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duckduck

World Pastry Forum classes recap

33 posts in this topic

It will be difficult to put the whole week into just a few words but here goes. If some fellow classmates could follow with a few pictures, it would be greatly appreciated. So here it is…the classes.

Petits Gateaux with Olivier Bajard MOF

His first words were “I’m not a teacher. I am a professional, like you.” He talked about caring for the customer first because “to give pleasure is the base of our industry.” He introduced us to violet aroma, a favorite ingredient of his and spent time, like all the teachers, talking about the basics and took the time to explain why we do what we do. He gave time saving tips like how he prepares his gelatin mixture 5 parts water to 1 part gelatin in big batches once a week instead of each time he needs it. Nice flavors, nice desserts.

Entremet Glace with Luciano Ferrari

Some people felt it was a little too product driven which I see as something that could be a valuable thing geared towards those in the business. One of the coolest things they did was pouring melted sugar over a bucket of ice cubes for a top decoration that hopefully someone will post a pic of. Not only was it pleasing to the eye but it pleased my palate as well. Some good, solid basics on gelato and ice cream and how to get that clean cut that is so important with an entremet glace.

Viennoisserie with Ciril Hitz

This class was the surprise of the week. More than one student commented to me that they walked in expecting it to be their least favorite class and walked out with it being one of their favorite classes. Good solid basics and hands on in the sense that he made you touch the dough in every stage so you got a better feel for where your dough should be. He had some great flavor combinations and we got to taste recipes made at the Coupe de Monde in 2002 that brought the US team the silver medal.

Petits Fours with Laurent Pages

Fast paced class that went through a lot of recipes with practical tips on making large batches of bases to be split and used in several variations. He did some really nice garnish tips and showed us uses for many different products. Many of his tips were about saving time like taking your acetate strips and dipping them one side down directly into the chocolate in your tempering machine and scrapping lightly on the side as you pull them out as apposed to laying them down and spreading chocolate over them. In the end, the photos will tell it all. Only difference for us students …we got to taste. You just get to look. Mmmmm.

Plated Desserts with Thomas Haas

Thomas’ focus on putting together the class was to make it practical. He didn’t want to “wow” us. He wanted us to be able to use what we learned. He encouraged us to question him and talked of passion. He said he was taught that “the joy of eating and the joy of pastry” is as important as technique. His desserts were a little more basic showing us what you can do with simple, good products such as a perfectly ripened fruit. He gave tips for squeezing that last bit of flavor from scraps with the age old kitchen manta of “waste nothing”. He was the only teacher that had us introduce ourselves. There was everything from wannabes to names like Notter and Trotter in these classes. All shared the same passion and were accepted. When I spoke of my book in the works, I was met with nods of approval. It was a very comfortable and accepting environment. All of the instructors of the week were comedians. We had fun. Plain and simple. Thomas, ever the joker, stood behind teaching partner Sebastian Thieffine with a sign that read “He is single”. He started applause wars with the class next door. You had to have been there to understand but great fun was had by all. And great dessrts.

Four Seasons Chocolates with Ralf Wellauer

We got good basics in chocolate and were encouraged to go organic and do things by hand for excellence in our products. We got to taste gelee made of old English rose petals and an orange spice base that he used in his chocolates. He showed us how to do four different finished pieces each in a different technique including the use of an enrobing machine. He caught on to Thomas Haas and class, trying to out-do us on applause so at the end of class he sent us sneaking down the back hallway to go in the back door behind Thomas on stage to surprise him with applause. Funny guys.

Entremet & entremets tart with Laurent Branlard

Fast paced and at times difficult to keep up with which recipe he was on but showed us some really cool stuff. In one of his cakes that he was building upside-down he inserted a silicone mold a little smaller than the square mold he was working with so that when he flipped it over and took it out, it left a space to fill with gelee. Very cool cake. He showed us neat little tips like using a potato peeler to level the tops of tarts shells and using a one-two sweep of the offset spatula to glaze cakes. “The less you mess with it, the better it looks.” What won me over was a taste of what made the US the winning team at the last WPTC. The man’s desserts rock.

Airbrush Technique with Stephane Treand MOF

As much as I adore and idolize Jean-Phillippe Maury, this was my favorite class. He had a showpiece planned that he took us through. Then we got hands on time. He left the last ½ of the class time open to play. Somewhere in the midst of it all, I let go and quit trying to copy his work and my own art started to emerge. I loved it. Then he went back to talking and was telling us how you can use anything. He had an ad of a woman’s face he had torn from a magazine. Instead of telling us what to do, he quickly decided to just show us. He slapped down a piece of acetate and traced and cut out a stencil. Then he proceeded to airbrush the face on a spare piece of pastillage he had that was cut into puzzle pieces. Some one asked how you would go about pouring sugar on it. He grabbed some silicone strips and a pitcher of sugar and went to town. By the end of the day we had a second showpiece. To watch it go from basic conception to finished showpiece was priceless. Oh, and a mini course of mold making, free of charge. Amazing.

Sugar Showpiece with Jacquy Pfeiffer

Jacquy Pfeiffer. ‘Nuff said, right? Does it get any better than this? Hello!!! Lots of molds, lots of recipes, lots of techniques. Molded sugar, blown sugar, sugar ribbons, sandcasting methods using sugar. Dominique and Cindy Duby sat in on my class and I couldn’t bring myself to turn and look at their faces when he talked about the feeling and the sound when a sugar showpiece comes crashing down. He told us to “study the artist’s way. Keep things in clusters. Find your center and work around it. Do it in styrofoam and duct tape to put together your initial design. Walk away from it. Get the opinion of others.” He even spent time telling us how to safely transport large pieces. What more can I say? It was Jacquy Pfeiffer.

Chocolate Showpiece with Jean-Phillippe Maury MOF

We started the class by Laurent Branlard taking the stage and welcoming us to “my” class to which Maury replied “He’s the wrong guy. Naked, he is ugly. You ever see elephant?” The whole three hours ran that way. The man was freakin’ hilarious. He was blowing up gloves and telling us “We are going to have fun. When my wife leaves.” My class happened to be predominately female so he started right away training us that when he did something impressive he would point to the class, then put his hand to his ear and we would all reply as a group in a sexy, dreamy voice “Oooooooh…chef!” Last comic standing to be sure. Lots of great techniques. Next time he comes back to teach though, he should be sponsored by Lowe’s. Remember what I said in an earlier thread about him being the one I would want to stage with because of like-mindedness? More than I knew. He walks into a Lowe’s store and sees endless artistic possibilities like I do. Anything can be used to make art. Expensive silicone tubes? Nah. Flexible pipe insulation $2 at Lowe’s. Wallpaper? Great for spreading chocolate on for texture. Use a coffee mug warmer to warm your ring you’re going to use to cut circles with. Vinyl curtains in your walk in cooler make great flat molds. Mix 2 cups grand marnier with one bottle gold dust and put in a spray bottle. When the alcohol evaporates, the sugar from the grand marnier will make the gold powder stick. He took plenty of time to taunt students. Think his English is bad? (It wasn’t.) “Say ‘foie gras…” at which point he made fun of the student who repeated it back to him and barreled on into the next amazing technique. Mold making, airbrushing, showpiece construction and on and on….

Not only last comic standing but most inspirational instructor in my book. “Draw with your heart first. You have to feel it.” He encouraged us to start with the heart, then engage the brain, then let it go to the hands. “Phase one is love….passion…it doesn’t matter what you do. You say ‘I can’t draw’. You are wrong. Everything starts with a line… a shape… practice. Everything comes from you.” He compared art to how shy he was when first learning English until he said “what the hell. Just start speaking. Communicate. Together we can grow.” Amen.

If I could sum up the week in a word it would be passion. That’s what it’s all about, kids. Some amazing people willing to share their passion for excellence in pastry. I for one came away energized, inspired and thankful.

I want to offer my thanks to the wonderful people that taught us and were willing to share with us. Words cannot express enough.

I also want to thank my fellow students for being brave enough to pepper them with questions and for being open and accepting.

I want to thank my eGullet posse for sharing the adventure and lots of laughs. The company was great and a good time was had by all.

Thank you to the many volunteers. I’ve done a good many events in the past and what it took to pull off an event of this magnitude very simply blew me away.

Thank you to the sponsors who gave generously and help to make this event possible.

Like Keegan continually said, “Teamwork makes the dream work.”

Ya know, from all I’ve witnessed this last week, I’ve realized this. It’s one thing to sit back on-line and talk about “the powers that be”. It’s another thing to sit across from a Carymax crew at lunch and listen to them bullshit like normal people. As one eG’er put it to me, “Yes, Keegan puts his pants on one leg at a time.” But to see these same people running for days at all hours and to see the work and heart and soul they put into this just gives you a whole new perspective. Anything is possible.

So, last but not at all least, thanks to the Carymax crew for having the incredible vision and doing what it takes to make this a reality. You guys rock!

Forever grateful,

Pamela


Pamela Wilkinson

www.portlandfood.org

Life is a rush into the unknown. You can duck down and hope nothing hits you, or you can stand tall, show it your teeth and say "Dish it up, Baby, and don't skimp on the jalapeños."

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Wow sounds like it was a lot of fun as well as a great learning experience! I definitely have to try and go to it next year!

Thanks for the recap . . .

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Pamela,

Could you explain the Bajard method of the gelatin mixture more in depth?

Is this a gelatin for mousse, etc.?

Thanks for the wonderful report too!

Sounds like it was great fun and inspirational.


2317/5000

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Thank you so much, Pamela, from the bottom of my passionate heart! Your account is invaluable for Deprives like me!

Edited to add: Waiting for pics now....whistling....


Edited by TP(M'sia) (log)

TPcal!

Food Pix (plus others)

Please take pictures of all the food you get to try (and if you can, the food at the next tables)............................Dejah

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The problem with being gone for a week and a half is coming back to your day to day life that is waiting for you. Fred has some things to get caught up on and will have pics up by early next week. I have his class photos which are way better than mine but no scanner. The gelatin was for mousse, etc. and I'll try to remember to bring my class notes with me tomorrow so I can hopefully elaborate.


Pamela Wilkinson

www.portlandfood.org

Life is a rush into the unknown. You can duck down and hope nothing hits you, or you can stand tall, show it your teeth and say "Dish it up, Baby, and don't skimp on the jalapeños."

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Hi everyone. I totally agree with everything that Pam has said. Besides she says it so much better than I could. But thats another story. Sorry that I can't get the photo's up right away. I am involved with another activity that will keep me away from my computer until about the Th. Soooo if anyone has pictures feel free to post them and I will fill in if necessary when I return. Fred


Fred Rowe

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Thank-you for taking the time to share your experience with us. It's greatly appreciated by those of us not able to attend.

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Wish you could have been there, Wendy! Maybe next time. I still have more to write about the tradeshow and the seminars but I have a wedding this weekend so... lots to do. I'll try to get back to posting more soon! It was a truly wonderful experience. For personal reasons, I am unable to leave home for long periods of time to go away to school. I was blown away at how much I could accomplish there in just a week. It was phenomenal. My head is still spinning.


Pamela Wilkinson

www.portlandfood.org

Life is a rush into the unknown. You can duck down and hope nothing hits you, or you can stand tall, show it your teeth and say "Dish it up, Baby, and don't skimp on the jalapeños."

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Any additional info. would be great........take your time, but please don't forget about us, I'll be waiting. Thanks.

A stupid side note.......I needed a couple items and my chef desided to order from our albert uster rep-finally. So he calls the rep. who's naturely-in Vegas at the show. So my Chef says to me, "how come you didn't go to that?". I was shocked....and ribbed him, I didn't think there'd be a chance in hell I could take off then. But I'm going to remember his comment for next year!

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That was the big sign for me that it was meant to be. In my 10 years here, I've only taken a full week vacation once and no matter how much I train others to do my job, it's been made clear to me that the world apparently doesn't spin properly on it's axis without me. When my boss said "yes" I looked at him and said "Yes? A week and a half?" I got a look like don't ask again and run away fast, little girl.

So, back to the gelatin thing. Not 5 to 1 parts but pounds! He talked about different blooms and how US tends to be 110 bloom while the japanese tend to have 600 bloom. He prefers powder to leaves because leaves absorb too much moisture when working in a warm environment. We questioned his cubes and he said he does everything with them and has adjusted all his recipes to read X amount of cubes for his assistants. He said 5 pounds water to 1 pound gelatin, he mixes it up once a week and they keep in the fridge for one week and in the freezer for one year. He said he reuses gelatin when he has used a large amount to do a mold. That's all I have in my notes. Things moved pretty quickly in that class.


Pamela Wilkinson

www.portlandfood.org

Life is a rush into the unknown. You can duck down and hope nothing hits you, or you can stand tall, show it your teeth and say "Dish it up, Baby, and don't skimp on the jalapeños."

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Oh, and a quick note Wendy...if you do go next time, the whole posse agreed that we want to do it again. It was well worth it. And it was a lot more fun with the group.


Pamela Wilkinson

www.portlandfood.org

Life is a rush into the unknown. You can duck down and hope nothing hits you, or you can stand tall, show it your teeth and say "Dish it up, Baby, and don't skimp on the jalapeños."

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Man,

I was so jealous before! Starting a new business I couldnt go, next year I will. Putting my pennies away now. I have shared notes and recipes with others who have attended in the past anybody willing to swap for say 2002?

Duck,

your accounts made me mad at myself for not just up and going but I understand how the whole world would stop if you werent there. I just took one day off and it was a disaster but I know it will get better and I will train a staff so I can attend next year.


"Chocolate has no calories....

Chocolate is food for the soul, The soul has no weight, therefore no calories" so said a customer, a lovely southern woman, after consuming chocolate indulgence

SWEET KARMA DESSERTS

www.sweetkarmadesserts.com

550 East Meadow Ave. East meadow, NY 11554

516-794-4478

Brian Fishman

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So Pamela,

The formula would be 5# water to 1 # powdered gel?

I presume you would take maybe half of the water, sprinkle gel over to bloom, then heat to dissolve?

Then mix in with the other half of water?

Set up then cut to amount needed per recipe?

Sorry to bug you about this, it just intrigues me.

If there is any weirdness concerning copyrights, etc., maybe you could PM me?

Thank you very much!


Edited by tan319 (log)

2317/5000

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Those are the right measurements but I didn't get anything in my notes of how he mixes it up. Maybe someone else would have more in their notes. His accent was thick and the class moved quickly. I might have been fielding questions from a fellow student at that point too. I don't know why I got so many questions during class but I did. Fred said I have this confidence that I seem to exude that I've never figured out ...why does everyone think I know it all? I think I was fiedling questions at that point and saying "I dunno...ask the chef!" :laugh:


Pamela Wilkinson

www.portlandfood.org

Life is a rush into the unknown. You can duck down and hope nothing hits you, or you can stand tall, show it your teeth and say "Dish it up, Baby, and don't skimp on the jalapeños."

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Well here it is better late than never. It seems that this report is to long winded for egullet (it keeps cutting me off and my post disappears) so I am going to break it down into installments. I will try to do a day or two at a time. So here goes. My class schedule was different than duck duck because we were on a different rotation. This kept the classes small and personal.

My Friday started out with PLATED DESSERTS with Thomas Haas. He presented three courses ranging from light to heavy. He believes in simplicity in presentation usually limits himself to three distinct flavors plus seasonings. He uses stabilizers only occasionally to lengthen shelf life.

The First course was Pineapple and Mango Pina Colada consisting of freshly shaved pineapples and mangoes, light coconut foam with white rum, minted sugar and Kalamansi sorbet.

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The Second course was Crispy Caramelized Rhubarb Tart with Fromage Blanc Sorbet consisting of phyllo pastry, poached rhubarb, vanilla creme brulee, and fromage blanc sorbet.

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The Third course was Dark Chocolate Fondant with Caramel and fleur de sel consisting of a crispy hazelnut base, chocolate fondant, soft caramel, fleur de sel, caramel ice cream and a baked chocolate truffle.

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Friday Afternoons class was CHOCOLATE SHOWPIECE with Jean-Philippe Maury, MOF His class focused on chocolate showpieces and how to make them three dimensional. The photos show both the front and the back of the same piece.

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Saturday Mornings class was FOUR SEASONS CHOCOLATES with Ralf Wellauer His class was entitled "Indulge your senses with Grand Cru chocolate infused with flowers, herbs, and spices. He made Rose Flower Truffles. Bon Bons made with Lavender and honey, peppered mango with macadamia nut and ginger, and spiced orange and rosemary.

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Saturday Afternoons class was ENTREMET AND ENTREMET TART with Laurent Branlard He produced four cakes. Each different and delicious. The Cocao Barry rep was also present and spoke about the new product called MYCRYO and how it could be used in the recipes in place of gelatin. The items presented were. A Lemonut tart composed of sweet dough, lemon jam, chocolate cake, lemon curd, hazelnut mousse, and chocolate glaze with candied lemon zest. An Equator Tart composed of sweet dough, almond cream, caramel cremeux, banana dackoise cake, exotic mousse, and caramelized pineapple. A Coffee Caramel Pecan cake composed of caramel glaze, caramel cremeux, coffee mousse, pecan dackoise, and caramelized pecans. An Exotic Orange Cake made with Passion fruit gelee, orange vanilla bavaroise, vanilla cremeux, honey cake, and white chocolate spray, He also did the sugar showpiece as part of the cake display.

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The cakes from left to right are Lemonut, Equator, Exotic, and Coffee.

More adventures in Pastry Land tomorrow. Fred


Edited by FWED (log)

Fred Rowe

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Thank-you, thank-you FWED! It's wonderful to see the inside scoop on these classes.

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Here's more.

Its now Sunday morning and I should be sleeping in but no I am in a class entitled AIRBRUSH TECHNIQUE with Stephane Treand, MOF. This was a fun course of part hands on and part demo. Some of the students picked this technique up quite quickly but needless to say you won't see any of my work in the accompanying photos.

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Stephane and his assistant forming their works of art.

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All of the pieces had a Las Vegas theme.

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Sunday Afternoon's course was PETITS GATEAUX with Olivier Bajard, MOF His focus is a respect of the seasons and ingredients while incorporating a balance between sweet and the sour. He likes a minimum of 4 textures from smooth to crunchy. His recipes were very detailed and even came with little diagrams of where each element went. The picture below is of his confection called "The Top" and it includes; dacquoise sponge, milk chocolate cream, peanut crusty, mile chocolate shape(plate), peanut caramel, and sugar dough.

i10251.jpg

The next photo is of "The Osmoses" and "The Java".

The Osmoses contains; lemon cream, cheese sponge with lemon zests, lemon cheese cream, raspberry coulis, and "Breton" lemon dough. The Java contains; coconut sugar dough, exotic caramel with bananas, vanilla and rum cream, chocolate sponge, chocolate cream, and chocolate ganache.

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Monday morning came warm (it was 100 degrees at 9AM as i walked to the Rio) but not to fear the first class of the day was ENTREMET GLACE with Luciano Ferrari. This was the most product driven class of the entire week but the info and techniques were great. He produced two examples of his art. The first was called "Venetian Dream" and I quote"An elegant combination of chocolate and noisette in a variety of textures and the smooth and discrete emergence of a coffee note. All this will take you to the refined and animated atmosphere of the 18th century cafés of this charming city." It contained; chocolate biscuit with rum syrup, and layers of hazelnut semifreddo, and chocolate gelato and was coated in chocolate with chocolate decorations.

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The next example was called "Red Moon". Its description says" The ingredients and flavor combination determine a texture that is an exciting blend of delicacy and strength. Shapes and colors give the name to this creative preparation." One of the interesting things about this piece was the sugar decoration on the top. It was made by pouring melted isomalt into a bowl of small ice cubes. The moon contained Lemon sorbet, Strawberry biscuit glace, strawberry comfiture, praline pistachios, and was finished with a strawberry glaze, cookies and sugar decoration.

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The next photo shows the cut surfaces of the confections.

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The Monday afternoon class was VIENOISSERIE with Cifil Hitz.

This class was fun and informative and produced a variety of breads that were either Brioche or Laminated. There was: a Strawberry almond brioche in paper pans; a Gibassier made with olive oil, orange blossom water, anise seed and candied orange peel; Rosemary Raisin suns; and monkey bread ( muffin cups filled with all the bits and pieces of left overs mixed with sugar and Cinnamon). The laminated items were; croissants, danishes, and snails.

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Thats it for today. Next its Petits Fours and Sugar Showpieces and some thoughts and photos of the demos at the Trade Show.


Edited by FWED (log)

Fred Rowe

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I was so glad to have you there Fred! Your photos were so much better than mine! I've been meaning to get back to this and talk about the seminars and the trade show too.


Pamela Wilkinson

www.portlandfood.org

Life is a rush into the unknown. You can duck down and hope nothing hits you, or you can stand tall, show it your teeth and say "Dish it up, Baby, and don't skimp on the jalapeños."

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Its now Tuesday and the final day of the forum and we go from the little to the big in terms of size. The mornings class is PETITS FOURS with Laurent Pages. The pictures speak for themselves. Each exquisite creation came with a list of ingredients, diagram, and directions on how to make and assemble. They had such names as; Exotica, L'amandier, Sicillian, Pyramide au Nougat de Montelimar, Tiramisu, Sables de Provence, and of course Chocolate and Lemon macaroons.

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In my rotation my final class was a real show stopper. SUGAR SHOWPIECE with Jacquy Pfeiffer. The hand outs contained lots of notes, tips, and directions so that we could just sit there and watch a master at work

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Here Jacquy is pulling and shaping a ribbon to be used in the piece. According to Nightscotsman this is easier said than done.

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The final piece in our class.

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What a line up. They are all the same and yet each one is unique.

The next few pictures concern the Trade Show and the demo's the went along with it.

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Just in case you forgot where all this is happening. Las Vegas is ablaze at night.

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Every day during the Forum the participants. staff and teachers were given lunch catered by the Rio staff. This photo shows one of the set ups(each day was a different theme). The shelving is suspended from the ceiling and the ice sculptures are lighted from below.

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All the vender's at the trade show had something edible to hand out. It went from truffles, bon bons, and lots of chocolate, to baked goods, to Petits Fours, to ice cream and gelato and even orange juice.

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This is an airbrushed chocolate piece done by one of vendors that makes and sells custom molds.

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One of the demonstrations that I attended was by jacquy Pfeiffer. In a change of pace he did a plated pre dessert called "French Riviera Fruit Gaspacho". He said it is served after the last savory dish and is meant to entice the palate to switch from savory to sweet. It is composed(from bottom to top) of a apricot puree, Almond cream, fig ice cube, and accented with basil seeds, a drop of olive oil, a crystallized tarragon sprig, and a sugar curl. When tasting this pre dessert, fig and tarragon are the first flavors that will be felt followed by the salty almond cream and finally the acidic apricot puree.

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This was plated dessert that I saw assembled in a short demo. It contains a lemon soup with orange slices, a nougatine slice with fresh strawberries and sugared sage leaves. What appears as dirt on the plate is actually some sort of seeds. It still looks like funny to me.

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In another demo done by one of the albert uster staff chef's a small table centerpiece sugar piece was fabricated. The base and anchor were done ahead of time and the rest was fabricated on the spot. The entire piece was done in less than 45 minutes.

During the days that the World Pastry Forum was taking place there were several Food Network events happening. One was a Sugar showpiece competition and the other was a Birthday Cake competition. Both will be featured as Food Network specials. My pictures of the sugar pieces didn't turn out but some of the Birthday cakes did. I can't tell you who did what but I can tell you 1st ,2nd and 3rd. The photos are in that order.

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Well that's it. I hope you have enjoyed the photos as much as I had being there and taking them. I am looking forward to next year and to seeing all the friends that I made this year.


Edited by FWED (log)

Fred Rowe

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Viennoisserie with Ciril Hitz

I had Chef Hitz for advanced tortes at Johnson & Wales. Good class. I spent years reading myself to sleep looking at pastry books, fantasizing about this and that, and the day he told us we were going to make croquant I nearly had a psychosexual accident in the lab. I've always felt I was better with the yeasted doughs than say, classic fondant glazed petit fours. I had no idea he had the bread background.


Edited by McDuff (log)

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Fred! Thanks so much for posting the great photos and class descriptions from the Forum. Looks like there were several that I would have liked to attended. Which was your favorite class? And did you learn anything that will change the way you work at home, or inspire you to try any new things?

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Ditto Nightscotman-THANK YOU So MUCH!

This is great advertisement for attending.........makes me think about what I missed. Did all the classes hand out recipes to accompany the class? The mirror glazes look spectaular........

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Yes, we were given a notebook with all the recipes from the classes although there was a lot of "This is what the recipe says, but this is what I do." They handed out recipes in some of the demos done during the trade show too. They were mini versions of the classes we had during the week. Looks like I should have spent a little more time at the trade show. You caught many things I missed Fred. Very cool stuff.


Pamela Wilkinson

www.portlandfood.org

Life is a rush into the unknown. You can duck down and hope nothing hits you, or you can stand tall, show it your teeth and say "Dish it up, Baby, and don't skimp on the jalapeños."

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You know, it's rare when I read a write-up about something I'm so involved with that isn't on the negative side, that I didn't know how to handle this chat. I can tell you Pamela that I was crying as I read your thank you's.

Let me tell you something about the Carymax crew, the "Black Shirts." Each of them is a professional in his/her field and each of them give their time and energy for NO formal pay. Yes, I do send them thank you gifts but nothing is set in stone. Al Farrington, who owns American Baking Systems is my kitchen foreman, Chris Dressick, former Executive Chef of Toscanini's in Beaver Creek, drives the fork lift, Donald Wressell Executive Pastry Chef Four Seasons Beverly Hills is our carpenter and then reporter, John Szymula and Dennis build high rises in Florida and they build our kitchens, Steve Wickum, John Wickum, Casey Wickum and, Darren handle electricity (Steve says wiring our kitchens is like wiring a small apartment building in 2 days), Kathryn Gordon and Tina Korting handle our prep kitchens for the Forum, Stuart Jankoff, a young man who wants to learn how to produce special events is our go-fer, Susie Levitz and Jill Gratereaux handle our travel, accommodation and ticketing for ProTravel, Lisa Baron, Regina Caillot, Juanita Jeys and Alexis Llacuna our full time staff.

And at the end of the event, do you know what the Black Shirts asked me? Could we assign other colored t-shirts to volunteers and leave only the guys that handle the kitchens (Forum and Competition) in black. $7 t-shirts mean more to them than any form of congratulations or money. What I'm saying is that it's a brotherhood that gets together with Norman and me with a common goal - to put on the best event of its kind in the world. That's what it takes and that's why I get so defensive when certain people smugly criticize with no idea what is involved.

To all of you on this site who have given their opinions and their time, I thank you.

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Oh my God. I almost forgot Keegan, Lisa Baily, Jennifer Witte, Drew Shotts, Layne Whitehead, and Biagio Settepani. Lisa is one lady that can work for me anytime. She has a work ethic that is fabulous and a personality to match. As for Keegan, what can I say. I love this guy like family. I would and do trust him completely. Because of Keegan, Jennifer Witte, Drew Shotts, Layne Whitehead, Donald Wressell and Biagio Settepani (another man who has my admiration, respect and love), our show is improving as rapidly as the show put on by the pastry chefs themselves.

Sorry to be so sappy but Pamela got me nostalgic.

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