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  1. Different pastry chefs have their own recipes based on the intended qualities of the finished product. Not to mention, for different applications you can modify ratios - I'm not going to use the same ratio for a Brioche dough as a Savarin dough, even though they use the same ingredients and technique. And I'm not going to make ganache for dipping the same as I would for filling macarons or glazing a cake. As for rigidity, pastry work needs to be rigid if you want consistency (since there's usually few ingredients, and all are key for providing not only flavours but especially structure), but
  2. Not sure I'd give total credit to Albert Adria for 'inventing' a microwave cake... People have been microwaving cake batter ever since those shitty cook-everything-in-a-microwave books came out in the 60s/70s... Heck, I 'discovered' the merits of microwaving cakes a few years back, when myself and my bored chef, one slow service started nuking all sorts of random things just for laughs lol... Aerating cake batter in a siphon might be a lil unique, but it's a fairly basic concept, and again, not sure you could call it Adria's personal invention. Fact is, many of the techniques of progressiv
  3. Baron, I have to disagree with your post. I work for a restaurant group that does casual dining (ie. main courses are 15-23 dollars CAD), and I'm bringing alot of 'progressive' techniques into my pastry menus... In fact, I personally think concepts that come from molecular gastronomy are just as applicable in lower end dining, for instance take a look at what Marc Veyrat is currently doing in France (fast food). As for not every kitchen having the resources or time to do this: strait up, all it takes is good planning and owners who are willing to invest in doing things properly. With the
  4. It's not about hand crafted vs sterile factory production... It's about equipping yourself with the best tools possible. Right now my main gig is as a pastry chef, and I'm sure as hell not going to be hand-churning iced cream simply for the sake of nostaligia. But anyhow, on the topic of sous-vide cookery - vacuum cooking a steak is a misuse of the technique, sure you get consistency, but is consistent doneness necessarily going to make it taste better? (in my experience, sometimes imperfection tastes better than supposed perfection). At the same time though, sous-vide is a great technique
  5. It's not just about harvesting wild animals... Even the raising of domestic animals has severe environmental impacts which our world cannot sustain... For instance, fish farms as a whole industry are much more harmful to the environment than the extinction of a few species would be. Raising cattle is the single most wasteful activity humans partake in, and raising any animal for meat is much more wasteful than raising them to produce milk/eggs... Sustainability cannot be measured by whether or not individual species survive, but by whether or not our world as a whole can survive, including
  6. This is a very interesting discussion, and something that as a Chef is close to my heart... I think there's alot of misconceptions about what molecular gastronomy is and isn't... Molecular gastronomy has nothing to do with the form a meal takes, the use of chemicals, etc... It's merely the science of what happens to food at the molecular level - understanding this is something every cook should strive for, even if their kitchen consists of stones over a wood fire. Personally, I dislike meals with 10+ courses, or gimmickery. I could care less if a steak is cooked sous vide or on a wood fi
  7. I'll be disagreeable and say that nowadays you can buy a good version of just about anything, and most home cooks I know would do well to simply buy, and not waste their time butchering a recipe. The only exception - homemade burgers, no matter how badly formed and sloppy looking, always taste better. That being said, most people don't know how to make proper, soft squishy burger buns, so they'd do well to just buy those...
  8. PH10 by Pierre Hermé. I would never use another chef's recipe top to bottom, but he has some amazing base recipes, and gives a good starting point for later modification. Not to mention the technique descriptions are very good. And lets be honest, very few pastry chefs use 100% their own recipes, we all use someone else's recipe or a modification of it for stuff like puff pastry, pastry cream, etc...
  9. The school doesn't matter as much as the individual. Most of the top Chefs in the world are either self-taught, or learned via apprenticeship (formal or informal). That's not to say cooking school doesn't matter - it can jumpstart a talented cook's career, or it can merely be the prelude to years of peeling vegetables... As for the best, I've worked with terrible cooks from SAIT and CIC (one of my old chefs refused to hire anyone from SAIT, no matter their experience afterwards...). Haven't worked with anyone from NAIT, and the few I've worked with from Dubrulle were pretty good. And LCB
  10. Well, with the economy the way it is, obviously dining and restaurant trends are going to change alot. So, I figured a topic where everyone makes predictions about the future of dining would be interesting. Anyhow, my background - Pastry Chef, although I did my apprenticeship in savoury foods in many top restaurants as well. Currently work as a 'corporate' pastry chef, opening several new restaurants. So here are my predictions for new trends: Haute 'fast food': IMO, the world's dining scene changed when Marc Veyrat closed down both his fine dining restaurants, and opened a fast food res
  11. I must say, even as a young chef myself (pastry chef now), I'd have to agree with most of the list. My thoughts: 10 - Fried onion blossom: never seen it, but looks bad 9 - Molecular Gastronomy: Molecular gastronomy, as coined by Hervé This, is a great thing. It's always good to understand exactly why we cook the way we do, and techniques to improve the product. That being said, the silly fad cuisine that most of the world calls molecular gastronomy is rediculous. Yes, some of that food tastes amazing, but most cooks can't pull it off, and eventually the novelty factor wears out. You shou
  12. Make inverted puff pastry. Butter bleeding out is usually a result of the fat separating from the liquids and milk solids in the butter. Usually it gets absorbed by the flour in the recipe, but excess will bleed out. This is one of the advantages (among many) of inverted puff pastry. Since both doughs contain varying amounts of butter and flour, you don't get any butter bleeding out and it's easier to roll and work with. It's also easier to compensate for varying amounts of water/fat in your butter.
  13. I work as a pastry chef nowadays, and generally get alot of complements, although it's always nice if it's from a pretty girl around my age... . Anyhow, the best complement I received was from a Ukrainian couple several years ago, who said I made the best borshch they've had in North America... Another best was a little girl who was overjoyed I made a special (mini) dessert for her - complements from children are always touching since kids are usually pretty picky, and generally don't complement simply for the sake of politeness, as adults often do...
  14. Is culinary school worth it? For the prices most are charging nowadays, I'd say no. Fact is, doing a year or two apprenticeship in a good restaurant will put you light years ahead of a culinary school grad. Of course, culinary school does open doors, but you'll still be slaving away for the same shitty pay, except you'll also have debts to pay. And one thing I've found with culinary school grads that have worked under me, is that they're taught classic recipes and techniques that no one uses anymore, and generally I need to retrain them to do things the modern way anyway - I might as well
  15. I don't know if it's simply because I've worked with too many bad cooks, or if I'm a product of too many high-end restaurants, and apprenticed under French chefs (who themselves were products of 2 and 3 Michelin star restaurants), but I've got alot of pet peeves... Mostly related to disorganization, uncleanliness, poor technique, and lack of respect. I've been a pastry chef for awhile, but was a cook for years before (doing very high end food), so it used to drive me nuts when I saw the bad habits of the savoury cooks... Especially when they'd start cluttering up my workspace and I'd have to
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