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World Pastry Forum 2009

Lisa Shock

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Since the 2009 World Pastry Forum will be held in Phoenix (where I live) this year, I will be attending the demo classes and the competition. Just wondering if anyone else will be there?

I attended in 2006, and had a wonderful time -both in class and in the off-hours!

For those on tight budgets, they are now offering an interest-free payment plan.

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You know its only 5 hours for me and I'm really trying to justify the time away. I really feel that at my stage of professional growth that I need that type of exposure to learning, so... Its just a matter of dollars and cents at this point.

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When I attended in 2006, I learned a lot and got a lot of very good educational materials. It was also great to be able to ask questions and get answers from some of the top people in the field.

There were even after-hours classes that did not appear on the schedule.

Nicolas Lodge on running a bakery (pricing pastry, dealing with problem customers, etc) was fabulous. Anil Rohira on chocolate production and composition was more in-depth than any book I have seen on the subject. The French Culinary Institute gave a great class on the mathematics of ices and sorbet, during which I saw all of my prior mistakes laid out for me in simple algebra.

This year features the following demo instructors:

Albert Adrià

Stephen Durfee

Dimitri Fayard

Ciril Hitz

Laurent Le Daniel, MOF

Colette Peters

Vincent Pilon, and Anil Rohira

Biagio Settepani

Paco Torreblanca

Rudolph (Rudi) Van Veen, and Robert van Beckhoven

Plus, if you pay for the demo class program you get tickets to the competition, tickets to the banquet, plus lunch every day. I learned a lot at mealtimes -everyone eats at the same buffets, students and instructors. One example: I had dinner once with Thomas Haas and his assistants, and learned a lot of details on how he set up his pastry shop. (for those Food Network aficionados, I had lunch with Keegan Gerhard once, too!)

The competitors set up and practice during the week of classes. Some also teach classes. But they all bring coaches and entourages. I met some amazing chefs at odd times throughout the week. These were winners of all sorts of international championships.

In 2006, they showed culinary-related films in the competition room in the evening -free, with free popcorn, for those taking the classes as well as guests. I got to see several foreign films there for the first time -including the original Mostly Martha. Don't know if that will happen this year or not.

Overall, I'd say that I learned a great deal in that one week in 2006. For me, it was definitely the equivalent of taking a couple of regular classes at the Cordon Bleu (where I got my pastry degree) and less expensive. I understand that times are tough and money is tight. The one bright spot is that they are allowing people to pay a $200 deposit, then pay the rest over 9 month period interest-free.

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Great idea for a post-- I was thinking of starting one myself. I'm also in the Phoenix area and this will be my first year in attendance.

I'm signed up for the hands-on chocolate entremet and sculpting class w/ J.M. Perruchon/ S. Treand. I was nervous about signing up w/o speaking with or knowing the quality of the instruction (2k isn't exactly a drop in the bucket). I had apprenticed with a former student/employee of Perruchon and am very excited to learn from him directly.

I was wondering if anyone has taken a hands-on class w/ WPF before and can provide me with some insight.

-Will we be working on projects in teams?

-Is it typically only the professional that signs up for these courses or did you find that you were in class with hobbyist/enthusiasts?

-How would u rate the progression of the course (ie the amount of material covered vs. the amount of time allotted).

-I believe my package mentioned that I bring tools-- my pastry 'tool box' is quite expansive and certainly I won't need everything. What would u consider the essentials for a course like this?

Hopefully this information isn't readily available on the website (where I must have missed it-- I'll feel awful silly :).

I understand that the answers to these questions will be relative, I'm only seeking a basis of expectation.

Lisa, thank u for providing some info about the general forum! It sounds like a blast! I certainly hope that I can meet some other egulleters :).

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  • 2 months later...

Did you find it essential to stay at the venue? That is, what do you think you would miss out on if you stayed at cheaper lodging nearby? Were there evening seminars every night or mostly just social activities?

I'm debating attending.

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I live about 3 miles away, so I just stayed at my house. There were some evening activities, don't know how they will work out this year.

Every night, in 2006, they showed a free movie in the competition area, on a big screen at 8pm. They even provided free popcorn. Only a dozen people showed up. Films included: Eat Drink Man Woman, and Mostly Martha.

There were 4 evening seminars that I attended, generally running from 6-8. As mentioned previously, they were: a master class in sorbet, a master class on savory quick breads, a seminar on handling customers and running a pastry shop, and a class in chocolate.

There were a couple of cocktail parties where everyone, students (attendees), instructors and competitors got to mingle. I had a really great time at these; at one I sat at a table and Nicolas Lodge and his partner joined me and we had a lot of fun, at another I hung out with the Japanese team and learned a lot about practicing for competition.

You do get lunch every day as part of the package, plus a fancy dinner at the end. (Bring a ball gown or tuxedo!!! I am not joking!)

Dinner for the other 6 nights is up to you. There are food options at varying price points in the hotel, and some fast food just down the street. (including an In-N-Out Burger, if you're into that) I recall several nights where people went in groups to local eateries. I recall giving Keegan Gerhardt and a group of a dozen people some recommendations on places to eat.

Ok, after all of that, my reply is that I think you could do ok staying at another, cheaper hotel. Just count on getting back to the room around 8-10pm and perhaps buying dinner out. Also, this resort is kind of on the edge of town, so there isn't anyplace really nearby -so you won't be able to walk from one hotel to another. You'll need a car, or have to count on taxis. If you're flying in, I'd add the cost of a rental car to the overall price when you compare rates.

Also, be warned that Phoenix is a really huge city in terms of acreage. Maps may be deceptive to you. I personally would not stay anyplace further south than Lincoln Drive (aka Glendale to the west of HWy 51, but, the west especially the lower west, is pretty ghetto) and even that is a fairly hefty drive. I know that there are several hotels around Scottsdale Road and Bell that are reasonably priced and the neighborhood is safe and near a decent shopping open-air center with restaurants & a Trader Joe's. (Sleep Inn comes to mind, but, I don't have any basis for recommendations.)

Hope this helps!

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Lisa, Thanks for your advice that does help. I recall that Phoenix has incredible sprawl and goes on for miles and miles in every direction. I lived in Tucson briefly in the mid-90's, same deal. Just trying to figure out if a room and car can be found for significantly less enough than the Marriott rates to make the commute worthwhile. It looks like maybe so.

Were the evening seminars at extra cost?

Edited by pastrygirl (log)
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Evening seminars were free, and, although the rooms got super-packed with people, they allowed non-paying guests (spouses, parents, etc.) to attend.

Maybe we could have an eG gathering one evening? Maybe just a trip to a local eatery, nothing fancy -if there's a night with no extra events.

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They give you a jacket to wear to class, so, you'll look like pretty much everyone else. Just remember that the banquet at the end is a fancy dress occasion, where people do wear tuxedos and ball gowns.

Hmmm, I will do some taqueria research. I tend to avoid many places because my husband and I are vegetarians, and it's traditional to put lard in the beans. This means that at many places we can eat the salsa, guacamole and chips, and that's about it.

We do have a small local chain called Macayo's that is ok. as in better than most places found in the mid-west. But, it's not a heart & soul cooking-like-mamacita-did place. I used to live in Santa Fe and got really spoiled with all sorts of good food served in really humble settings.

There is also the -berto's phenomenon. If I weren't a vegetarian, I'd try a few of these places -they always seem to be busy.

But, I'll look into better places. I need to get out of a rut, too many of my regular places have closed in the past year!

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It's not that we don't have decent Mexican food in Seattle, more that is is generally cheap and I never get tired of it. The $$ I'm spending is really going to change my outlook on how long I can be comfortably unemployed :blink: Leaning towards getting a car and being able to explore....

Rob, are you in yet?

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I understand. My favorite place to eat cheap is the Blue Burrito Grill. It's a fast casual place, you order at the counter, and they have unlimited chips, salsa (4 kinds), and softdrinks including three China Mist tea flavors. My hubby and I manage to eat there for under $15 for the two of us, including drinks.

As you can gather, it's not fancy, but it it is filling and fast. They have a commitment to making healthy food, so they don't add fat to the beans and they can tell you what is in everything. That said, there is plenty of cheese and guac on the menu, and if you wish, you can make a pretty decadent meal there. The burritos are large enough for a whole meal, although my hubby and I like to share one of their side salads with our meals. (the side salad is pretty big)

They have a bunch of extra things that aren't on the menu, so ask the order-taker for info. They generally offer spinach or whole wheat torlillas, and they can smother things in 'enchilada style' red or 'green chile style' green sauce. I'm pretty sure they have a bunch of 'add meat or chicken' extras, too.

The closest location is on Shea, just east of Scottsdale road.

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  • 2 weeks later...
Rob, are you in yet?

You talkin' to me?! I'm not coming in for that, although ironically I will be there on Wednesday the 8th just for the day (maybe late on the 7th). I just couldn't afford the classes or time away from my kitchen.

That's the day that they are having an open cattle-call for the Next Food Network Star at the Embassy Suites at Paradise Valley. It's 10-4, the address is: 4415 East Paradise Village Parkway, Phoenix, 85032. Might be fun to go watch...

BTW, if anyone wants to say hi, I have long hair and carry an Anpanman totebag.

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That's the day that they are having an open cattle-call for the Next Food Network Star at the Embassy Suites at Paradise Valley. It's 10-4, the address is: 4415 East Paradise Village Parkway, Phoenix, 85032. Might be fun to go watch...

Ohh, that could be interesting. If I wear something low cut and leave my hair down, maybe I'll be discovered as the next pastry Giada. Gotta work on my Italian. Uno, due, tre...formaggio!

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My crush on Albert Adria is now official! :wub::wub::wub: He looks so young. Single? Straight?

Anyway, today I had petits gateaux with Laurent LeDaniel and sugar with Alain Roby. They make it look so easy! I'm totally going to go home and make 500 entremets in sugar bowls, just for fun.

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Day one for me was Rudolph van Veen & Robèrt van Beckhoven. The class was a performance art experience, art class, poetry reading, as well as being a pastry class. They produced lots of desserts, plated and otherwise in a surreal format. There were also champagne cocktails.

Here are some photos, it was difficult to capture the wackiness of this class!



My second class was with Stephan Durfee, and covered innovative plated desserts, and how to produce them under pressure in competition. This photo shows Melon Glace Parfait and Quinine Sorbet.


These classes were sponsored by Koppert Cress, who allowed us to taste a variety of exciting microgreens and other organic botanicals including teeny tiny watermelons the size of kumquats and Sechuan Buttons.


Here are images of the competition arena being set up. The competition is July 6 & 7, and will be filmed by Food Network.



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Day 2

My first class was Colette Peters demonstrating a number of different cake decorating techniques including: royal icing piping, antiquing, stained glass and Pietra Dura Fondant. She was very informative, not just about technique, but also on the business side of owning a cake business.

The highlight of my day was asking her a question:

Lisa asked, "Does Duff Goldman call you up to ask for advice very often?"

Colette replied, "All the time! I have to tell him that I'm going to start charging him the next time he calls."

Chef Peters:


My second class was with Chef Dimitri Fayard. He made several items from his gold medal win last year. Here are two images of his desserts:



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Dimitir Fayard's desserts are:

Emotion Chocolate

Petit Gateau Chocolat (small entremet)

made of:


chocolate biscuit

chocolate feulletine

suspended in hazelnut cream

topped with:

milk chocolate mousse (38% chocolate)

chocolate discs (dark)

and a ball of hazelnut cream dipped in glacage

Imagine Interaction

Plated Dessert

made of:

clafouti baked in pate sucre

fresh banana slices

caramelized banana sorbet

caramel orange sauce

mint caviar

rhubarb chips

chocolate deco rectangle

The orange-y-red rectangles are the rhubarb which was prepared by slicing with a peeler, candying and dehydrating.

(edited for spelling)

Edited by Lisa Shock (log)
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