Working It

This last week has been nonstop for me, for the most part. Beyond the classroom/kitchen/bakeshop there are a host of opportunities at the school and surrounding area to learn and experience more. I personally take advantage of as many of these situations as possible.

So my busy week began last Saturday. The Culinary Institute of America hosted the Eastern Gluten-Free Summit last weekend with one of my baking technique chefs at the helm. Chef Coppedge recently published a gluten-free baking book and teaches a class that teaches alternative baking techniques. Chef asked if I would be interested in volunteering at the event, and I eagerly signed up. With volunteering I had the opportunity to listen to the lectures and witness the demonstrations, but I ended up spending my time Saturday and Sunday “behind the scenes” and talking to the presenters, many of whom are chefs. It was so interesting to hear them talk about the aspects of gluten-free baking and cooking and assist with their samples…and of course try them! There is definitely a different texture to baked goods and some cooked products that are gluten-free, but everything I tried was fantastic.

Then, my actual school week began. My other baking techniques chef asked me during his class if I would like to work as an assistant to him in one of the school’s pastry bootcamps. I, of course, accepted and had been waiting for it for the last several weeks. Unfortunately my current cookies partner and I couldn’t work all five days due to another class we have Tuesdays and Thursdays, but it was such fun getting to help out with all the “recruits.” It gave me another level of respect for the instructors at the school. You don’t realize how much you need to watch and see who needs assistance until you are actually doing it. I really enjoyed assisting the students and passing on little tidbits I have learned thus far. I’ll actually be doing it again at the end of October with Chef, again I can’t wait!

To round out the week, or rather the beginning of the week, my group also had our costing examination. It, along with a writing exam we had a few weeks ago, and our baking practical in a few weeks must all be passed in order to go on externship. One aspect baking students lack in is we really don’t touch costing once we leave culinary math at the end of B block. True, we get baker’s math but this lack of costing caused a great deal of review in the week prior to the exam. Luckily, it paid off, and I got a high pass!

Now, a week later, and I’m happy it’s the weekend but can’t wait for more opportunities!