Ready for my close-up

Like most people who take food seriously enough to enroll in culinary school, I care about how my food looks. It needs to be interesting to the eye. For a long time before I even considered pursuing a career in the food industry, I was drawn to beautifully designed and photographed cookbooks or food magazines. I would flip through a book like Tartine and wish I knew how to make everything I saw.

Now that I am studying Basic and Classical Cakes, I’m realizing how difficult it is not just to make something taste good but to make it look gorgeous. Our class works in a sort of daily alternating schedule–one half of the room works all day on production of cakes and icings and so on, while the other half of the room works on assembling cakes that were baked the previous day. The following day, of course, the two halves of the room switch roles. When I saw the syllabus, I fully expected my cake assembly days to be a breeze–I’ve always been good with my hands and have a smattering of architecture courses in my academic background, so designing and/or decorating a cake did not intimidate me.

Little did I know. Making it pretty is hard! My first cake took me about two and a half hours to assemble, and Chef told us that by the end of this course we should be able to do that very same assembly in thirty minutes. Her demo of the process made it look effortless. But when it was my turn, I made mistakes like it was my job. Then again, as a student, I suppose making mistakes and learning from them is my job at this point.

I try to take a photo of everything I bake. Partly because I’m interested in food photography and food styling as future career possibilities, and partly because the visual aspect of food is just so important to me. No matter how good the cake tastes, if it doesn’t look appealing, I don’t feel it’s right. And while nothing I’ve made here has looked stunning enough to belong in a cookbook, the mocha buttercream torte I put together yesterday (the second of my attempts at cake assembly) was photogenic enough to make me proud. The rest of the class made equally nice versions of the same cake, and with another week of class to practice, our cakes will only get more and more photo-worthy.

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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.
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            Good for Working Adults
            • Flexible Scheduling
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            • Transferable Credits
            1 Program(s) Found
            • Ranked among the Best Online Bachelor’s Programs in 2015 by U.S. News and World Report.
            • Lets undergrad students try classes before paying any tuition.
            • Has an average class sizes of 18 for undergraduate and 13 for graduate-level courses.
            • Offers numerous scholarship opportunities that can help students save up to $750 per term on their tuition.
            • Tends to educate degree-seeking online and campus-based students who are adult learners with families and students who work while pursuing higher education.
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            • Online Courses
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            5 Program(s) Found
            • Received the 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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            Good for Working Adults
            • Flexible Scheduling
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            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.
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            Good for Working Adults
            • Flexible Scheduling
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            4 Program(s) Found
            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.
            • Has 27 campus locations across the southern United States, plus offers online degree programs.
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            • Flexible Scheduling
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            Salter College , West Boylston
            • Offers training programs in preparation for professional careers in business, health care, and computers.
            • Provides associate and certificate programs in medical assisting, massage therapy, culinary arts, and more.
            • Places students in externships to gain real world experience before completing their respective program.
            • Accredited by the Accrediting Council for Independent Colleges and Schools (ACICS).
            • 2 campuses in Chicopee and West Boylston, Massachusetts.
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            • Accredited
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            3 Program(s) Found
            • First opened its doors in 1980 as the Academy of Medical Art and Business.
            • Students can choose from a variety of diploma or degree programs, as well as continuing education courses.
            • Provides programs in massage therapy, dental assisting, criminal justice, cake decorating, and more.
            • 7.5 acre campus is located in the foothills of Blue Mountain, north of Harrisburg, PA.
            • Involved with many community service organizations, including the Central Pennsylvania Blood Bank (CPBB), March of Dimes, and Central Pennsylvania Food Bank.
            • Accredited by the Accrediting Commission of Career Schools and Colleges (ACCSC).
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            • Accredited
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