Thursday, August 6, 2009


I went to a culinary demo at school with Chef Christopher Lee, executive chef at the new Aureole. You might remember him from Top Chef Masters episode 1. He was pretty cool. His style is American Classic. He puts cool spins on classics. And best of all he has a really awesome pastry chef, Jessica Yee. I have my heart set on interning for her very very soon. Keeping my fingers crossed.

Tuna Tartar on Norri Toast

The Veal Slider

Braise Lamb with Peas and Carrots

Sunday, August 2, 2009

Only Semi-Important Announcement

I've added a new link in my side tool bar. Yeah the tools on the right side of my page... scroll down (or up)..... "blogs to eat" yah you found it. ok great.

It's a completely awesome blog

I would highly highly recommend opening a bottle of wine, putting on your pj's, curling up in bed with your laptop and actually LOL-ing while you read the blog. I have spent the last two hours on a Saturday night doing just that.

I really hope none of my cakes ever make it on this site, but I make no promises.

July 30th's posting is about Cheesecakes and cheese wedding cakes. Read it immediately pretty pretty please with sugar on top. I find the fact that people are actually making cheese wedding cakes completely ridiculous. It's not a Cheesecake.. .its cheese wheels staked like a cake and decorated with flowers to look like a cake. Why? Who are these people? Where do they live? If you love cheese that much why don't you marry it? Or better yet, marry whomever and put the cheese on a platter on the buffet table next to the wedding cake, the REAL wedding cake.


About a week ago I posted a blog about Choux and I wasn't able to get all the pictures up I wanted. So this is a continuation of the post about Choux.

Crocquembouche, pronounced like kroke -em- boosh, is traditionally made for weddings or baptisms.

A crocquembouche is a giant cone made out of profiterols, choux balls filled with pastry creme that are decorated with various toppings.

The one pictured about is Chef Toni's. She used the same choux dough to pipe out "FCI" for the top decoration. The base and stand is constructed out of nougatine (almonds and caramel). So the whole thing is edible... but I wouldn't recommend eating it cause it's nothing but sugar, sugar, sugar and a little bit of dough just to hold all the sugar together.

Each student made their own Croquembouche. It worked out perfectly for me cause I served mine at my wedding reception the following day. Another guy took his to his baptism but most everyone else just threw them in the compost.

Some of them didn't survive the night but most of them looked great!

To create the cone, each individual piece needs to be dipped into hot caramel. The caramel acts as a glue to hold the pieces together, but like any glue it has to dry first. The whole process is quite long and tedious because you have to hurry up and wait for the caramel to cool. It's also difficult to keep the caramel hot for a long period of time and there were several people who burned their fingers while dipping their profiterols in the caramel.

They can be decorated with roasted coconut, pearl sugar, pistachios, chocolate bits, caramel or even caramel swirls.

Saturday, August 1, 2009

Learn More Eat More

Today marks two months of being in NYC and 21 days of class at FCI. In theory, according to my syllabus I have learned 46 different recipes. Is that true? Maybe, it sure feels like I've learned a lot. Needless to say, its a lot of work and I'm sweating constantly. I am becoming a regular at the laundry mat, so if you have any extra quarters you could send them my way : )

But despite the work, or maybe because of it I still feel elated at having this opportunity. I'm trying to suck the blood out of every single opportunity I have. The school has so many different visiting guest come for demos, tours and field trips that I learn more and see more here in a week then I would months of being at home.

Most recently I was a student volunteer for Ron Ben Israel (see link). When I was thinking about attending culinary school, Ron Ben Israel actually played a big part in deciding what school I wanted to attend. He is not only a regular at the school but temp teaches a few of the classes during the cake unit. He does cakes for Martha, Bride Magazine and has been on Oprah.

As a student volunteer I was able to meet Chef Ron, visit and tour his studio, meet some of his staff including his current FCI interns and be his assistant while he's doing the demo at the school.
For the demo, Chef Ron made a three tiered s'moore cake which we (that includes me) decorated with gold metals (looks similar to the picture above). To make the edible metals we used real metals that Chef had won at various competitions, made a mold out of a food safe rubber, filled the mold with chocolate fondant, chilled the mold, took the chocolate out of the mold and covered with edible gold powder.The picture is just something i found online but it gives you a pretty good idea of the type of molds i'm talking about.

Being a volunteer for the Chef was pretty cool, especially because I got to paint the metals with GOLD! I'm gonna get some pictures from the actual demo up really soon. So look out for that.

Here are those REAL pictures I promised.

Thursday, July 30, 2009

Master Chef Jacques Torres

Yesterday I attended the demo of Master Chef Jacques Torres, The FCI's Dean of Pastry and Owner of Jacques Torres Chocolate in NYC (see link). Chef Jacques is by far one of my favorite people I've met in a long time and I completely admire him. He's a very accomplished business man, engineer, chef and teacher. He's cooked for a lot of famous people, worked at Le Cirque (see link) and now owns a chocolate shop. He has a great sense of humor and is very playful in his work.

He told us about the time he cooked for the Pope and whil
e the Pope was away, and no one was looking he sat in the Pope thrown.

How cool is that!

Have you seen what the Pope's thrown
looks like?


OK. Here's a
picture. ------------------------------>


See what I mean. That's pretty cool.

Anyway, so at the demo, Chef Jacques initially explained some principles of how to be a successful restaurant pastry chef. " When you make a new dessert menu, make it the best one you ever wrote. Th
e last menu you wrote must always be the one you ever wrote. " He said that every menu needs to have contrasting temperatures, textures, flavors and weight. Creamy, crunchy, hot, cold, light and fruity, heavy and deep.

For me, his ideas on creating dessert menus was especially interesting because I'm thinking that's what I want to do first when I'm out of school. There are a lot of different job opportunities for a pastry stud
ent and many of my fellow piers want to work in bakeries, cake shops, at catering companies or open their own shop. Initially I thought I would be interested in cakes. However, after finally having the opportunity to work in a restaurant I think, at least while I'm young and have the energy, the restaurant life will suit me well.

At the Demo, Chef made a birds nest out of slivers of filo dough, resting on a creme brulee, topped with powder sugar covered egg almond slices. It was very cute and playful.

This was just my tasting portion but you could add multiple layer of filo which could sandwich chocolate or bananas or chocolate and bananas. Yum! The cool thing is, I know how to make every component of this recipe so I could make it at home.

But just in case you wanted something a little easier... here is a video from Chef Jacques which I think most everyone could handle.

How to make chocolate covered corn flakes

I'd love to know if anyone does indeed try to make the chocolate corn flakes how it goes. (Honey I'm expecting you to try this, if you haven't already)

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Choux makes me sad

I'm feeling very lazy today so instead of explaining about what I've I'm been doing, I'm gonna keep the typing to the minimum and hope the pictures explain enough.

We made Eclairs a couple days ago and I will have to make them tomorrow for my test. I feel...

Yah my Eclair were under baked meaning they fell flat (literally) and will never resided in some one's stomach. Instead they made it into the garbage. The ones picture below clearly aren't mine.

They come in 3 flavors, chocolate, vanilla and coffee... horrah or something.

The French love their bike races. This is a pastry that's suppose to look like a tire wheel and is called a Paris-Brest. I know bear with me here. It's a stretch.

OMG shoes...

You know the box to put those in.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009


On a completely unrelated note, I just wanted to share a few random pictures of my apartment and neighborhood. So friends and family can have a better idea of exactly where it is I'm living.

This is my street, 117th, in East Harlem aka Sparlem.
The neighborhood is mostly 3 and 4 story apartment buildings. On every corner there is a bodega. The McDonald's by my house has a walk-up window instead of a drive through, an
d there are tons of street cart food vendors.

When I first moved in I spent a lot of time decorating. We don't have a lot of money or nice things so I've had to do the best I can. This is the east wall of our giant living room.

The north area of our living room, that's my new couch!

My tomato plant is HUGE! Its started climbing the cable lines. In a few months I'm gonna be eating yummy tomatoes.

This is our porch, it's pretty big. I spend most of my nights in that big red chair relaxing or talking on the phone. When the sky is clear I can see the big dipper. It's pretty awesome.

Saturday, July 18, 2009

Kiss Me

We've started our new unit which concentrates on Pate' a Choux, also called Choux for short. It sound really exotic but if you've ever had an eclair than you've had choux. It's the chewy crunchy, brown dough that's hollow on the inside.

The dough is cooked 3 times, twice on a stove top and then finally in an oven. When in the oven, water inside the dough becomes steam, causing the dough to rise. The long gluten chains cause the dough to hold a shape and create a hollow middle.

The items we've been making in this unit are much more playful and involve more plating,but more on those dishes later. For now I just wanted to show you my swans.

Two swans, kissing, in a pool of chocolate.

This is the most romantic dessert possible!!!