Jump to content


Welcome to the eG Forums!

These forums are a service of the Society for Culinary Arts & Letters, a 501c3 nonprofit organization dedicated to advancement of the culinary arts. Anyone can read the forums, however if you would like to participate in active discussions please join the society.

Photo

Pictures from Pastry School


  • Please log in to reply
104 replies to this topic

#1 nightscotsman

nightscotsman
  • participating member
  • 3,068 posts
  • Location:Las Vegas

Posted 23 January 2004 - 05:01 PM

As some of you may know, I graduated last month from the 6-month program at The French Pastry School in Chicago. I took photos of all of my work (well, most - wish I had more shots of my chocolate stuff) as I went along, and I've finally gotten around to posting them on-line. Check it out here:

Neil's Adventures in Pastry School

In case you're wondering - none of the recipes we used in class were from published sources. We worked from two large notebooks developed by the instructors and updated after every session. The only other textbooks we used were the "French Professional Pastry Series" (which we used for reference only) and "On Food and Cooking" by McGee.

Bon Appetit!

#2 mklynch

mklynch
  • participating member
  • 178 posts

Posted 23 January 2004 - 05:12 PM

Very Beautiful!

Now, move to Portland. OR and get a job here so I can enjoy your work in person!

#3 Ladybug

Ladybug
  • participating member
  • 306 posts

Posted 23 January 2004 - 05:15 PM

Wow. Now I want something sweet and the sad, sorry thing is that there is no way it's going to be as good as what nightscotsman makes.

#4 Carolyn Tillie

Carolyn Tillie
  • participating member
  • 4,642 posts
  • Location:San Francisco and Napa

Posted 23 January 2004 - 05:17 PM

Wow! Breakfast in Reims was a personal favorite of mine...

What's next for you?

#5 maggiethecat

maggiethecat
  • eGullet Society staff emeritus
  • 6,053 posts
  • Location:Chicago Burbs -- West

Posted 23 January 2004 - 05:23 PM

We Heartland eGulls know that as sure as the sun comes up on the east , Neil is going to be very, very famous. We knew him when!

We will also swear on a book of your choice that not only were Neil's masterpieces knock-out gorgeous, but that they taste even better than they look---pure, exploding richness and flavor.

About that final exam: How long was a period? God Lord, that was a heck of a final to complete in three periods. (And your final mark was how close to a perfect score?)

Margaret McArthur

"Take it easy, but take it."
Studs Terkel

1912-2008

A sensational tennis blog from freakyfrites

margaretmcarthur.com


#6 MGLloyd

MGLloyd
  • participating member
  • 630 posts
  • Location:Mill Creek, Washington USA

Posted 23 January 2004 - 05:36 PM

Very impressive. Now come on back to Vashon and set up something next to the Thriftway. Everyone on the island goes to Thriftway.

Regards,

Michael Lloyd
Mill Creek, Washington USA

#7 nightscotsman

nightscotsman
  • participating member
  • 3,068 posts
  • Location:Las Vegas

Posted 23 January 2004 - 05:48 PM

Each class period was about 5-1/2 hours not counting clean-up (we had to wash all of our own dishes and clean the whole kitchen every day). I got a 92.8 out of 100 on the final, but I think all the students agreed that the first test on breads, breakfast pastries, and petits fours was actually the hardest. We had only two class periods to take the written exam then make and turn in:

- 1 brioche loaf
- 6 small streusel brioches
- 6 croissants
- 2 lemon pound cakes
- 12 madeleines
- 9 coffee eclairs
- 9 blueberry streusel tartlets
- 9 mini Paris Brests

I felt like I was going to have a heart attack the whole time until I finished with 10 minutes to spare. :blink:

#8 Blondie

Blondie
  • participating member
  • 689 posts
  • Location:NYC

Posted 23 January 2004 - 06:01 PM

Oh. My. God. That's some beautiful work, Neil. Thanks for sharing it with us :smile:
Sometimes When You Are Right, You Can Still Be Wrong. ~De La Vega

#9 Cusina

Cusina
  • participating member
  • 910 posts
  • Location:Wisconsin, USA

Posted 23 January 2004 - 06:18 PM

Absolutely beautiful, sincerely... the fire and ice creation is stunning but even the more "humble" offerings are praiseworthy. I wish I could taste them as well.

I'm impressed with your artistry. Please continue to tell us about your career and challenges as you move along. I'm curious, what are your options with a portfolio like that one?

Best of luck in whatever you choose.
What's wrong with peanut butter and mustard? What else is a guy supposed to do when we are out of jelly?

-Dad

#10 McDuff

McDuff
  • participating member
  • 718 posts

Posted 23 January 2004 - 06:19 PM

Very nice indeed. That stuff is better looking than most of what I saw at Johnson and Wales, sad to say. You look to be the guy we ought to be asking about the macarons.

Edited by McDuff, 23 January 2004 - 06:19 PM.


#11 Schielke

Schielke
  • participating member
  • 2,793 posts

Posted 23 January 2004 - 06:20 PM

Great stuff Neil! Good to see the pics presented well on a nice Web page too. :)

Hope you have a bunch of bandwidth allocated to your Web host or it might get "eGullet-ed" :)

Ben
Gimme what cha got for a pork chop!

-Freakmaster



I have two words for America... Meat Crust.
-Mario

#12 Marlene

Marlene
  • eGullet Society staff emeritus
  • 8,123 posts
  • Location:Alberta, Canada

Posted 23 January 2004 - 06:37 PM

Very very nice!
Marlene
cookskorner

Practice. Do it over. Get it right.
Mostly, I want people to be as happy eating my food as I am cooking it.

#13 hillvalley

hillvalley
  • participating member
  • 1,787 posts

Posted 23 January 2004 - 06:52 PM

Beautiful work. Both the creations and the photos.

Congratulations on your success
True Heroism is remarkably sober, very undramatic.
It is not the urge to surpass all others at whatever cost,
but the urge to serve others at whatever cost. -Arthur Ashe

#14 tsquare

tsquare
  • participating member
  • 2,581 posts

Posted 23 January 2004 - 06:55 PM

Wow. Well done.

#15 ludja

ludja
  • participating member
  • 4,440 posts
  • Location:Burque

Posted 23 January 2004 - 06:56 PM

Thank you so much for sharing a tour through classic french pastries. The sugar work was amazing to me; I've never seen anything like it. As mentioned above, the fire and ice piece was an incredible design, but all the pastries, cakes, breads were extremely tempting to look at.

*the website is very nicely done also*
"Under the dusty almond trees, ... stalls were set up which sold banana liquor, rolls, blood puddings, chopped fried meat, meat pies, sausage, yucca breads, crullers, buns, corn breads, puff pastes, longanizas, tripes, coconut nougats, rum toddies, along with all sorts of trifles, gewgaws, trinkets, and knickknacks, and cockfights and lottery tickets."

-- Gabriel Garcia Marquez, 1962 "Big Mama's Funeral"


#16 nightscotsman

nightscotsman
  • participating member
  • 3,068 posts
  • Location:Las Vegas

Posted 23 January 2004 - 06:59 PM

Thanks everyone! :blush:

I've done a couple stages and trials at restaurants here in Chicago, and next week I'm going for an interview at the Bellagio in Las Vegas. The folks at school have been very helpful making contacts. I want to make sure I find the right place for my first job - one that will let me continue to learn and grow as a pastry cook and eventually a chef. I loved doing everything in school, so it's hard to decide how to narrow my focus. I want to do it all!

#17 Wendy DeBord

Wendy DeBord
  • legacy participant
  • 3,653 posts

Posted 23 January 2004 - 07:55 PM

Great work Neil! Nice site too!

#18 alanamoana

alanamoana
  • participating member
  • 2,738 posts
  • Location:California

Posted 23 January 2004 - 08:02 PM

wow, neil! such great pictures, and of course, such great work...my school was nothing like yours. i'm envious but happy that they are producing such good students with such a broad background. i don't think the cia even has a leg up on your school.

good luck in whatever you choose to do!

#19 alanamoana

alanamoana
  • participating member
  • 2,738 posts
  • Location:California

Posted 23 January 2004 - 08:13 PM

p.s. is it just me or is it strange to finally have a face to match with the moniker?! i've now met several eGulleteers and it's interesting to see who matches what was in my imagination...or how far off i was!!!

thanks again neil!

#20 Marlene

Marlene
  • eGullet Society staff emeritus
  • 8,123 posts
  • Location:Alberta, Canada

Posted 23 January 2004 - 08:36 PM

Thanks everyone! :blush:

I've done a couple stages and trials at restaurants here in Chicago, and next week I'm going for an interview at the Bellagio in Las Vegas. The folks at school have been very helpful making contacts. I want to make sure I find the right place for my first job - one that will let me continue to learn and grow as a pastry cook and eventually a chef. I loved doing everything in school, so it's hard to decide how to narrow my focus. I want to do it all!

Good luck in Las Vegas, Neil. The Bellagio is a lovely hotel, although it is a bit large. From these pics, you are going to be wonderful where ever you end up!
Marlene
cookskorner

Practice. Do it over. Get it right.
Mostly, I want people to be as happy eating my food as I am cooking it.

#21 Pan

Pan
  • eGullet Society staff emeritus
  • 15,544 posts
  • Location:East Village, Manhattan

Posted 23 January 2004 - 08:40 PM

I can only echo on all counts the well-deserved high praise you are getting from everyone! You mean, you did all that with sugar?!

Good luck on your interview in Las Vegas, but I wish you'd come to New York instead - except that I figure someone with your skill will without question be employed at a place I can't afford, anyway, and justly so!

A few questions, though:

What exactly is Dacquoise? Is sherbet different from sorbet? (I thought they were the same thing in different languages.) What's in "Monkey Bread"? And what is Pate a Choux? (A more-or-less literal translation would be "Paste of Cabbages," which doesn't make sense.) I'm also not completely sure I know what Ganache and Nougatine are.

Edited by Pan, 23 January 2004 - 08:41 PM.


#22 PastryBoy

PastryBoy
  • participating member
  • 47 posts
  • Location:Ottawa, Canada

Posted 23 January 2004 - 08:43 PM

wow, neil! such great pictures, and of course, such great work...my school was nothing like yours. i'm envious but happy that they are producing such good students with such a broad background. i don't think the cia even has a leg up on your school.

good luck in whatever you choose to do!

neil! i have to agree wtih alanamoana. my school was nothing like yours as well and i'm quite envious! would you consider yourself a typical student (i.e., how did you compare wtih the rest of your class)?

very inspiring! best of luck! :biggrin:
"Why not go out on a limb? Isn't that where all the fruit is?" -Frank Scully

#23 mjc

mjc
  • participating member
  • 423 posts
  • Location:New York

Posted 23 January 2004 - 08:59 PM

very cool stuff night. Thanks for sharing it.
Mike
The Dairy Show
Special Edition 3-In The Kitchen at Momofuku Milk Bar

#24 Verjuice

Verjuice
  • participating member
  • 712 posts
  • Location:The High, Dry Desert

Posted 23 January 2004 - 09:08 PM

Congratulations, Neil! I don't often get hungry for dessert while I'm in the middle of eating my dessert, but the images alone made my bowl of ice cream utterly uninteresting to me.

Best of luck!

#25 nightscotsman

nightscotsman
  • participating member
  • 3,068 posts
  • Location:Las Vegas

Posted 23 January 2004 - 10:56 PM

What exactly is Dacquoise? Is sherbet different from sorbet? (I thought they were the same thing in different languages.) What's in "Monkey Bread"? And what is Pate a Choux? (A more-or-less literal translation would be "Paste of Cabbages," which doesn't make sense.) I'm also not completely sure I know what Ganache and Nougatine are.

What, more tests?! :wacko: :wink:

Dacquoise is a type of meringue made with ground nuts. It's usually baked in a sheet pan and the texture is usually soft like a cake, though it can be baked crisp like a cookie. The cookie part of French macarons is a type of dacquoise.

Sherbet usually contains some dairy and/or fat, unlike sorbet with does not. The dairy gives it a slightly richer, smoother flavor while keeping the freshness of a sorbet.

Monkey bread is just leftover scraps of croissant dough mixed with some sugar and cinnamon - and raisins or chopped dried fruit if you like - and baked in a loaf pan. Several of the students went nuts over this stuff and always made sure to screw up a good chunk of croissant dough so they could make monkey bread. Someone even made a savory version with cheddar cheese and chilis that was really good.

Pate a choux is the dough you make cream puffs and eclairs out of. I've read it is called that because the baked buns look like little cabbages.

Ganache is basically chocolate melted with cream, though for our dipped candies they also contained butter and trimoline (an invert sugar).

Nougatine is crispy caramel with almonds, sort of like english toffee but with more almonds than caramel.

#26 nightscotsman

nightscotsman
  • participating member
  • 3,068 posts
  • Location:Las Vegas

Posted 23 January 2004 - 11:04 PM

neil!  i have to agree wtih alanamoana.  my school was nothing like yours as well and i'm quite envious!  would you consider yourself a typical student (i.e., how did you compare wtih the rest of your class)?

very inspiring!  best of luck!    :biggrin:

There was a huge range of experience, age (from early 20s to late 60s) and seriousness from all of the students. Just like any other school, I guess. That said, I was one of three students out of 32 who graduated "with honors" - meaning our average score on all the tests was higher than 90%.



OK, I have to brag just a little bit... they told me in private after graduation that I got the highest score. :cool:

#27 Pan

Pan
  • eGullet Society staff emeritus
  • 15,544 posts
  • Location:East Village, Manhattan

Posted 23 January 2004 - 11:15 PM

OK, I have to brag just a little bit... they told me in private after graduation that I got the highest score. :cool:

I don't think any of us are surprised. :smile:

Thanks for answering my questions. You're a good teacher, too.

#28 fifi

fifi
  • eGullet Society staff emeritus
  • 7,727 posts
  • Location:Houston, TX

Posted 23 January 2004 - 11:57 PM

Congratulations and thank you for sharing. Your artistry and creativity blew me away. That show piece is just incredible. It should be in a gallery somewhere. I am sure that all of your fellow eGulleteers are as proud as I of your accomplishment. And we can't wait to hear more about your journey.

Top of the class? WOO HOO!
Linda LaRose aka "fifi"

"Having spent most of my life searching for truth in the excitement of science, I am now in search of the perfectly seared foie gras without any sweet glop." Linda LaRose

#29 lorea

lorea
  • participating member
  • 246 posts

Posted 24 January 2004 - 02:49 AM

Congratulations, Neil! I don't often get hungry for dessert while I'm in the middle of eating my dessert, but the images alone made my bowl of ice cream utterly uninteresting to me.

Best of luck!

Ditto. I'm eating dessert right now, and after looking at your site, I'm hungry for something better. Gorgeous!

#30 mckayinutah

mckayinutah
  • participating member
  • 322 posts

Posted 24 January 2004 - 07:57 AM

Great stuff Neil :biggrin:

Like many have said, I too am envious of what you were able to learn from your school, as when I went to culinary school ( in the early 90's ) we had exactly 3 days of sugar work, in which a day and a half was spent on casting sugar, the other half spent on pulled sugar, with 1 sugar station and 1 instructor trying to help 25 students as they tried not to burn the day lights out of their hands :shock:

I too wish you luck with your interview at the Bellagio. My wife and I went with a few friends to Vegas this past November and had the opportunity to eat at their buffet, which was well worth it. Being a pastry chef I was sure to try every dessert they had, and I got weird stares from my fellow diners as I took 3 trips to the dessert station, trying at least 1 of everything if not 2 of some things.

A question I have, which may or may not tie into other topics that are posted on this site, what type of establishment do you feel you would ultimately like to be in? From past posts, I know Wendy ( Sinclair ) likes country clubs, Bripastryguy is at home as an owner, and I feel I would be best at a small resort/hotel or independent restaurant, but you definitely have the hands-on skills for almost any type of place that you choose.

I say that this may tie into to past topics, because as I have read on this site, the role of a pastry chef in a country club or restaurant situation is very shaky, as many don't even employ PC's full-time, but there seems to be various opportunities in larger venues ( Bellagio for example ) and I was just wondering if that has an influence on where you see yourself in the future.

I personally have looked beyond the realization that maybe restaurants are not stable enough for me, and I have begun the process of introducing myself to more experienced projects, such as sugar and chocolate work, as I believe they are an important part in obtaining a higher position in a hotel/resort ( places that I feel there are more jobs for PC's )

I was just curious :smile:

Thank you and good luck,

Jason ( Mckayinutah )