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My life as an intern at Pierre Hermé


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So I'm not sure whether you remember it or not but a few month ago I posted a new thread here because I was slightly scared with an upcoming internship.

 

Now I am actually an intern at Pierre Hermé and I thought you'd like to have some update.

 

 

Thanks for all the amazing feedback you guys provided!!!

 

 

Love

 

 

- fanny

 

 

First week: Ispahan, Emotions, Sensations & baked treats

 

 

Just one week after I arrived from New Zealand I'm already off to Paris for the long awaited internship at Pierre Hermé.

 

 

After waking up at 4.30, I head towards the 15° arrondissement shop, enter the apparently empty shop sur la pointe des pieds. Where is everyone? Luckily I quickly stumble onto Sebastien, the morning team head chef, who gives me the locker keys. I can finally go downstairs and get changed.

 

 

Hmmmmm the pâtissier outfit! While I was over-excited when I bought it because it represented the first step towards my dream, this outfit is anything but dreamy. Think oversized jacket, high-waist pied-de-poule pants and Pierre Hermé baseball cap; the most fashionable item being the shoes – white sabots.

 

 

Honestly, who could look good wearing that? Well ok, some girls do but I don’t. And just in case I still had some hopes, one of the guys said 'oh mais fanny vous etes beaucoup plus belle comme ca, vraiment' [fanny you look way better with these clothes on] when he saw me leaving the building wearing my normal everyday clothes. He looked shocked, trust me!

 

 

Once this first step is checked and I've understood how pointless it is to look at myself in the mirror, I can actually go upstairs and meet the chefs. Before that, I have to put an apron – well two actually: a cotton one and a plastic one; but this is only an anticipatory action as I know I tend to get quite dirty (and this is a total euphemism) when I cook.

 

 

Then I arrive in the laboratoire, wash my hands and shake everyone's hands. At this point, I am completely lost. Who is who? Hmmm names, so many different names. Luckily, I'm quite good with names so after a few minutes I am familiar with everyone just like we've known each others for years. That's totally not true though, and the use of vous is here to remind it.

 

 

Indeed saying vous instead of tu is like the first basic rule in the pastry shop survival guide.

 

 

The second one being to say chaud [litteraly: hot] whenever you're carrying something (usually really heavy) and not necessarily hot, as the term suggests, and you don't want anyone to get in the way. Basically, chefs say chaud not to be gross and say 'dégage' although the meanings of both words are really close. Once this rule is mastered, you have to start applying it. And believe me it feels quite weird to yell chaud every other minute. Though, it appears to be quite useful because you don't want to spill 118°C sugar syrup on your boss, do you? Well some of you might - sometimes, but please before doing so you should strongly consider a career change and/or an escape from your country, a face makeover and a name change.

 

 

By now it's just after 6am and I am awake (holly jetlag). Like not just awake – I am widely concentrated on everyone's moves and there are many many moves. In the morning team, everyone is here to produce all the cakes, entremets, emotions, yeasty treats... with the most dedicated passion.

 

 

The variety of tasks makes for the most interesting job. While every member of the team is responsible of a specific area, I wander from poste to poste to help the chef do the tasks they can't do because of their super-extra-busy schedules.

 

 

Thus in one week I got to do many different things: from sorting almonds to prepare candied lemon peels.

 

 

I started by weighing the ingredients for the crème onctueuse au chocolat. This was straightforward and was the perfect task to give me confidence on the first day.

 

 

However, I was quite – and happily – surprised when the manager told me to go with Simon to decorate the Ispahan entremets.

 

 

The Ispahan entremets are definitely one of the it-pastries at Pierre Hermé, so I was really excited to know that I was about to decorate them.ispahan1.png

 

 

This part was overwhelming – first I had to arrange raspberries on the rose-flavoured buttercream, fill with chopped and fragrant litchis, and then decorate the top macaron by piping a drop of glucose on rose petals and then sticking them, along with some raspberries, on the macaron.

 

 

Assembling the Emotions was also a great job. Emotions are Pierre Hermé's signature desserts presented in glasses and eaten with a spoon - well unless you like to lick your fingers!

 

 

I had the chance to make both Emotions Mosaic (griotte jelly, pistachio jelly, pistachio mascarpone cream) and Celeste (rhubarb compote, fresh strawberries, passion fruit and mascarpone mousse, passion fruit marshmallows).

 

 

emotion11.png

 

 

These are entertaining to make (basically I piped a fixed quantity of jelly with a piston into glasses - see Sensations below for more details) and are really yummy. I must say I have a weak spot for the passion fruit guimauves, even though it was a really-teeny (don't want to sound like I'm complaining because I am not) pain when I had to separate hundreds of them and roll them in icing sugar.

 

 

As you might imagine I was happy to get to make so many different things and I was really proud when they actually let me make a whole batch of Sensation Celeste. Sensations are glasses filled with different jellies and generally topped with a macaron.

 

 

First, I had to make the rhubarb compote: gelatine, rhubarb purée, lemon juice and sugar, pour a fixed quantity of it into small glasses with a piston, and allow to set before doing the same with both strawberry and passion fruit jellies.

 

 

On the same note, I also piped some banana and strawberry jelly into small round shapes for the entremet Désiré, which is totally delicious by the say.

 

 

desiree.png

 

 

However, I couldn't do just what I had to and couldn't restrain myself from peeking here and there. Anna, who I didn't really get to work with, is responsible for all the treats that have to go through the oven step. Hence, she makes all the brioches, croissants and other yeasty treats. But she also makes the cannelés and millefeuilles.

 

 

The cannelés are probably the best ones I've ever had: fresh, soft and fragrant.

 

 

canneles1.png

 

 

As for the millefeuille I picked a Mosaic millefeuille because I love the pistachio-cherry combination. This was a real winner: the slight tanginess of the griottes nicely balances the creaminess of the pistachio cream. I can't wait to work in the dough team because their feuilletage is excellent! Hopefully in two weeks...

 

 

millefeuille-mosaic.png

 

 

Next week: c'est la folie des macarons [it's all about macarons].

 

fanny loves foodbeam

pâtisserie & sweetness

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I'm also a fan of your blog, Fanny!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

I made the Emotion Vanille you posted and just like the writing overall.

Outstanding piece so far, can't wait for the future installments!

Thanks so much for throwing us this and I hope you continue to enjoy!

2317/5000

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Hi Fanny, I've enjoyed reading this on your blog. If you get the chance, could you please find out how Anna prevents the canneles from rising from their moulds? I've eaten the canneles from PH and love them, and am using the recipe from the Patisserie de Pierre Herme book. I've made them about 25 times and each time, they rise in the moulds - which is so frustrating!

Thanks.

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Beautifully done, Fanny. Thanks for the treat. Your photos are stellar. I too am looking forward to further installments.

John Sconzo, M.D. aka "docsconz"

"Remember that a very good sardine is always preferable to a not that good lobster."

- Ferran Adria on eGullet 12/16/2004.

Docsconz - Musings on Food and Life

Slow Food Saratoga Region - Co-Founder

Twitter - @docsconz

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What blog? What blog? I want to read it too!

Fanny, thank you for sharing with us; I am delighted to read about your experience and learn right along with you!

Waiting with baited breath for the next installment....

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Very cool. I'm jealous (not that I have the skills that would earn me a stage there but I'm gonna go ahead and be jealous anyway). Keep the great posts coming.

It's kinda like wrestling a gorilla... you don't stop when you're tired, you stop when the gorilla is tired.

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Hi Fanny, I've enjoyed reading this on your blog. If you get the chance, could you please find out how Anna prevents the canneles from rising from their moulds? I've eaten the canneles from PH and love them, and am using the recipe from the Patisserie de Pierre Herme book. I've made them about 25 times and each time, they rise in the moulds - which is so frustrating!

Thanks.

Fanny-- Wow! Thanks for sharing with us, especially the photos! When you are paying attention to how PH make canneles, I'm curious about what they use to line the molds before pouring in the batter. Wolfert swears by a mixture of oil and beeswax, but I have a hard time believing they do this in a busy pastry shop. What does PH use?

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Hi Fanny, I've enjoyed reading this on your blog. If you get the chance, could you please find out how Anna prevents the canneles from rising from their moulds? I've eaten the canneles from PH and love them, and am using the recipe from the Patisserie de Pierre Herme book. I've made them about 25 times and each time, they rise in the moulds - which is so frustrating!

Thanks.

Fanny-- Wow! Thanks for sharing with us, especially the photos! When you are paying attention to how PH make canneles, I'm curious about what they use to line the molds before pouring in the batter. Wolfert swears by a mixture of oil and beeswax, but I have a hard time believing they do this in a busy pastry shop. What does PH use?

I'm not Fanny, but I remember a pc who mentioned on her eG foodblog that she had to oil/grease them every day before use. And no matter what you use to grease the moulds, wouldn't it still be the same thing?

May

Totally More-ish: The New and Improved Foodblog

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What blog?  What blog?  I want to read it too!

Fanny, thank you for sharing with us; I am delighted to read about your experience and learn right along with you!

Waiting with baited breath for the next installment....

I think that this is her blog: foodbeam: pâtisserie & sweetness

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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Hi Fanny, I've enjoyed reading this on your blog. If you get the chance, could you please find out how Anna prevents the canneles from rising from their moulds? I've eaten the canneles from PH and love them, and am using the recipe from the Patisserie de Pierre Herme book. I've made them about 25 times and each time, they rise in the moulds - which is so frustrating!

Thanks.

Fanny-- Wow! Thanks for sharing with us, especially the photos! When you are paying attention to how PH make canneles, I'm curious about what they use to line the molds before pouring in the batter. Wolfert swears by a mixture of oil and beeswax, but I have a hard time believing they do this in a busy pastry shop. What does PH use?

I'm not Fanny, but I remember a pc who mentioned on her eG foodblog that she had to oil/grease them every day before use. And no matter what you use to grease the moulds, wouldn't it still be the same thing?

I remember that blog - and the pc said it was beeswax they used (they tried other things but nothing else worked as well and as beautifully) to grease the molds. 300 at a time.....

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Where I work, we brush our molds with a mix of beeswax/butter (1:2) every day - 300-500 a day.

Almost as much fun as wrapping caramels... :wacko:

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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Hi there,

sorry for not showing up lately. I've been so busy (moving back to the south of france bc the shop is closing for a month and reading harry potter).

Thanks for all the amazing info. This is why I just love egullet - so many passionate people at the same place sharing awesome thoughts.

Love xxx

- fanny

PS somehow the quotes don't show properly; im sorry for that... did i do anything wrong? EDIT: thanks gfron for solving ths problem.

Tell us about your pastry background, how you came to be able to get such a great stage.  It's way cool that they let you work on the important stuff right away, not just sifting flour or something.

Hi Abra,

my pastry background is pretty... empty. I've never worked in a pastry shop, never took classes. I'm just passionate about pastry.

As a second year student of a french ingenieur school I have to do a 10 week intership. Most students work for chambres d'agriculture or do research in labs...

Being the stubborn person I am I decided I didn't want to do something I don't like so when Pierre Hermé sent me an email in response to one of the articles i had posted on my blog i jumped on the occasion and asked if i could be an intern at in pastry shop.

And he said yes :)

Thanks so much for taking the time to post your adventure. I'm really looking forward to it.

Thanks. I'll be posting the one about macarons soon.

Beautifully done, Fanny. Thanks for the treat. Your photos are stellar. I too am looking forward to further installments.

Thanks. Im blushing!

What blog?  What blog?  I want to read it too!

Fanny, thank you for sharing with us; I am delighted to read about your experience and learn right along with you!

Waiting with baited breath for the next installment....

Hi Jeanne,

so it's already been said but my blog is foodbeam.com and I'm really happy because it's turning 2 today!

awesome great report, thanks!

Thanks (for the comment on foodbeam too).

Very cool. I'm jealous (not that I have the skills that would earn me a stage there but I'm gonna go ahead and be jealous anyway). Keep the great posts coming.

Thank you.

Hi Fanny, I've enjoyed reading this on your blog. If you get the chance, could you please find out how Anna prevents the canneles from rising from their moulds? I've eaten the canneles from PH and love them, and am using the recipe from the Patisserie de Pierre Herme book. I've made them about 25 times and each time, they rise in the moulds - which is so frustrating!

Thanks.

I think it's an oven temperature problem - if the temp is too low at the beginning the cannelés will overflow. Though I need to check that.

Fanny-- Wow! Thanks for sharing with us, especially the photos! When you are paying attention to how PH make canneles, I'm curious about what they use to line the molds before pouring in the batter. Wolfert swears by a mixture of oil and beeswax, but I have a hard time believing they do this in a busy pastry shop. What does PH use?

So I asked Anna about what she coats the mould with and apparently it's a sort of spray - which is a mix of oil and beeswax. Cant remember the name though. It might start with an A.

I'm not Fanny, but I remember a pc who mentioned on her eG foodblog that she had to oil/grease them every day before use. And no matter what you use to grease the moulds, wouldn't it still be the same thing?

I really have to check on that. Will keep you posted.

I think that this is her blog: foodbeam: pâtisserie & sweetness

Thanks John!

Edited by fanny_the_fairy (log)

fanny loves foodbeam

pâtisserie & sweetness

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Where I work, we brush our molds with a mix of beeswax/butter (1:2) every day - 300-500 a day.

Wow. At the laboratoire we only make 4 a day! Always wonder why because I just love cannelés and could eat tons of them. But then, maybe it's just me?

I am going to be willing to say that this is one of the most contructive posts ever to have graced our pages here at eg forums, good luck to you and well-keep us updated of your post, I for one sincerely thank you.

Michael  :)

Well thank you a lot Michael. That is very sweet of you.

thank you so much for sharing your experience with PH. I'm so excited to read more. His Desire was one of my favorites and I love all of his Emotions! Such a great opportunity for you. Congratulations.

Seems we share the same favourites!

tres bien fait

Merci ;)

fanny loves foodbeam

pâtisserie & sweetness

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Tell us about your pastry background, how you came to be able to get such a great stage.  It's way cool that they let you work on the important stuff right away, not just sifting flour or something.

Hi Abra,

my pastry background is pretty... empty. I've never worked in a pastry shop, never took classes. I'm just passionate about pastry.

As a second year student of a french ingenieur school I have to do a 10 week internship. Most students work for chambres d'agriculture or do research in labs...

Being the stubborn person I am I decided I didn't want to do something I don't like so when Pierre Hermé sent me an email in response to one of the articles i had posted on my blog i jumped on the occasion and asked if i could be an intern at in pastry shop.

And he said yes :)

from tan319:

"That above is probably my favorite part of the story.

Well, except for every other thing!!!"

Can't wait for more!

PS: Enjoy Harry Potter!!!

Edited by gfron1 (log)

2317/5000

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