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ChristopherMichael

Wybauw Class

34 posts in this topic

So is the Wybauw chocolate class worth $800 + expenses? For those who took his class, did you think you learned enough to justify spending that kind of $? If you had the chance to do it again, would you? Why? What did he teach in class? Did he just go over chocolates or did he also talk about other aspects of confections? I know there's threads, but I would really know if it was worth the $.

Thanks in advance.

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In terms of the theory, when I had the 1/2 day free class sponsored by my chocolate supplier, I came home feeling that I had learned so much, that when the other class came up I had to attend. The theory in the paid for class was a review of what I had learned before, however I went with the idea that he was going to teach me about the crystallization technique to finish chocolates, and after I asked, he was very happy to teach us that.

He loves to teach new stuff every time, so while he will review the basic theory you will learn new stuff. But go with something you want to learn and make sure you ask the first day so there will be time to set it up.

Anything you find in his books should be fair game.

What did he teach? - theory, molding, dipping, cutting with guitar, cutting with a cutter, enrobing, making ganache, piped chocolates on a base, how to pipe out particular shapes, rubber mats for ovals and circles, storage, packing.

Would I do it again? - in a heart beat, but I don't want him to think I'm a stalker.

Was it worth the money? - ie did it make me more productive so pay for itself? - since I don't actually make my money as a chocolatier, that's a bit harder for me to answer this one, but I certainly didn;t feel that I'd been ripped off, or that I could have learned more elsewhere. It has made me a better teacher - I can pass on what I have learned to my students so they get more out of my classes.

Learning to crystallize, use the guitar and the enrober was worth it to me.

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So is the Wybauw chocolate class worth $800 + expenses? For those who took his class, did you think you learned enough to justify spending that kind of $? If you had the chance to do it again, would you? Why? What did he teach in class? Did he just go over chocolates or did he also talk about other aspects of confections? I know there's threads, but I would really know if it was worth the $.

Thanks in advance.

What I learned having attended the Advanced Chocolate Class was well worth the cost. (My cost also included travel and hotel expenses.)

I would take another class with Wybaux in a second, especially after applying what I had learned. Since taking the class and continuing my development working with chocolate there are many questions I would love to ask. The amount of knowledge and experience Wybaux has must be taken advantage of if you have the opportunity. The one regret I have is that I did not take the tempering class held prior to the Advanced Chocolates class.

Originally my main reason for taking the class was to find out more information about shelf life of chocolates. To my surprise and pleasure the information included both technique and science. The making of the alcohol filled chocolates was another big thing for me to learn.

The majority of the class was dedicated to chocolate, however, he did touch on other areas of confections. After all the class was Advanced Chocolates. I would be certain that Wybaux would attempt to answer any and all questions that you may have. He is a very approachable person and willing to take the time to talk with you.

One thing not typically thought of when attending classes is having the opportunity to work with other people with the same interests and getting to hear their experiences.

In short I would say yes, it was very worth the money and time. Hope this helps.

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I have not taken his class personally but I have known of the man for many years now. He is extremely famous not because of just being in his position but because he is one of the most knowlegeable people when it comes to making chocolates.

I would say that the money is very well worth it...

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definitely worth the money. i think we all had a good time too, those of us eGers who attended at the same time. networking is hard to quantify in terms of cost.

i will add though, that the french pastry school (who usually sponsors Wybauw) sends their pastry chefs around the country to teach classes...some of which are similar in content to the advanced chocolate class with wybauw.

i know that recently they had a class in los angeles for advanced plated desserts. you can check their website for more information, but it seems that all the classes are well prepared and informative. i can't say whether they are worth the same amount of money as the wybauw course, but all of the pastry chefs at the fps are highly regarded in the field and most of them are successful competition chefs as well.

see if they're teaching a chocolate class in your area as that will save you some money in transportation and lodging. it seems that classes like this are all the same price across the board (at notter school, french pastry school and other culinary schools). if you have a business, i'm sure it is a write-off as well. i was fortunate enough to have my current employer pay for the tuition so all i was responsible for was transportation and hotel. but i didn't know that when i signed up for the course, so i was willing to pay the whole amount myself and i would have been happy to have done so.

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It sounds like his classes are not the exact same each time, that there are little differences here and there. It was worth it to me in that it took me from my comfort zone and forced me to do some different things. He is willing to stray from his set schedule if you have questions about something, as Kerry mentioned. I could take a class from him and just sit and watch (and marvel at the ease) how he does things. He is amazing to watch during the demos, a true master. The instructors from the school were impressive, I would take other classes from the school as well. And, as Alana mentioned the networking was priceless. A majority of the class had lunch one day, and what fun to listen to everyone's stories!

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I'm going this week in Orlando...is anyone else from egullet going? I went to Andrew Shotts class and found it very useful so I'm hoping for the same. What I found helps is to bring questions, not just rely on the content and that makes the $$ well worth it.

Also, don't discount what you can learn from others in the class, they are great resources. I'm a little nervous feeling very unqualified for this class but I'm also excited to know I'll have been able to learn from 3 of the top chocolatiers alive today (Shotts, Elbow and Wybauw).

Hope to see some fellow egulleters in class...

definitely worth the money.  i think we all had a good time too, those of us eGers who attended at the same time.  networking is hard to quantify in terms of cost.

i will add though, that the french pastry school (who usually sponsors Wybauw) sends their pastry chefs around the country to teach classes...some of which are similar in content to the advanced chocolate class with wybauw.

i know that recently they had a class in los angeles for advanced plated desserts.  you can check their website for more information, but it seems that all the classes are well prepared and informative.  i can't say whether they are worth the same amount of money as the wybauw course, but all of the pastry chefs at the fps are highly regarded in the field and most of them are successful competition chefs as well.

see if they're teaching a chocolate class in your area as that will save you some money in transportation and lodging.  it seems that classes like this are all the same price across the board (at notter school, french pastry school and other culinary schools).  if you have a business, i'm sure it is a write-off as well.  i was fortunate enough to have my current employer pay for the tuition so all i was responsible for was transportation and hotel.  but i didn't know that when i signed up for the course, so i was willing to pay the whole amount myself and i would have been happy to have done so.

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I remember a post about a year ago asking about qualifications to participate in these classes. For those of you who have done these before, what is the minimum level of skills that you would say should participate? At what level would the discussion be over someone's head?

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I remember a post about a year ago asking about qualifications to participate in these classes.  For those of you who have done these before, what is the minimum level of skills that you would say should participate?  At what level would the discussion be over someone's head?

I think it depends on the class. Certainly, knowing how to temper chocolate would be helpful. Or at least having tried it a few times before. Knowing the problems you can run into with filling the cavities of molded chocolates. Bring a list of questions that you want answered. That'll go a long way to making the class valuable to you.

For me, the highlight was meeting some of my fellow eGulleters. I just wish we lived closer to each other!


John DePaula
formerly of DePaula Confections
Hand-crafted artisanal chocolates & gourmet confections - …Because Pleasure Matters…
--------------------
When asked “What are the secrets of good cooking? Escoffier replied, “There are three: butter, butter and butter.”

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Rob,

I felt very underqualified in the class by Andrew Shotts, I think everybody else had a culinary degree. However, I'm pretty passionate about this whole chocolate thing and have a concentrated focus so I think that helps level the playing field. I know the people I spoke with had broad ranges of experience with pastry, confections, bread etc. but when it came to chocolate work, everyone was pretty balanced.

If you can follow Wybauws books then I think you can gain understanding from the class. From a business perspective, I'm not going to make a living by hand tempering so I've not put much focus on that and I hope that isn't an expectation. However, understanding the tempering process, be it hand or machine, is important and I want to learn more. It's only recently that I've found different chocolates (manufacturers not dark, milk or white) have different ideal temper melting points. I also know to get the brilliant shine some chocolatiers get is by knowing how to work with chocolate and not depend solely on a temper machine that is generically programmed.

John is dead-on about bringing questions, especially about problems you've encountered yourself. I'm also thinking of bringing a few molds that have presented a challenge to see if it the mold or the process. Bring your variables with your questions as they make all the difference.

For example, I've seen a few posts about cocoa butter/chocolate sticking to molds (a few by me) and there were a number of answers, all viable depending on the variables.

1. It could be the cocoa butter was "out of temper". I recently "re-tempered" about 15 bottles of cocoa butter and it was no fun and quite a mess.

2. It could be the cocoa butter was too hot when placed in the mold and never released properly. I've found using yogurt makers over time has yielded better results that quickly heating in a microwave.

3. It could be the chocolate was not properly tempered.

4. Humidity factors

5. Temperature factors - too hot or too cold (remember your molds will be room temperature unless you take additional steps)

6. Condition of the molds - Are they scratched? Are they polished? Did you wash them in water and let them dry and happen to live in an area with high mineral content in the water (like Florida). Did you handle the molds with your hands and increase the temperature of some cavities?

7. Cooling of chocolate in molds - Did it happen too quickly or take too long?

8. Thickness of the molding - Ultimately, for me, this was the answer. I learned everything on my own so I didn't realize until reading some of the books by Wybauw that there needed to be sufficient thickness of chocolate to release properly and that colored cocoa butter was another variable in the mix.

I also couldn't agree more with John about meeting other egulleters at the class. It's exciting to see people with a similar passion and follow them as they start their own careers. Who knows....tomorrow's Wybauw may be in our midst now and someone we learn from online and get to meet in a class.

I remember a post about a year ago asking about qualifications to participate in these classes.  For those of you who have done these before, what is the minimum level of skills that you would say should participate?   At what level would the discussion be over someone's head?

I think it depends on the class. Certainly, knowing how to temper chocolate would be helpful. Or at least having tried it a few times before. Knowing the problems you can run into with filling the cavities of molded chocolates. Bring a list of questions that you want answered. That'll go a long way to making the class valuable to you.

For me, the highlight was meeting some of my fellow eGulleters. I just wish we lived closer to each other!


Edited by Truffle Guy (log)

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Truffle Guy,

That is a brilliant idea bringing along molds that have given you trouble in the past. And if JP can't figure out what you need to do to mold in them, then you know that giving them the deep six is the only solution.

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I will have my laptop and can check for any late questions and pass to ChristopherMicahel............

I'm going this week in Orlando...is anyone else from egullet going? 

TruffleGuy

I'm going as well. As a matter of fact, I just got my hotel room and flight just a couple of hours ago.

If anyone has any questions you want me to ask Wybauw, let me know and I will try to ask him. But you must post them before say 9pm Pacific time tonight, because I have to get up a 4am to catch my flight.

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I would say a big yes as being worth the money. Honestly, it's not that much money for the level of expertise your getting. In my opinion he would still be worth it for double the price.

He is very knowledgable and approchable. He is very humble, and his expertise is unriveled in my opinion.

Luis

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I assisted at the Wybauw class and have sat in on or sneaked into a few other of the classes at the French Pastry School. From what I can tell, I think all of the guest chef classes are worth it, granted I havent paid for any! To me it's obviously less about these guys sharing their recipes - it's more about seeing the way they do things, albeit their hand movements, a piece of equipment they use, or such, that makes it worth it. As they say at school, these are the kinds of things that will help you retire earlier. Plus, it seems there's always a better/more efficient way of doing things. The other thing that has been really valuable to me is seeing how these guys respond to problems/mistakes. Something always invariably goes wrong in each class, and nobody ever stresses about anything. And they are always super organized. Obviously I'm no industry big-shot but that's just my little tidbit for why I love trying to weasel my way into these classes after I'm done with school

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let us know how it goes!!!

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I guess now I can answer my initial question. Is it worth the $? Sadly I would have to say NO. The class seemed to be geared for someone who hasn't worked with chocolate very much. If you read his book and understood it, the class is pretty much the book. I tried asking him some more advanced questions and he always seemed to not give a straight answer. He would always say, "many factors that can cause that". I even asked him to give me all the scenarios and somehow he always ended up away from me doing something else. Truffleguy even asked him about vacuum mixers and he kind of shrugged it off as if he knew nothing about them. I'm probably being critical about my observation, but the class bored me.

I guess I'm looking for someone more cutting edge, like Elbow or Shotts. Christopher Elbow, please start teaching.


Edited by ChristopherMichael (log)

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Another Wybauw class is coming up at the French Pastry School, and I'm trying to decide whether or not I should go. It's 4 days this time, and $1200, so it's not a casual decision. Is anyone else from eGullet thinking of going? Details are here:

http://www.frenchpastryschool.com/guest_ch..._03_wybauw.html

And, just as ChristopherMichael asked to start this thread, will it be worth it? Will I feel like I'm learning enough, or will I be bored? Any thoughts/opinions?


Tammy's Tastings

Creating unique food and drink experiences

eGullet Foodblogs #1 and #2
Dinner for 40

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Tammy - from what i can gather via the boards over the years, you've got a pretty firm handle on working with chocolate. It seems like you and Chris are looking more for training in techniques - not a chocolate 101 but more a design 401 type course. While i'm very familiar with the course you linked above (i've been technical director for two large chocolate companies, including callebaut), i'm not sure you'll find what you're looking for in that particular course. Great course, but based on what i know of you, you're probably at that level already...

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Sebastien, do you know of a 401 course anywhere? I always feel like I need to perfect technique, use new techniques, do advanced items like the fancy egg that From DeBondt...

Thanks!

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I have signed up for JPW's class in Chicago at Callebaut in June. Is anyone else in that particular class? I hope it is going to be valuable to me.


Ruth Kendrick

Chocolot
Artisan Chocolates and Toffees
www.chocolot.com

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I can actually answer my own question. I would say if you're in the early stages of the learning curve and when you read his book and have no idea of what he's talking about, then Yes it's worth going. But if you can read his book and comprehend what he's saying and you're not a beginner, then I would say No it's not worth going, but to a point. I'm going to be honest with you, I have been working with chocolate for years, previous to that I went to culinary school and was a savory chef, so I did have some experience before I went to classes by Wybauw, Shotts and Notter. I went to these classes to pretty much put any thoughts out of my mind that I wasn't good enough to continue on my path to where I am today and where the future of my business is going. When I walked out of those classes I felt that I gained confidence in my ability and not really any new knowledge that I didn't read about or that I have figured out in my kitchen while doing production. You might pick up on subtle things, but nothing major or technique changing. At least I didn't. Not to say you won't, because these guys are pioneers in the industry and they do offer great insight. One thing I have learned in my chocolate journey, you have to find your own style and techniques. Just like the great chefs of the world, usually no two chefs have the same style and usually get to an end product differently (minor differences, but different).

The most important thing I can tell you, take what these guys say to heart and take it all in, but develop your own style and be confident with it.

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Very well said, Christopher.

I agree with all you said about gaining confidence in your abilities.

I too usually leave a class feeling stronger about my ability to continue in the field.

I will be taking The Shotts class at the Notter School in April. I am interested in watching him in action, since I admire him so much. I do expect to come away with some new ideas and techniques but I also hope to find out that "hey, I do know what I am doing"

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Sebastien, do you know of a 401 course anywhere? I always feel like I need to perfect technique, use new techniques, do advanced items like the fancy egg that From DeBondt...

Thanks!

Actually, if you are pretty confident in your technical abilities at this point, i'd not seek further instruction via confections - i'd go to industries that have similarities with whatever it is you're trying to do - if it's airbrushing, i'd go seek out art classes. if it's panning, i'd seek out cement work. if it's roasting, i'd go speak with someone who makes coffee. etc. at some point you really are an expert in your field - that point differs for everyone - however once you get there, you're going to be disappointed by further continuing education efforts in that field. i think there's a LOT to learn from areas outside your immediate application that have similarities to what you're trying to gain, however...

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