Wednesday, November 24, 2004

Last Monday Adam and I went to the French Laundry as my graduation present to myself last Monday. The link above is to Adam's blog. Dear man! He took pictures of almost every course and I went back (sadly, not until last night) and commented on all the pictures. The staff at the restaurant was wonderful. They even took us back to the kitchen so we could see how everything worked. It was delightful!

Anyway, I've linked to Adam's blog over to the left and below is a link to his business site (wedding photography). There are some amazing pictures, so feel free to send comments to him.


I also have some class photos that I'm going to post. Here we've been out of school for a month and I'm finally getting pictures from people. Well, at least I know I'm not the only procrastinator. Speaking of which, I know I've been promising to add the new site, but I haven't. I've got it all set up, I just haven't written anything. Maybe I can get that started today. My new blog link is over to the left too.

I've so enjoyed sharing this experience with you all. Feel free to continue reading about my adventures.


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Friday, November 05, 2004

Well hello hello! Sorry it's been so long since I've written. Here are the few grad photos I have. (hint hint... if any of you readers have pics from graduation feel free to send them my way)

I got my grade for confections... I got an A. Not surprising. No +, no honors. I was very short on inspiration and maybe concentration. Well, it's done. My overall GPA wound up being 4.11. Now it's time for real life.

I'm starting a new blog tonight. I'll link to it as soon as it's set up.

I had fun. I learned TONS! I could have gone on for another 8 months, but it's time to start working. I'll catch you all up on the work front in the new blog.

Thank you for keeping up with me. Thank you for all the advice. Thank you for all the encouragement. I couldn't have done it without all of you.

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Thursday, October 28, 2004

My cuttie patootie marzipan figures. The pig was, poorly, modeled after the little piggy bank in Toy Story. The penguin is entirely my design. I'm pretty proud of him.
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Sorry for the lack of post last night. I got chatting with Adam and the next thing I knew it was midnight. Bed time for this girl!

Yesterday we made marzipan characters... 2-3 oz little figures. Very cute. I did a pig, a penguin and an inch worm. I really liked the penguin and pig... the worm, well, not so much, but we needed three figures so I made him. Pictures will be posted shortly.

Today we did cocoa painting. What a waste of time. OK, maybe a little esoteric, maybe something I'll do in the future, but it's basically painting, just with cocoa and cocoa butter on a pastiage surface. No, I didn't take a picture, it was just, well, not great. I've always had issues with the whole light and dark thing and painting, in any medium, is just not my forte. Anyway, the cocoa painting was the last project for the course. For all intents and purposes I'm done with school. Tomorrow is just getting my jacket signed... hmmm, wonder if I have a clean jacket??? :) We got a couple of class pictures taken tonight, so I'm sure I'll be posting one of those in the next few days or weeks. Sunday I'll do some retrospective writing on the program as a whole, but, for now, I'm just basking in the joy of the program being over. Funny, I feel like I could keep going for another 8 months.

Work: Yesterday was a little better. There was a little misunderstanding with the ginger shortbread (I thought I was just supposed to make it and freeze it, but Candice wanted me to actually roll it out and punch out the cookies. Whoops!) and I didn't get the chocolate cookies scooped, but other than that I got most of the production list done. I was totally hustling... I was sweating by the end of the shift and totally wiped out.

Today was a VERY good day. I finished the production list before the chef came in to work. Boy was I happy. Of curse, there was still trouble in paradise, but nothing she said could bring me down from my mini-milestone high. I even got a bunch of other things done. Very exciting. Anyway, I caught all the right busses and I got to school 20 minutes before class, so I had to share my good news with everyone!

Well I'm going to finish up my thank you notes and then go to bed. Good night everyone.


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Wednesday, October 27, 2004

My apartment is too bright so I'm having difficulty telling is you can see the trees on the right and left side of this piece. I'm thinking you can't, but maybe I'm wrong. Anyway, I made it in two hours and it turned out pretty well... well, scary at least! :)
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Tuesday, October 26, 2004

Last night was great. I tracked down something to use for my 2-D chocolate sculpture and made it... all in one night. I got my Tigger graded and Chef said he liked it... that's about as good as it gets.

Anyway, here are the two pictures. Since the chocolate sculpture was supposed to be a 2 day project, I've decided to do another one for today. Should be a hoot! This time it'll mostly be dark chocolate with a little white chocolate.

Sorry for the short post... I've been a slug the past couple of days so I need to get moving and into the shower. I was up until 2 last night doing research for the marzipan project and for another idea for a 2-D chocolate sculpture.

Here are the pictures! Enjoy!


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Here is tigger. This is a flat plate, all made of chocolate. Well, kinda chocolate, coating chocolate. It was a little sloppy. Part of the process intails banging the surface on the counter to shake out bubbles. Well, I must have banged a bit too hard because some of the orange smeared. Whoops! Well, I figure it's not bad for a first try.
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Here is my lovely pelican. There are several different pieces here. The boardwalk base, the fence, the sun/moon, the background, the body of the bird, the beak and the foot. All separate pieces. I used spacers to push the body of the bird away from the background to give a more 3-D effect.
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Sunday, October 24, 2004

Friday was fun. Chef Doug was out and Chef Than came in to substitute. Most of the class finished their chocolate boxes and bows, so I had time to track down some coloring book pictures so I could do the next project... chocolate enameling. It's actually pretty cool. You lay acetate over your picture and then using a cornet you outline everything in one color of coating chocolate and then you fill in with colored coating chocolate. I chose to do Tigger. He turned out pretty cute! I'm pleased. It was a pretty low stress project. Once thing to remember if you want to do chocolate enameling at home... once you start you have to keep working until you finish. If you stop the chocolate will cool and bow, so you need to make sure you have all your colors pre-mixed and ready to go. I'd even go as far as to have all your cornets made and ready to use. Anyway, with Saturday being graduation day, there were a lot of parents coming in to visit their kids. Some even hung out in class.

Saturday was graduation. Boy was it hard to get up. Amy and I went out to the Red Room for Cosmos and after three I was done! Wow! I'm really turning into a light weight! We had to be at the auditorium my 9, so I left the house at 8:30 and had to stop by the school to pick up my dress apron. What a scam! As if we don't spend enough money on school that we have to buy an apron that we'll only wear once. Oh well. It's done now. The ceremony was nice and the speeches were, for the most part, very good and insightful. After graduation we, popped over to the school to look at the chocolate sculptures the we went over to lunch/dinner. After amazing Viet Namese food and then a quick trip to Ghiradelli Square it was time for home. My little nephews were troopers, but they were so tired by 6PM that it was definitely time to head home. Last night was totally uneventful. After less than five hours of sleep Friday night, I crashed and was soooo glad that I didn't have to work Saturday night. (Friday my boss said I should take graduation day off and spend time with my family.)

Today I'll be heading up to St. Helena, but if I'm going to do that I'd better get my butt in gear and get moving.

Talk to you all later!


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Thursday, October 21, 2004

Chef Doug said that this was the most difficult chocolate box project that he's ever seen. I'm not sure what problems everyone was having, but we all had numerous problems. The box was a piece of cake for me, but the bow was a serious problem... as I mentioned in the text attached to the picture. Anyway it's done and tomorrow is a new day and a new project.

Work today was better... at least I didn't totally suck. I wasn't great, but I wasn't horrible either. I got almost all the production list done. I didn't get the chocolate cookies scooped and I messed up the cat's tongue cookies (overmixed... more below), but other than that, it was all pretty good. I'm having difficulty cutting apples so they are the same size. When I "sauteed" them I wound up with some apple sauce and some apples... a bit disconcerting. So the cookies I messed up. Cat's Tongue (Longue du Chat)... basically they look like little, less exaggerated, dumb bells. Long and skinny with little bulbs at the ends. (I'm doing a horrible job describing them.) Anyway, it's a weird recipe. Cream the butter and sugar. Beat in the egg whites. (what is this batter supposed to look like at this stage???) Fold in the flour. Mix in the salt, ginger, almond extract, ginger extract. OK. So those were the written instructions. WHAT A PAIN! After the flour is folded in the was just about no extra liquid to be able to mix in the salt and ginger and extracts. So, as expected, I wound up overmixing the dough. Great. Of course I didn't know I'd overmixed until after I'd baked off the first batch. Grrr. So I asked Candice if I couldn't just sift the ginger and salt in with the flour. She said, "Well that is where your culinary education should come in to play. You should be able to look at the ingredients and know how to mix something. So you should have mixed the dry ingredients in together from the beginning." Well, GEEEZZZZ. It was HER RECIPE! What's the point of even having written instructions if I'm supposed to figure out the mix methods by myself?!?!?! Anyway, next time I'll mix the dry ingredients together and I'm going to throw the extracts in after the egg whites. I can't think of any reason why they shouldn't turn out with my modifications, but I mean REALLY what about the next person who's going to have to make this recipe? What are they supposed to do? It just seems silly to me. Oh well.

Anyway, I've got another slightly annoying bit of news. So I'm only going to work Thursday, Friday and Saturday until the cafe opens. It looks like the cafe will be opening in two weeks, but she sounded pretty non-committal. Fine. I can get temp work (crappy boring office stuff) on Mon-Wed, but how long is this going to go on? What if I'm not going to be able to get full time? I mean I'd be able to make ends meet much more easily by doing the temp work/ cook work combo, but it's not what I want to do. We'll see. Anyway I need to figure out if I'm going to be a real full time or not soon or I'm going to have to look for another job. Grrrr.

On the upside, I got my first paycheck today. My first real paycheck for making people food. Very exciting... even if it was only $129. My first thought was, YEA!!! My next thought was, GOD GRIEF... how am I EVER going to make rent on this measly amount???

Well, it'll work out I'm sure (like there is an option for it NOT to). Good night for now. Talk to you later!


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What a nightmare! Tonight was the chocolate box project. I actually made the box in about 15 minutes. I couldn't believe that the box construction went so easily. I thought I might even finish the project with tons of time to spare... no such luck. The DAMN bow was a huge problem. I had to re-make it 5 times. What a pain. In the end I just about gave up. I got something that kinda sorta looked like a bow, but it wasn't as nice as it could have been. Next time... no white chocolate on the bow... it's just too delicate and the melting temperature is just WAY too low. It's well below body temp, so, in addition to any other difficulties I had to worry about my hands melting the little pieces. What a pain! Anyway, it's done and I learned what NOT to do. (Sometimes that's even better than learning what TO do... or so I keep being told.)
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