Reflective Journal (final)
Time goes fast!!!
We finished our baking and pastry arts program. I learned a lot, not only methods or skills; the most important thing I learned is how to be professional.
Last September, when I told my friend I am going to take baking program, she asked me a silly question: is it necessary to take a baking class? You can learn from cookbook, YouTube or Internet. I was doubt myself, but now I think I can answer the question, it is necessarily, because you will be educated on the various baking methods and techniques, and learn things that you cannot possibly learn on your own by just following cookbook instructions. In fact, even if you are a natural in the kitchen, it doesn’t mean you are a professional.
What I learned from the beginning to the end of the program?
On the one hand, I gained a solid theoretical and practical foundation in baking practices, including selection of ingredients, proper mixing and baking techniques, careful makeup and assembly, and skilled and imaginative decoration and presentation. I feel grateful can learn from those professional, experienced and responsible instructors, so we want be a professional chef just like them, show respect to our job.
On the other hand, I improved my personal qualities, I believe a good attitude will help me not only learn skills but also to persevere and overcome the difficulties I may face in my career.
As a baker or pastry chef needs to be organized and detail-oriented, for example, we making desserts often requires several components that must be assembled individually and then brought together to create the final product. Every ingredient has to be measured precisely and added in the correct way and in the correct order. School taught me be organized.
Be a baker or pastry chef, I think creativity is an important quality, more than other type of cooking. I read a news about the executive pastry chef Roland Mesnier, he was the white house pastry chef for 25 years, creating all the wonderful and beautiful desserts for every white house gala and state dinner. In all that time, he never served the same dessert twice. It is creativity.
Since I learned baking, I just understand how repetitive and demanding the work is, both physically and mentally. We must do many of the same tasks over and over, day in and day out, whether it’s making up thousands of cookies for holiday sales or decorate twenty cakes in the same look. So patience is definitely a virtue for a baker.
For the past year our class learning and baking together, we know how teamwork is important. We share mixing bowl, baking equipment and ideas; we always complete tasks efficiently and quickly. Everyone has strength and weakness, after trained we all know how to lead and follow, and we support each other as well, we all help, rely and trust each other. For example, the last month of school is order month, I was in cake station, I received several orders, that were too many to finish it, but everyone helped me to face this challenge and we beat it. It was a truly memorable experienced.
What I gained from working on the capstone?
It is the best chance to review and reflective what I learned, and to plan what am I going to do for my career as well.Graduated is not mean stop to learning. As a baking professional, never stop learning. Read. Study. Experiment. Network with other chefs. Share information. Join appropriate professional associations, and stay in touch with my fellow graduates. Enter competitions, to hone my skills and to learn from competitors. If I have chance, I will learn management and business skills. Keep up with the latest developments in technology, baking techniques, and food trends while you refresh your basic skills. Remember that learning to bake and cook and manage a kitchen is a lifelong process. Do what I can to raise the skill level of the profession.
Is this the life for me?
I always think about this question, from the outside, the life of a chef seems fabulous, where you see reputed chocolatiers and bread artisans work their magic for the appreciative masses. It is truly a glamorous life. But in real life it also needs a great deal of passion and a genuine love for food and the mechanics of cooking. Talent is a pre-requisite, as is investing a part of ourselves into our craft because there is simply no place for mistakes. Being a pastry chef is tempting, but to do the task half-heartedly, would be doing it great disservice. So if there’s even a trace of dalliance in your approach to work, this may not be an interest you’d want to pursue professionally. I know I should be more confident about my new life, If done right however, I can bet that the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow will yield gold both emotionally and professionally, yes, it is my life.
What were the inspirations for your designs?
It is kind of weird if you can’t have a wedding without a wedding cake. A gorgeous wedding cake is often the centerpiece of a wedding and usually sits in a place of honor. I like the part of the cake cutting ceremony, cutting the cake is seen as one of the most climactic moments during a wedding party, so, it is not only a piece of cake, it means happiness and good wishes.
For my designs, I used white that is traditional wedding colour, and simple white-silver flower, and calla lily to decorate it.
Why did you choose the colours, elements and construction the way you did?
I choose white for the cake, because it is a traditional colour for weeding, I want the cake is elegant and deluxe, so I used white flower and calla lily to match it. For the connected the 3 tier, I used the whit ribbon from bottom to top to connected every tire.
How did the process of building your designs turn out?
- The important thing to make a wedding cake is had an idea before you start. That is why our instructor asked us to draw a picture first, you know what are you going to do that will save time and organize your every step.
- You are expert or not, just check the details, you can’t leave a gap between the tier, also you have to make sure measure the cake all the time, so you won’t put you decoration in wrong place.
- Have patience. A wedding cake is complex to make it, there is lots of fine work to do, and you have to take your time, to finish it step by step
What worked well and are there things you would change?
For my 3 tire cake, the cover worked well, even the fondant is so hard to handle, I tried so many times to make sure the surface is smooth and no air bubbles in it. But there still something I would make a change:
- The size of flowers, before I cut the shape to handle the flower, the size were right, but after molded the size just become bigger 3 times than before, so I got huge flowers on my cake, so that the calla lily no more space to put on.
- Using colour. Colour in fondant can be tricky; it is easy to go crazy, so, just use a little bit of fondant to test the colour instead of drop the colour directly into the dough.
- Organize and keep clean. In the process of make fondant cake, so many colour to use, so these colour always mix up if you don’t clean it before next colour to use, next time I will use different area to make different colour, always keep the table and the tools clean.
What is the theme of your dessert presentation?
My theme of dessert presentation is all about wine and cheese, the restaurant is seated in a winery, there has breathtaking view and fresh, local food, customer comes from all over the world, they escape from busy city life.
Why did you choose the ingredients, flavor profiles and combinations that you did?
For dessert we offer our customer simple but elegant dessert, not big amount, but we care about more the flavor matching, and creative plating design, we hope our customer feel this dessert is kind of supervise and pleasant.
Of course, using the best quality ingredients is crucial for dessert, where every detail counts and may take the difference.
What did you learn when plating the dessert?
I care more about the flavor, but this is a tough question, everyone has different tasty, so not every one likes your favorite, but I think we should limiting the number of main flavor to three, I do not like too much going on my plate which is you never know what the hell you tasting, just like garbage. So, my dessert all has a main flavor, then matching another refresh flavor, like almond matching raspberry.
Another challenge was design, how using different texture and temperatures of components in the dessert, so it delivers interest and pleasant surprise to the diner.
I tried using warm savarin to match raspberry sorbet, but timing problem, I froze my dessert, so people can’t tasty the warm savarin which is soft, moisture and some surprise inside. Next time I will consider this part.
For simple reason, I against using too many colors on my plate, I like the color has strong contrasts that is why I did not torch my marshmallow, which is on the pistachio tube, I want it is really shinny white to match the light green pistachio sponge. I learned generally, sauce, ice cream or sorbet, and main garnishes should radiate off the component without a lot of separation, so the plate have a balance of white space on the plate and not look too busy or confusing
This is a presentation, so looks count, I using white plate, so customer will keep the focus on the dessert, without fingerprint!!! For me garnish is an integral part of my design for a plated dessert, a garnish is the essential finishing touch for a plated dessert. Without it , the pate looks incomplete. I tried so many times to bake light and delicate tuile, it is not easy to do, but it worth.
Vanilla & pistachio tube
360g eggs, whole
90g egg yolks
270g sugar, granulated
90g flour, hard
30g pistachio paste
8g flavor lemon
METHOD OF PREPARATION
– use sponge method, warming eggs, sugar and salt to 45C
– spread mix on 1 silicone paper lined baking pans and bake at 215C for 5-7minutes.
Vanilla mascarpone cream
455g Mascarpone cheese
200g Heavy cream
20g Granulated sugar
1 Vanilla bean, seeds scraped
In the mixer with whisk attachment, whip the cheese, cream, sugar, and vanilla bean seeds on medium-high speed to soft peaks. Cover and chill until ready to use.
– Bloom gelatin
– Combine sugar, glucose, honey and the water(240g) bring to boil to 112C, then cool down to 99C.
– Add gelatins
– Using the whip attachment on high speed, until medium peaks form.
so, Vanilla & pistachio tube total spend:
each dessert :19.6/24=0.82
after design, each dessert sell $5.99
Almond savarin with raspberry sorbet
100g unsalted butter
60g almond paste
72g cake flour
– Set up oven to 205C
– Creaming butter, sugar and the almond paste on high speed.
– Add eggs one at a time.
– Using piping bag pipe a layer of the batter into 3-inch flexipan savarin molds.
– Bake until golden.
500g raspberry puree
– Heat the water, sugar and glucose mixture to 85C.
– Add the raspberry pruee in it.
– Process the sorbet base in an ice cream machine.
50g unsalted butter
50g egg whites
50g cake flour
– creaming butter and sugar.
– add egg whites and mix well.
-fold in flour.
so :o.5+o.5+o.o5= 1.05
after garnish with fruit and sauce, each dessert sell:$ 5.99
Almond sponge with dry Riesling wine
340g almond paste
397g whole eggs
23g egg yolks
99g cake flour
1.2g baking powder
142g butter, unsalted
– Whisking almond paste, eggs and egg yolks on medium speed until smooth.
– Add the sugar and salt and beat on high speed until doubled in volume
– Sift the flour and baking powder together.
595g whipping cream
210g Riesling wine
113g egg yolks
17g raspberry liqueur
– Whipping cream, refrigerate until needed.
– Combine the wine, sugar, egg yolks and gelatin, liqueur.
– Wisk the mixture until thickened and airy, cool to room temperature.
– Fold the egg yolks mixture into the whipped cream.
after garnish,each dessert sell:$ 7.99
Our vineyard restaurant is seated in Paradise winery; people enjoy wine, food and wonderful vista. Vineyard restaurant is an open-air restaurant, every seat affording a breathtaking view of vineyard and lake, we offer local, seasonal and freshest ingredients at our restaurant, so do desserts, our pastry chef make simple and elegant dessert, just like good music and movie, they give meal a nice ending.