Lessons 81-90: From Poaching to Plating

I’ll be the first one to admit it. I’ve never met a dessert I didn’t like.

From cream puffs and crepes to marshmallows and macaroons, if there’s sugar in it, I’ll eat it. I can’t help but realize what an eye-opening experience the last 20 lessons have been to the world of both sweet and savory desserts. Chef Scott has been an incredible guide, leading us through the long process of laminated dough and letting us explore our inner artists with creatively plated desserts. And while we’ve made hundreds of recipes and learned countless techniques, I know that we’ve only scratched the proverbial glazed surface of the pastry realm. But what a surface it’s been … Three weeks ago I learned to pipe “Happy Birthday Kelly” with melted chocolate. And needless to say, my penmanship rivaled most 5-year olds’. But like most things in life, practice makes (almost) perfect.

We continue to perfect our piping skills as we draw closer and closer to Tuesday’s written and practical exams. Among the techniques being tested will be preparing Crème Anglaise, rolling a 12-inch disk of sucree dough and of course, piping “Happy Birthday (Name).” In reviewing recipes from the module I was shocked to see how far we’ve come from the first lessons on poaching fruit to today’s lessons on assembling the endless components we made for entire plated desserts.

It’s been great to gauge our progress by the level of sophistication in our desserts. And while I’ve never been one to pass on anything sugar-loaded, I can definitely say that I have a much keener eye (and intense appreciation) for well-made pastry dough and a perfectly churned ice cream. Wednesday marks the start to our fifth and final module in ICE’s Culinary Arts Career Program. From there, our tight-knit group of 13 will scatter into every conceivable nook and cranny of the culinary world.

Until then, we will spend the next 20 lessons practicing recipes from top chefs across the globe as we prepare for our grand buffet and eagerly anticipate many of our first steps into the professional world of food.

Coming up next: Module 4 Written and Practical Exams 

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