, the other pastry chefs who knew how to do this stuff weren't so openly sharing too much of their info--they were gleaning from others or developing their own tricks and techniques and then using them themselves in competitions. (Side story: This silicone mold-making awareness coincided with a burst of beautiful chocolate sculptures--amazing shiny lifelike sculptures--showing up on the national and international scene--all supposedly "hand-carved" of course. You also started to see some which looked remarkably like (and even the same size as) knock-off modern abstract sculptural works on display in cheesy upscale Euro furniture stores. Judges at the time seemed really concerned about who carved--except they couldn't tell who carved and who molded and didn't seem surprised that pastry chefs all of sudden developed this amazing sculpting ability. Now--6 years later--at least the judges know the only hand carved pieces are the ones you actually see being carved.)

I do think there is a book out on making silicone molds for chocolate and sugar though--by a guy in Chicago who collaborated with Jacquy, Ewald and Keegan and perhaps a few others. I came across it on the web somehow--what I saw online looked great-- but have not physically looked through the book. For all I know the guy is now teaching at FPS. So check there.
Steve Klc

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#4 Wendy DeBord

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Posted 02 September 2003 - 05:06 AM

Yes there's an artist in Chicago that specializes in these molds. He demoed this thru FPS and Uster Co., unforunately I missed it. He has his own school and does a class on making food grade molds. If I recall correctly, the class was about $500.00. I might have a link for him but I'm short on time today. Will look later for you.

#5 Steve Klc

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Posted 02 September 2003 - 03:59 PM

Anyone seen the cover of the new PA&D?
Steve Klc

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#6 PastryLady

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Posted 03 September 2003 - 06:03 AM

Had issues with Pastry Art and Design on delivering my magazine. Ended up starting with Chocolatier, but will be getting PA&D next issue. What was on the cover Steve?
Debra Diller
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#7 Wendy DeBord

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Posted 03 September 2003 - 06:37 AM

I can't tell you what on their covers until about a month or more after it's been released. It angers me that the book stores have them a month before I do-as a subscriber.

#8 mckayinutah

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Posted 03 September 2003 - 07:07 AM

I couldn't agree with you more Sinclair. I actually keep track of when I receive my magazines ( Food Arts, Chef magazine, and PA& D) . I also keep track of when I first see it in a bookstore ( which is somewhat of a second home to me - I go there at least 2 times a week to see if any new issues are out) and I usually get PA&D at least 2 weeks after I see it in the bookstore, which surprised me greatly when I received the last issue ( With Florian on the cover) before I saw it in the bookstore. ( More surpisingly, since Utah has what seems to be the slowest mail I have ever seen). I have not seen or received the newest issue that Steve is speaking of. They sure do seem to make sure I get my renewal notices though ( at least 2 to 3) I am not renewing since I would rather pay $1.00 more per issue every 2 ( or what it seems to be now) or 3 months to have it when I first see it.

P.S. I believe the instructor you are speaking of that teaches how to make molds is Michael Joy. His
website is www.chicagomoldschool.com


Take care,

Mckayinutah
(Jason McCarthy)

#9 nightscotsman

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Posted 03 September 2003 - 07:22 AM

Was May 2003 (with Florian Bellanger) the last issue? I was a bit upset since I thought I had missed the July "10 Best Pastry Chefs" issue and couldn't find a copy anywhere.

#10 kthull

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Posted 03 September 2003 - 07:22 AM

For what it's worth, I was recently contacted by Michael Joy. He has recently published a 380 page instructional manual (with 1350 photographs) about silicone mold making for pastry chefs. The book was just released in Las Vegas at the World Pastry Forum. The book is titled, Confectionery Art Casting, Silicone Mold Making for Pastry Chefs.

It can be purchased online at
http://www.claroarts...m/book/book.htm

#11 mckayinutah

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Posted 03 September 2003 - 07:29 AM

Nightscotsman,

Hopefully you didn't go on their website (www.pastryartanddesign.com) and see their ad for their most recent issue, because that is the 2002 July edition! They are REALLY behind on their website. I went to 3 local bookstores yesterday and they all still have the Florian edition on the newsstands, so I believe the newest issue is not out yet ( at least not where I am)



McKay

#12 Steve Klc

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Posted 03 September 2003 - 08:47 AM

The newest issue has a really nice picture (taken by the talented John Uher) of Michael Joy on the cover of September 2003.

It used to be PAD was very cryptic about its issues and dates--using obtuse things like Vol. 3 Issue 4 or Fall 1997 instead of an actual month and year. I always thought it was so old issues left on the newstand would still sell--people wouldn't know they were 2 or 4 months old.
Steve Klc

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chef@pastryarts.com

#13 duckduck

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Posted 03 September 2003 - 07:32 PM

Haven't been able to track down a Pastry Art and Design lately. Barnes and Noble is usually the only place I can find it and I haven't seen it there. And yes, their website is obviously neglected. It's strange how some people don't apparently see the value in keeping up a website.
As for the molds, do a search on silicone plastique or go to www.culinart.net. When I ordered from them, they sent a booklet on how to do molds with their product and they have some basic how to pictures on the website if you click at the bottom on silicone plastique. I know someone that keeps some in her purse and if something catches her eye and she likes the shape, she'll just stop and make a mold of it on the spot. She uses it for art purposes rather than culinary purposes. I would think Suze Weinberg would have some interesting ideas on her website for molds. Although I'm not sure, I believe the stuff she sells is the same albeit much more expensive. As rubber stampers, we use it to mold melted embossing powder or clay.
Pamela Wilkinson
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#14 PastryLady

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Posted 05 September 2003 - 08:10 AM

For what it's worth, I was recently contacted by Michael Joy. He has recently published a 380 page instructional manual (with 1350 photographs) about silicone mold making for pastry chefs. The book was just released in Las Vegas at the World Pastry Forum. The book is titled, Confectionery Art Casting, Silicone Mold Making for Pastry Chefs.

It can be purchased online at
http://www.claroarts...m/book/book.htm



Kevin, this looks awesome! Thanks for posting this for me (and others)!!!!!!!!! I wasn't able to go to the show this year, but it is definately on my need list for next year. A friend of mine went and got to speak to Torres briefly about his work and the show. :laugh: she has a picture to prove it :laugh: :laugh:

She cracks me up. I love that mold with the woman in the arch pose.

As for the molds, do a search on silicone plastique or go to www.culinart.net. When I ordered from them, they sent a booklet on how to do molds with their product and they have some basic how to pictures on the website if you click at the bottom on silicone plastique. I know someone that keeps some in her purse and if something catches her eye and she likes the shape, she'll just stop and make a mold of it on the spot.


:laugh: Hopefully they don't think she is shoplifting all the time. Unfortunately, it sounds like copyright problems too.
Debra Diller
"Sweet dreams are made of this" - Eurithmics

#15 fimolds

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Posted 07 September 2003 - 08:10 PM

Hi:

If you don't want to go to the trouble and expense of making your own molds, our company, First Impressions Molds, has an inventory of over 500 food safe silicone plastique molds.

We do custom molds, and have quantity discounts upon request. All of our molds are handcrafted, and have a quality guarantee.

We are VERY reasonably priced, and will be adding another 100 molds during the next month. You will be amazed.

First Impressions Molds

#16 Wendy DeBord

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Posted 10 September 2003 - 08:28 PM

I got my issue of PA & D..............something bothers me-so I'm wondering if it crossed anyone elses mind-

The article shows sugar pieces from Sebastien Canonne's MOF entry. They are brilliant sugar pieces, but I'm bothered by his use of molds.

Granted I don't have a clue about rules etc...for these types of competitions and I'm certain Mr. Canonne is a briliant pastry chef able to create with-out use of molds wonderful work, but I feel that the use of molds I saw was far too liberal of an application. Yes, if everyone is free to use molds that levels the playground- but I believe that makes pc's more technications then artists. The guy with the best toys wins.

Tell me I'm wrong please?

#17 Michael Laiskonis

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Posted 10 September 2003 - 09:46 PM

...The guy with the best toys wins.

Tell me I'm wrong please?

In the real world, outside of competition, of course, this is true. At least, often to the percption of others. For better or for worse...
Michael Laiskonis
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#18 Steve Klc

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Posted 11 September 2003 - 06:22 AM

Wendy--you're right about the molds, and it comes down to the rules of each particular competition. Where molds are allowed--say in the World Cup--you will then be judged against others and their use of molds--inventive, elaborate, intricate, etc. It's a level playing field and competitors push that as an edge because they can. If they don't, they will probably lose out to someone who uses molds more effectively and artistically.

You're also right in that you can't just look at something like this out of context--for instance, in the Beaver Creek/Vegas Pastry Championships the rules specifically disallow molds like this. That's the Jacques Torres influence. As a competitor you cannot bring in an organic mold which either you made or you had made for you--say of a face or statue or sculpture. In this event you can use regular old geometric shaped molds--balls, squares, etc--but you cannot use molds with unique forms, like a face. Unless you actually make the mold during the competition--and that means you have to carve the shape you want to mold yourself. It's so time consuming most people don't even try. That put's the artistry back on the competitor--what you see is more of a true gauge of someone's artistic skills done live in front of an audience. In the World Cup what you see is the skill of whoever made the mold and then the basic skill of molding something off, which is not so skillful.

This is also nothing new or unique to pastry--the best-backed best-financed best-equipped teams--be they pastry chefs or bobsledders or car racers--are more likely to innovate and win.

And it is important to keep in mind that taste is always a key component to these things--usually more-so than the showpiece element. And that has nothing to do with molds.
Steve Klc

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#19 Wendy DeBord

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Posted 11 September 2003 - 10:10 PM

Well then, I'm very glad for Chef Torres influence. I'd like to see it expanded.

Unforunately as a viewer I can't taste. One day I'd like to see their recipes written and submitted. And if that wasn't crazy- I also wish they'd announce the theme no more then 12 hours before the competition....or maybe not until the time clock begins.

I'm not sure I have the verbal skills to express this thought but....I'll give it a try....I think that knowing a theme in advance dulls the creative process. The only way I can describe it is: knowing in advance creates great technical art because you can prepare for that. But great art is when technical skills meet expression.

One time I attempted to ask about show piece design with J. Pfeiffer. I asked him about the styling of show pieces and why there isn't more variety of design and why is the work always representational/realistic. He looked at me like I was crazy (which I suppose I am for asking such a question). His brief answer was that they look for height (yes) and difficulty in regard to lightness of design.

But coming from an art background I have to say none of that really makes sense to me....and of course his reply was only scratching the surface due to what a complicated question that is to answer.

BUT seriously I'm glad that Spain rocked the boat with their design (was that this year, I forget) was it a slap? Was it a statement with no regard to judging as if to say who are you to judge my art? What is art? Do the competitors see that and questions what their doing?

P.S. I'm not being sarcastic, I'm really curious and don't quite honestly understand why every piece is a surpentine design with "stuff" attached to it.

#20 Michael Joy

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Posted 14 September 2003 - 07:12 PM

Hello group,

A member from egullet alerted me to the topic of mold making on this forum. I did a little post reading and was intriqued to hear what was being said about mold making. Very interesting. I especially liked what was said about last years sculpture from spain... I thought it was terrific...but I can also see why it got canned.

My reason for joining the group is to provide members with technical information about mold making. If there are people out there who are interested but do not know where to start...or those who are already molding but want to raise the bar... I would be interested in hearing from you.

Michael Joy
chicagomoldschool.com

#21 Wendy DeBord

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Posted 15 September 2003 - 07:52 AM

Oh my GOD are you kidding.........I'm thrilled your visiting!!!

I'm an absolute beginner having never made a silicone mold before. Although I have seen "kits" you can purchase where you mix the two parts together and press your item into it. I have many really basic questions, I hope you don't mind me asking?

1. Can I use a silicone mold for either hot sugar or chocolate?
2. Isomalt is hotter then regular sugar when melted, does it require a mold of different materials?
3. Price- can you reccomend a place to purchase the ingredients for molds that's more affordable then what's sold thru food sources?


What are your feeling about using molds in competitions (art or food competitions)? You must have some mixed thoughts being a teacher of the medium and an artist who'd rather not see someone win an artisitic competition based on work they couldn't produce on their own.

Thank-you

#22 Michael Laiskonis

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Posted 15 September 2003 - 11:39 AM

Welcome, Michael.

When I first heard of your collaboration with savvy pastry chef Jacquy Pfeiffer, I was excited by the prospect, as it opens doors to other possibilities for 'cross-pollination' between pastry and other arts. I look forward to your thoughts and answers to our questions...
Michael Laiskonis
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#23 Michael Joy

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Posted 15 September 2003 - 06:34 PM

Hello Sinclair,

***I think you have summarized the three most frequently asked questions. I will cut and paste into them.

>I'm an absolute beginner having never made a silicone mold before. Although I have seen "kits" you can purchase where you mix the two parts together and press your item into it. I have many really basic questions, I hope you don't mind me asking?

***First off…the silicone should be poured over your model.. Pressing into silicone will trap air bubbles. With that said…if you have never made a mold before, I always recommend learning with non food grade silicone. It is far less expensive and mistakes that you make will not bite your bank account. (In my book, I use a non food grade silicone called MoldMax 30.. It is available from a company called Smooth-On.com. They are a very large company and have an outstanding website….have a look and see where the mold making industry really is. There are dozens of companies like them.) The non food grade silicone is also good for practice casting. Many people think that casting with a mold is as simple as filling it up and popping it out…Unfortunately it is not always that easy. Once you have a handle on working with silicone and preparing your model… move onto the food grade silicones. The proper selection of silicone varies with what you want to cast and the shape of the object that is to be molded. For example… a highly detailed chocolate piece will need to molded with very soft silicone. Sounds easy enough… but lets say you want to use the same mold for sugar… it will work, but the soft silicones do not hold up to heat very long and will tear easily over a short time.

1. Can I use a silicone mold for either hot sugar or chocolate?
***Yes… but read on.
2. Isomalt is hotter then regular sugar when melted, does it require a mold of different materials?
*** Does not require a different silicone. However, here is the secret to casting Isomalt clear and with minimal bubbles. There are two families of silicones… one is called a TIN cured system and the other is called a PLATINUM cured system. Tin silicones are less expensive, but do not handle as high of temperatures… and the molds usually last 3-5 years max.

Tin silicones give off water and alcohol when they cure….The water and alcohol will cause the isomalt/sugar to bubble a lot. If you want to use silicone for casting isomalt or for baking…only use a platinum based silicone. Platinum’s can handle a very high temperature and will last a long time…. (The sacrifice is that they are not made to be very soft…This means… that if you pour chocolate into a “semi flexible” platinum mold… the casting will probably crack when you try to remove it from the mold.) For casting isomalt… boil it to about 165C and then let it cool to 105C before pouring into your mold. If you are casting solid…it will take a long time to cool. If you pour the isomalt too hot, the silicone will insulate the heat, and it will continue to cook and bubble…. The cooler you can pour the isomalt, the clearer your casting will be.


3. Price- can you recommend a place to purchase the ingredients for molds that's more affordable then what's sold thru food sources?
***Of course.
A. Smooth-on.com for non food grade silicone… for practicing… the silicone is about $12 per pound in gallon quantities.
B. Chefrubber.com. They are a new company specifically catering to the mold making chef… they have several food grade silicones available. They are packaged in convenient sizes and are about half the price you are used to seeing.
C. Dow corning. This is a specific link to their Platinum based, food grade silicones… it is a tough page to find on the internet… http://www.dowcornin...ood/default.asp
Dow is a huge company and can be tricky to work with because of all of the distribution networks… they are used to people buying in bulk. Call several distributors before making a purchase because you will see that the same material may hold a different price in different areas. (Avoid the silastic L.)

What are your feeling about using molds in competitions (art or food competitions)? You must have some mixed thoughts being a teacher of the medium and an artist who'd rather not see someone win an artisitic competition based on work they couldn't produce on their own.
*** I have many thoughts on this.. But have already written enough… I will add more this week.

Happy molding.
Michael

ps. Thank you for the welcome Michael L. I'm interested to see what is stirred up...!

#24 Wendy DeBord

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Posted 16 September 2003 - 09:16 PM

What are your feeling about using molds in competitions (art or food competitions)? You must have some mixed thoughts being a teacher of the medium and an artist who'd rather not see someone win an artisitic competition based on work they couldn't produce on their own.
*** I have many thoughts on this.. But have already written enough… I will add more this week.

I hope the lack of posts on this thread won't detour you from posting your thoughts. I'm very interested in your opinions!

Is a mold like a recipe- something that varies depending upon the person using it? Doesn't it make a bigger difference if it's in the hands of someone highly competent?

Thank-you for your links, I found them very helpful! Your book is definately on my list of MUST BUY books!

#25 Michael Joy

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Posted 17 September 2003 - 06:47 PM

Hello group,

To add to my thoughts regarding the last post and my opinions about the use of molds in competitions….

I should say that I am glad that each competition has its own set of rules. My experience with competitions is that it is a group effort from the beginning. Each chef or team has one or more additional chefs (who have a lot of competition experience) that serve as their coach or advisors. Some competitions are designed to be held at a fixed location within a fixed amount of time… while others are the type where a chef brings in everything already completed and the judges evaluate the work even though it has been made before the competition with help from who knows who.

My role has varied in different competitions. I have had people ask me if I have any molds of a certain shape that they can rent just for use in their display… and I have had teams ask me to model a small shape and then mold it for them. Competitions can involve several other non chef people… take for example the use of transfer sheets (they didn’t make those) or laser cut out stencils (didn‘t make those)…or CNC milled patterns of shapes (didn‘t make those)… Or find someone like me to mold an object. I think the more confusing matter is the definition of a mold. Some competitions allow the use of a textured mat…but not a mold… yet a mold of a geometric shape is allowed. Geometric shape??…. Is that because they think that is within the reach of anyone or because it is not a sculpted form? Or is it because a bowl or a box is a geometric shape…and everyone has those in their kitchens.?? I just don’t know.

Most of the competing teams that I have worked with are interested in seeing the medium move forward, using whatever new methods that they can think of. There is great value placed on those teams who can develop and introduce a new process or technique….i.e. stump the judges and you score. This level of competition is often one where the chefs are already well versed in a wide variety of skills, flavor etc. The mold work that I do is usually just one small component of the entire presentation… the mold work will not win it for the team. It is more important how the chef used the mold making technology to enhance his work.

The area that it gets touchy is … at what point does the piece become more about the mold making than the pastry work. I think that because mold making is relatively new to the field… the use of molds must have some outside influence to help chefs better understand what the medium offers.


In the art world… photography was not considered art for a very long time. Painters hated cameras. At first it was a mechanical magic available to those who could build their own cameras…now cameras are available and people realize that it is what you do with it… your vision, your compositional skills… Not just that you can take a picture. I think that over time mold making will make its way into the fundamental curriculum of many culinary schools…It will probably be just another thing that chefs are exposed to…and become part of their vocabulary.

At the US Team championships this year I was surprised to see many things in the kitchens that had been made by outside contractors… I met a rep from a water jet (high pressure cutting technology) company who was there because he cut out some forms for one of the teams… other kitchens had wooden forms that had been made in a wood shop. I did not hold it against the team because they needed a wood shop to help fulfill their creative vision. I can hardly expect a chef to be expert with a table saw. In that respect I think that chefs have enough to learn beyond the traditional culinary skills… now they need to carve, handle an airbrush, have great drawing skills etc etc.

I understand why the use of mold making in competitions chafes some people… People want to feel that a winner has won on their own merits. I agree with this… but I wonder if using another person’s recipe causes the same chafe as does using another persons mold?

#26 Michael Joy

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Posted 17 September 2003 - 07:18 PM

Hello again,

Sinclair: “Is a mold like a recipe- something that varies depending upon the person using it? Doesn't it make a bigger difference if it's in the hands of someone highly competent?”

**Hmm…I don‘t know that a mold is like a recipe… but perhaps the craft itself is like one. A huge amount (technically) depends on the person using the silicone when making the mold in the same way that putting a finished mold in the hands of an experienced chef will probably lead to more interesting and successful castings. There is a big difference between making a mold and casting (filling) the mold. There is a lot to know about casting molds…and that is where the skill and creative thinking of the chef comes strongly into play. Give the same 10 molds to 10 different people and tell them to make something interesting.. .and you will get 10 different finished castings.

Thanks for your questions. I am hopeful that more people will jump in and share their thoughts.

#27 Wendy DeBord

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Posted 17 September 2003 - 08:35 PM

I realize I probably haven't spent enough serious time thinking about my response tonight, but then I'm known for speaking and writing with my heart and not my mind.

I'm a former artist...or I should write a former 2D artist vs what I do now which is more then being a 3D artist because it involves taste and smell. As a 2D artist I attended art school (in Chi town, too) at The American Academy of Art. (I mention that because I know your familar with others that attended there (in your posted links I came across links to the Palate and Chisel where several former classmates of mine now teach)). The Academy was really entrenched in realism (I'm not sure if that's changed) when I attended......and just like every student there I learned how to do representational work since that's what we were graded upon more then artistic merit or thought. When I entered the world away from school I quickly learned there was alot more to art then copying what I could see. And there was alot more to art behind the scenes then I ever could have believed. From what I gather, culinary competitions are very similar in politics, etc...

I suppose I'm reading too much into it, but I see the level of artistic skill in pastry competitions as being just as narrow minded as my education was at the Academy. Like you mentioned, everyone is looking for the magic technique no one else has discovered that I think the 'art' in the competitions has been neglected....and that others are confused by the ability to copy realism in the edible medium as art.

Hense forth my delight in Spains centerpieces! Not having any background on their intentions I do HOPE that I haven't misread their stance. I see their move to go with the work they did, as shattering (or I hope it will be) the illusions. I fear that it got more laughs instead of any serious thoughts on the subject. But I know in a few peoples minds- the wheels are turning ....I can't wait to see what happens.

Personally, back to what I tried to explain earilier I think that the level of art in culinary competitions is still in the baroque era. Where as the culinary aspects of these food competitions are closer to todays modern art. These pastry chefs are challenging everything, read Michael L.'s post on his upcoming event at Trio, he's taking culinary into another realm.

Yes, I'm glad that there are people like you teaching chefs....but I'm worried about it too. It takes away my advantage of being able to create my own molds with art skills unique to me as a person and shares them with people who can't make the mold, they only fill it. PA & D had a photo of S. Canniones' (hope I spelled that correct) sugar piece for his MOF competition (which they mention you). Tell me how he's doing more then filling the mold? If I was Edwald Notter, I'd be chafed.

Pastry Chefs sharing recipes is different. The same recipe in two peoples hands turns out different results, because there's a chemical element to it. The same mold in two peoples hands turns out different results too-but can todays culinary judges see the differences? I know they can taste the difference but I don't think they see it, yet.

#28 nightscotsman

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Posted 17 September 2003 - 09:38 PM

I'm really enjoying this thread and the current discussions on both mold making and it's use in pastry competitions. I especially would like to welcome Michael Joy to our little group and hope that he will continue to both enjoy the site and share his expertise with us.

To add my own 1.5 cents, I would just like to point out that, while there is artistry involved in the creation of showpieces for competition, these are not museum or gallery art shows where personal expression is paramount. They are more similar to an event like figure skating where creativity and artistic presentation are important and a major part of the judges' scores, but technical perfection and level of difficulty are at least - or even more - important. So while looking to the art world for inspiration is a good thing, these events are much more about craftsmanship and skill. Which is why the Spanish showpieces received such low scores, because while perhaps artistically interesting, they really didn't look very challenging technically and even seemed to ignore the event theme completely.

#29 Wendy DeBord

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Posted 17 September 2003 - 10:10 PM

Yes, I don't seem to understand that nightscotsman (seriously). Aren't they supposed to be showpieces like we would use as a centerpiece to our sweet tables?...an attraction?

Otherwise why have a theme?

Technical perfection can only be judged if everyone is reproducing the same thing, no?

And judging the level of difficulty only screams to me that molds shouldn't be used at all, unless it's made during the alloted time by the chefs on the team with-out outside interference or imput.

How about level of difficulty with the pastrys? How come their judged on a more intellectual level then "difficulty"?

So I'm just confused.

As to scoring the Spanish, I'd elminate them for not keeping within the rules, they didn't execute the theme. The way the judging is going it's narrowed down technically challenging to tall and fragile. I just don't see technically challenging as synonymous with fragile....ah the thrill, if the piece will make it to the judging platform/table. Craftmanship and skill require real world applications and the ability to move an object without breaking it....otherwise your creating a museum show piece and limit creativity, no?

#30 nightscotsman

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Posted 18 September 2003 - 07:16 AM

I refer back to the figure skating analogy - the programs developed for Olympic competition are very different from professional non-competition events. They are not "real-world" pieces meant to be reproduced night after night for a paying audience. They are prepared for a few very specific events that are judged on very well understood criteria. Yes, there are some required elements, but mostly it is up to the contestants to decide how difficult they want to make the piece. The more difficult - jumps and such in skating vs. height, fragility (or seeming fragility) and range of techniques in pastry - the higher the possible points they can score. That is IF they execute perfectly. If not, then a piece with lower difficulty, but no mistakes, could win. And no, just like figure skating, judging technical perfection doesn't depend on everyone performing or producing the same piece, though it does open the door to some subjective scores. The judges are experts in the field and know what to look for even though the performances or pieces may be completely different. And like I said, artistic presentation is still important, just not the primary criteria for judging.

The downside to the competition setup in both skating and pastry is that there is a very small pool of qualified and respected people to choose from for the judges' table, so you tend to see the same style of work being rewarded while stuff that is too "new" is underscored. Both worlds are extremely conservative at that level. If you don't happen to like the dominating style, then you may very well see competing as a fairly pointless and dated exersize. Others may see it as exciting and envelope-pushing.

I personally don't have a problem with molds used in competition. The judges are aware of what is molded and what is not, and I think would take that into consideration when awarding scores. This would tend to discourage the overuse of molds since it lowers the potential high score for the piece.

The pastries themselves are judged primarily on taste, as they should be. They are an entirely different animal than the showpieces and simply don't have the same potential to display difficulty or structure.