Thursday, October 28, 2010

Aunt's Birthday

I made my aunt a birthday cake, and boy was she excited this past week about it. She told everybody that her niece (me) is making her birthday cake. She was like a little kid excited about going somewhere. It came out good, only I would liked the cake to have been a little moister. It is a white cake, with a strawberry and raspberry gelee, and a whipped chocolate ganache. It was good! Next time I think I should pour the gelee on top of half the cake then put the other on top so that the cake doesn't slide around.
Work was good, I made and cut some marshmallows, and unmolded chocolates and boxed them. I love our marshmallows they are so light and fluffy. They are melt in your mouth good!

Friday, October 22, 2010

Finding my Externship

Did you ever wonder how I found my externship? Externships for Culinary or Pâtisserie students are typically required by all schools. For the Le Cordon Bleu (LCB) Pâtisserie and Baking Certificate Program, a 6 week externship is required. I set my sights on searching for restaurants or bakeries that would let me do a 12 week externship. Although 6 weeks would satisfy the requirements for my LCB certificate, I felt 12 weeks would look better on a resume and I would learn more. Face it, you only learn so much in the school.

Externships are usually unpaid. Since I was looking to work somewhere for free for 12 weeks, I looked in Atlanta (where I lived) and New Orleans (where I had family to stay with). One of these two cities were the best choice for me to save money.

Next I considered that if I was going to do some on-the-job training, I wanted to learn from a Pastry Chef who was among the best in the industry. So how to find one. Well, can you say Yep, I just started searching. I looked for pastry chefs, bakeries, restaurants, food reviews, contest, etc., in each city. I read everything I could about each Pastry Chef. I looked at the restaurant or bakery websites. I read reviews for deserts on foodie websites. I looked for menus which listed the desserts they made. I narrowed my choices down and selected 6 places to send my first set of resumes and cover letters. Out of the 6 places, I really only had two places that I really wanted. One was in Atlanta and the other was in New Orleans. Out of the 6 places, I received 3 responses within a week, which surprised me. The other 3 places never responded at all. Choice number 3 was a bakery in Atlanta, which is high volume, has a good reputation, but to be honest, I wasn't impressed with the taste of the pastries. So I had to decide between the other two places.

Hmm! Which to choose. The Pastry Chef in Atlanta is nationally known and is very talented. It was probably a 20 mile drive one-way with a lot of traffic. Not my idea of fun, but I would have done it to work with that Pastry Chef. The Pastry Chef in New Orleans had a great reputation and the bakery was very cool. They had great reviews and the pastries were interesting and looked great on the website. The bakery was only 12 miles from where I would live and no traffic. One more thing, New Orleans is a food town, Atlanta is not. There are not very many great food towns in the United States, but New Orleans is one of them. If you have read my bio, then you know I'm partial to New Orleans and I love the food there. So I picked Sucré in New Orleans and planned to do a 12 week externship. I started my externship on August 16th. As it worked out, they hired me full time after my 6 weeks required by LCB. It couldn't have worked out better for me. If you are searching for an externship, I hope my story helps you plan your search.

Thursday, October 21, 2010


Tonight I was taken to Corks n Canvas for my birthday present from my Aunt Adrienne. My two cousins, Anne and Sarah also came. Corks n Canvas has classes on how to paint. You pick a night that they a teaching a specific painting you are interested in doing. A bottle of wine can be brought in to drink while you are painting. We had a great time and I was happy with my painting. You can easily pick me out in the picture above as I'm the short one.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

20th Day of Work

Well, last week I got told that I would only be working on chocolate. YAY! They hired two people to do just macaroons. I've been very busy with work, but I'm thoroughly enjoying every moment. Sucré just put out their fall desserts. Two of them that struck my interest the most is the Pear Tiramisu and Pumpkin Chai Dobash. Yum, yum! :) And the garnish for the Pear Tiramisu is a bird's nest made out of chocolate. I get to make these by putting strips of tempered chocolate on a frozen metal sheet, and at just the right time you move them and form it around your fingers to form the nest. It's so cool, but messy.

Also last week, was the cake decorator's birthday, and as a joke they bought a cake from a grocery store. (see picture below) It was quite funny. Now, I guess you may be wondering why we thought it was funny. Remember, there are many pastry chefs and cooks working here and instead of baking this girl a cake, they gave her a production made sheet cake.

Just today we found out that Whole Foods Grocery stores in Louisiana are going to be carrying Sucré's chocolate bars. I get to make them! :)

Click here to see the chocolate bars without the wrappers.

Sunday, October 10, 2010

French Macaroons Recipe

Want to know how to make French Macaroons? One recipe is posted on the Sucré website.
Click here to see the recipe.

There is a cool video on how to make French Macaroons,
Click here to see the video.
When watching the video, after the macaroon is baked, you'll see the final assembly of the macaroons. After the macaroon is cooled, we match the halves so each half are approximately the same size and pipe the filling and put them together. During this final assembly I can do about 350 per hour.

Monday, October 4, 2010

5th Day of Work - Macaroons

I would have to say that by far the toughest things I have done at Sucré is lifting the 40 qt. mixer bowl in order to pour out the marshmallow on the sheet pans. The second toughest to do is all the leaning over required in working with the macaroons. I think it is the height of the table tops and the distance that I have to reach over the table while piping.

On part of Thursday and Friday, I matched and piped the filling in about 2,000 macaroons in a little more than 6 hours. This is much faster than when I started doing this. Averaging around 333 macaroons an hour is a very respectable rate of production. I was impressed with myself and am quite proud of picking up the pace.

On Saturday, I helped make the macaroons for breast cancer month. They are pink and beige macaroon shells, and are filled with a toasted almond butter cream and strawberry jam. They are yummy. My first week as a paid patisserie cook went really well.