Culinary School, Week 4: Pies, dirty jokes and one grumpy aspiring chef

I’m not really sure where to begin, except by saying that this week’s class was unexpected. Chef asked me to assist with the pie lecture and demonstration, which I was very excited about. I studied up, prepared what I thought would be an informative lecture, and was ready for anything. Anything but him saying, “You go teach your group (of two people) how to make your pie recipe, and I’ll deal with the rest of the class, OK?” Um, yeah. I guess.

Then, during the lecture portion of the class, Chef made the most disgusting, crude, embarrassing sex joke during class. Maybe the culinary industry accepts this type of behavior because it’s male-dominated? Maybe I’m just so used to the way things are run at Disney, where you show respect for everyone at every level, even in culinary?

Whatever. On to baking! You can prepare a pie in about 1 – 1.5 hours from scratch. But, you cannot cook, cool and serve it in less than 4 or 5, which is what Chef was pushing for – he likes to cut class early each week. (which is another issue all together).

And the vanilla beans. I asked if I could use 2 vanilla beans for the pie recipe. Chef handed me what looked like vanilla beans, smelled like vanilla beans, but felt like two dead wooden branches. They were hard as a rock; petrified. I tried reconstituting in hot water – it started to work, but was taking too long. Chef’s assistant suggested we wrap in wet paper towel and microwave for 10 seconds. The beans turned to dust. Poof! Worthless.

It took my group about 45 minutes to prepare the apple pie – this included dough and filling – which I thought was pretty good. Despite the speed, I was feeling a little disgruntled about how the night was going; the dirty jokes, the change in plans, cutting class early, the crappy vanilla beans, were all adding up to a whole lot of grumpy. I wasn’t very patient, but was trying hard to be a good instructor to R and TR. I think I failed miserably and made sure I thanked them both at the end of class. Not only for doing a great job, but for not kicking my butt for being so impatient.

Long story short, nobody’s pies were really ready to take out of the oven, but we removed them anyhow and shoved them into the freezer. And even after 20 minutes in the freezer, they still weren’t ready. Doughs weren’t quite cooked through, and fillings had not set up – we all had big piles of runny pie samples.

Our team’s crust, however, rocked! It was almost like puff pastry it was so light and flakey. And if the oven temp had been just a bit higher, it would have puffed up even more. The apple filling? Totally sucked, but by no fault of R and TR. The pie just didn’t have time to cook through or set up.

Next week we focus on cream pies, then custards. And I’ve registered for fall classes already, where I finally get to cook savory foods.

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            5 Program(s) Found
            • Alumni have appeared in reality competition shows such as Top Chef and Project Runway.
            • Has a team of about 4,000 faculty members focused on helping students tap opportunities in a marketplace driven by ideas.
            • Offers programs in design, media arts, fashion, and culinary.
            • Provides program coordinators who work with students to ensure they have the learning materials, assignments, facilities, and faculty to get the most out of the program.
            • Over 50 campus locations nationwide.
            Good for Working Adults
            • Flexible Scheduling
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            • Transferable Credits
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            • Hands-on culinary education with focused attention on each student
            • An ACCSC School of Excellence with multiple “Best Vocational Cooking School” awards*
            • 15,000 graduates, including celebrities like Bobby Flay, David Chang, and Christina Tosi*
            • Programs in Culinary Entrepreneurship, Professional Culinary Arts, Professional Pastry Arts, and much more
            • Campuses in New York and Silicon Valley with nearby housing available
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            • Gives students the opportunity to earn their associate’s degree in the culinary arts field in less than 15 months or bachelor’s degree in the food service management field in 2.5 years through their year-round schedule.
            • Located in Norfolk and Newport News, Virginia.
            • Offers externship experiences to students for experience in the field.
            • Hosts regular career fairs for employer recruitment.
            • Has student housing available.
            • Accredited by the Commission on Colleges of the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools (SACSCOC).
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            • Received the 2015 and 2013 “Cooking School of the Year” Award of Excellence from the International Association of Culinary Professionals (IACP).
            • Accredited by the Accrediting Commission of Career Schools and Colleges (ACCSC).
            • Externship opportunities are available at numerous famous New York City restaurants.
            • Campus is located near downtown Manhattan, within walking distance of many popular attractions such as the Radio City Music Hall.
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            Virginia College , Fort Pierce
            • Instructors are typically real-world professionals with many years of experience in their career fields.
            • Ranked #3 in Best for Vets: Career & Technical Colleges 2014 by Military Times.
            • Presents the full tuition cost up front. In most cases, even textbooks are included in the total price.
            • Provides career services associates to help students review their resume, provide career counseling, help with job searches, and more.
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            Lackawanna College is the premier, private, accredited two-year college serving the people of northeastern Pennsylvania. With a focus on keeping higher education affordable and accessible to our immediate community, Lackawanna draws 80 percent of its student population right from our own region.

            With a main campus situated in downtown Scranton, Lackawanna’s expanding footprint also includes satellite centers in Hawley, Hazleton, New Milford, and Towanda.

            3 Program(s) Found
            • Has been training students in the culinary arts since 1946.
            • Teaches hands-on culinary training in French, Asian, Mediterranean, Latin and American cooking, along with professional baking and pastry techniques.
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            • Its instructors are respected chefs who put their dedication and life experiences into their instruction.
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