A Bakerface Summer Break

Like most colleges, the Culinary Institute of America is in the midst of summer break. It’s much shorter than other schools, just three weeks and I imagine the campus is a ghost town. Most of my friends returned home for their break, but I decided to forgo a leisurely three weeks and instead procured an awesome internship at the Jean Georges pastry kitchen.

Although I am now two days into my internship, I’m still somewhat in a state of disbelief that I’m in New York City to work in a four star restaurant. It was on a whim I contacted Chef Iuzzini. I never expected him to respond and I never expected that after my one day trial they would accept me as an intern.

As thrilling as it was to know that in the breads class I just finished we were producing something that would be used in restaurants for the general public and also for fellow students, I really get a kick out of producing something for Jean Georges, even if it’s just a small part. In the past two days I’ve worked almost 24 hours, scaled many recipes, prepped lots of strawberries and cherries for the current tasting menus or “fourplays”, and am hoping the stains to prove it come out of my whites!

One of the brightest stains comes from the blackberry fluid gel I produced today for dinner service tonight. It’s just a few spots, but in a way, I hope they stay. At the end of the day I got to go (cleaned up of course!) and talk and watch the two pastry chefs in their station. They encouraged me to try something and asked what I made that day. Because I completed the blackberry gel from beginning to end, they gave me the dessert it’s being used on: a rhubarb panna cotta on a coconut petit beurre (which I made part of), and the blackberry gel. It was a sweet, delicious end to a stellar day. I can only hope one day to be skilled enough to somewhat produce desserts with these combinations of flavors.

JG Rhubarb panna cotta, coconut petit beurre, blackberry gel

These next few weeks will go by fast, but the lessons I will be learning should span a lifetime!