Practically Perfect

I had my Baking Techniques practical on Friday, and I’m not sure how I should feel about it. We had to make 2 eight inch sponge cakes, 24 eclair shells, and a batch of pastry cream (which we were to pipe into 12 of the eclair shells). I did alright, but nothing came out stellar. I even lost a point and a half under “Organization” with no explanation but Chef Coppedge’s scrawled advice to “Relax.” I told my parents about this, and they remarked that Tiger Woods was buckling under pressure at the PGA and not to worry about it. I think that being tense is just kind of part of things when someone tells you to bake stuff in a certain time frame, to certain specifications, and then evaluates you on how well you did.

My pate a choux was lovely, except that my eclair shells were just a tad peanut-shaped. My sponge cake was lovely except that it stuck to the pan. My pastry cream was lovely except that the heat was a teensy bit too high, and so I had a few little scorched bits in an otherwise nice batch.

Really, I don’t know what I’m griping about. I did fine. I just want to have done better. Before I came to culinary school, I was aware that most people considered my perfectionism a fault. I considered it a fault too. But here at the CIA, at least on the baking and pastry side of things, perfectionism is common and encouraged. The more attention you pay to the little things, the more precise your scaling, the more methodically you approach your mise en place and procedures, the more exacting your standards…the better you’re going to be. Of course, when you make a mistake–and if you’re me, you do this pretty regularly–you feel incredibly discouraged and wonder whether you ought to be doing something else with your life since you obviously have no talent.

I’m still trying to figure this out. How to have very high standards while not beating myself up too much when I don’t live up to them. For me, this is probably the trickiest challenge of being at the CIA.

Browse Culinary Arts Schools & Colleges

Refine School Matches
Hide filters
  • SUBJECT Clear All

    See More

  • DEGREE

    See More

  • PROGRAM TYPE

  • START TIME

    LOCATION
    Please enter valid US or Canada Zip.
            Results open in new window

            Searching Searching ...

            Matching School Ads
            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
            • Financial Aid
            • Transferable Credits
            5 Program(s) Found
            • 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.
            Show more [+]
            Good for Working Adults
            • Flexible Scheduling
            • Financial Aid
            4 Program(s) Found
            • 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).
            Show more [+]
            4 Program(s) Found
            • 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
            Show more [+]
            3 Program(s) Found
            Platt College Oklahoma , Oklahoma City
            • Each campus features a public restaurant where culinary students work under the direction of professional chefs for real-world experience.
            • Hosts Platt College’s Food Fight, a friendly dessert competition for students held once a month.
            • Offers programs in culinary arts, nursing, and healthcare.
            • Accredited by the American Culinary Federation (AFC) and Accrediting Commission of Career Schools and Colleges (ACCSC).
            • 5 campuses in Lawton, North and Central Oklahoma City, Moore, and Tulsa, Oklahoma.
            3 Program(s) Found
            • Culinary Arts program includes the 3-week Farm To Table® Experience, where students gain a direct, in-depth look at where food comes from.
            • Numerous scholarship opportunities and financial aid are available to students who qualify.
            • Accreditation from the Accrediting Council for Continuing Education and Training (ACCET), and the Council on Occupational Education (COE).
            • 2 campuses located in Boulder, Colorado and Austin, Texas.
            Show more [+]
            Good for Working Adults
            • Flexible Scheduling
            • Financial Aid
            1 Program(s) Found

            Baker College is the largest independent college in Michigan with the most focused approach to education and training available. Our mission is to prepare you for meaningful employment.