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French Pastry School's "French Pastry Experience"

French Pastry School's "French Pastry Experience"
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  • French Pastry School's "French Pastry Experience"

    Post #1 - October 29th, 2011, 5:10 pm
    Post #1 - October 29th, 2011, 5:10 pm Post #1 - October 29th, 2011, 5:10 pm
    Recently the French Pastry School of Chicago sold discounted tickets to its French Pastry Experience through Gilt. A friend who loves to eat--but doesn't cook--bought a couple tickets and brought me along. The French Pastry School describes the 2.5 hour program as:

    Delicious freshly baked French croissants and pastries, an exciting personal demonstration by our award-winning Pastry Chef Instructors, a tour of our state-of-the-art teaching kitchens... This is what awaits you at a French Pastry Experience!

    During the tour of the school, you will get to see our students and chefs in action, observe cutting-edge technology in the kitchens, and even see beautiful chocolate sculptures in our "Chocolate Room"! Our Chefs will show you how to make an assortment of classic French pastries such as chocolate and sugar candies, freshly baked goods, an ice cream or sorbet, and more! You will have even more French Pastry School specialties to take home and share with your family and friends - like freshly baked bread and chocolate raspberry jam, along with all the recipes the Chef demonstrated that day.

    I typically don't go to cooking classes, because I rarely feel as if I learn anything. My technique is pretty good and I can follow recipes when cooking unfamiliar dishes, so I usually leave classes feeling as if dumbed down to satisfy the lowest-common denominator. Perhaps it was because the FPS is typically geared toward professionals, but I actually enjoyed their French Pastry Experience and learned some things, too.

    The program is geared toward the layperson but also seems to be a tool to soft-sell their programs. It included a tour of the school (the first ~30 minutes) followed by a two-hour demo led by two of their chef-instructors. The night I attended, they taught how to make several elements that were ultimately combined to create a plated dessert. I suspect they change up the recipes frequently, but ours included a pan-roasted, caramelized pineapple with pecan-espresso tuile, a lemon-honey madeline and mango sorbet + a chocolate truffle with a caramel ganache.

    One thing I really appreciated is that the recipes were written for professional kitchens (but scaled for the home chef). So I took home a lot of tips and techniques about recipe ingredients that the average home cook might not typically use (but can easily acquire in this day and age). For example, add some dextrose to your sorbet for a creamier mouth feel. Or sorbet stabilizer to keep it from melting before it hits the table. Attendees had ample opportunity to ask questions during the presentation.

    We all got generous samples of everything that was prepared during the demonstration, as well as warm croissants with butter and jam, sparking water and freshly brewed coffee when we came into the demo. At the conclusion, everyone received a gift bag with a freshly baked loaf of bread, two mini chocolate muffins, a nougat bar, about 6 chocolates and a jar of chocolate-hazelnut-caramel sauce (all made by the school).

    Gilt sold tickets for $35, I think, but it typically costs $75 and is increasing to $95 in 2012. I think it's overpriced at >$50, but I'd encourage you to grab tickets if you see it on sale.
  • Post #2 - December 21st, 2017, 7:41 am
    Post #2 - December 21st, 2017, 7:41 am Post #2 - December 21st, 2017, 7:41 am
    French Pastry School nearing its end? ... ng-its-end
    Hors D'oeuvre: A ham sandwich cut into forty pieces.
    - Jack Benny