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.
            Good for Working Adults
            • Flexible Scheduling
            • Financial Aid
            • Transferable Credits
            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).
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            5 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
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            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.
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            Good for Working Adults
            • Flexible Scheduling
            • Financial Aid
            2 Program(s) Found
            • Students get real-world experience through the required externship at the end of the program.
            • Curriculum includes laboratory sessions, academic preparation and hands-on experience.
            • Program objectives are to provide students with skills needed for cooking wholesome, attractive, food preparations and to assist graduates in obtaining positions in the food service industry.
            • Accredited by the American Culinary Federation (ACF).
            • Has campuses in Melbourne, Sarasota, and Tallahassee, Florida
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            2 Program(s) Found
            • Ranked among the Best Colleges in the South in 2015 by U.S. News and World Report.
            • Ranked the 13th  Best College for Veterans in 2015 by U.S. News and World Report.
            • A private institution founded in 1977 with a current total undergraduate enrollment of over 15,00.
            • Its student-faculty ratio is 12:1, and 89.3% of classes have fewer than 20 students.
            • Has students attend one class at a time to ensure easy access to faculty and a more hands-on education.
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            1 Program(s) Found

            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.