What a whirlwind of a week it was here in Yssingeaux. My first week of class was a class for professionals on classical French pastry. I had only made a few of the things listed in our booklets, but my mind was clear and ready for learning. That is, until Chef Jean Francois Arnaud began to speak. Oh boy, this is going to be difficult. Yes, the class was in French and my understanding of the language just wasn’t going to cut it. Fortunately, there was another amateur in the class that spoke English and she helped me understand important things the chef said, like what temperature to bake things… why that wasn’t written on the recipe every time, I’ll never know.
The rest of the summer should be quite different from this previous week. It will be a slower pace and with different teaching levels. You have people like me here, who have no training, but want to learn, but there are also professionals and other pastry teachers from other countries coming. It should be quite a mix.
Chef filling macarons. I think these were violet and cassis.
Chef painting jacond before baking. See Mom? I missed the Louvre, but I got to watch lots of artistic and creative things.
The chocolate macarons I made baking in the oven. Also, a self portrait. I make that hat look good.
Guts of an eclair I made the dough for. Perfectly holey and waiting for filling.
Remember the painted jacond a few pictures ago? This is it wrapped around a strawberry tarte. I think this was my favorite piece in the finished product. Just beautiful. Modern. Simple. Elegant.
At the end of our week we presented a buffet of all our work. It was incredible to watch the chef artistically dress each piece for the showcase. I even got to garnish a few things. Here you can see the millefueille, framboise and pistache, baba rhum, macaron fraise.
A view of the buffet and one of the interns Francisco (from Brazil) waving hello.
A view of the various macarons we made in the week. The purple ones were amazing. I’m trying to remember what was in them. I think it was cassis and lavendar.
Chef Arnaud is also an amazing sugar artist. He whipped up this piece on Thursday afternoon. It was incredible to watch him shape balls of sugar into legs and arms and wings.
Chef and I with my certificate of participation. I watched more than I participated, but I learned amazing tools from very simple techniques to the more difficult skills. I’m dying to get home and practice.