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Culinary School Update: Part Two

Spoiler alert: this post is ridiculously long. Even for my verbose self. Here’s a cupcake for the journey…

Culinary School Update: Part Two

This is…an update of sorts. How do I cram everything we have covered in the past 3 weeks into 823 words? Since we last talked we’ve breezed through 18 pies and tarts, 10 recipes with pâte à choux and 15 recipes with pâte feuilletée (puff pastry); we’ve had 3 practical exams; and I have washed more dishes than altogether reasonable.

And I love it. LOVE.

[Not the dishes. I hate washing dishes.]

Culinary School Update: Part Two

Culinary school is more intense and physically and emotionally demanding than I could have ever imagined. I was not prepared for this. I’m not sure how I could have prepared for this.

I spend from 8:30 to 2:30 in constant motion; my brain is running on mach 10 to keep track of each an every component, to remain ahead, to not burn anything (including myself) and to learn as much as possible during the chef’s demos. And then school ends and I am somehow wired and exhausted all at the same time.

But I force myself to go to the gym because somebody ate too many pâte à choux and puff pastry. I don’t know who…

Culinary School Update: Part Two

And then there is this City. It has leaked into my bones.

That might be the cold. Nevermind.

I LOVE being here. I love the bone-chilling walk to the subway each morning, the rush of people, the energy that emanates from every corner, and the possibilities. It makes me feel that I can work harder, do more, push for better.

Culinary School Update: Part Two

So what have I actually been making?

How much time do you have? Or tolerance for looking at sinfully delicious treats that you can’t have?

Tarts and Pies rocked my world. The number and complexity of the fillings and decorations made them more challenging than anything else we’ve made.

Culinary School Update: Part Two

My new partner and I worked with surgical precision: organizing and executing the 3-4 pies/tarts that we made each day with the speed and coordination of Le Tour de France. We were a tour de force.

I mean if I do say so myself…

Culinary School Update: Part Two

So I thought tarts and pies were my favorite until we got to pâte feuilletée (puff pastry). I cannot resist the flakey buttery goodness that is puff pastry. You fill that with some almond cream or frangipane and I lose all sense of reason.

I haven’t seen my self-control (or waistline) in weeks!

Puff and I…we’re on a first name basis. So in love.

Culinary School Update: Part Two

These Sacristans are basically strips of puff pastry rolled up with sugar, chopped almonds and more sugar (what did I tell you yesterday? #sugarallthethings), and they are one of the most addicting sweets that I have ever had.

Like EVER. I ate 10 before we even left class. And then I took one of chef’s (thank you Chef Jürgen!). And then I had to taste test some of my partner’s (Thank you, Chiara!).
Just to be sure. I am here to learn after all!

Culinary School Update: Part Two

And this Gâteau Pithivier? Shut the front door. So good. Buttery, flakey Puff wrapped around frangipane, which is almond cream mixed with pastry cream. So sinfully delicious.

Culinary School Update: Part Two

But my absolute favorites were the Conversations (top right above). Adorable little Puff tartlettes filled with almond cream, topped with more buttery Puff, and then covered with royal icing. In the oven the royal icing hardens and becomes a sugary sweet crunchy topping that compliments the creamy almond filling and flakey buttery pastry.

I have a weakness for almond cream. Can you tell?

And the little Tartes aux Poires en Cages (bottom pictures above). Can you even stand the cuteness?

 

I have had Tarte Tatin; I have had Tarte Tatin in Paris.

I hated it. Mushy flavorless apples on a non-descript pastry base. Bleh.

Culinary School Update: Part Two

That is not this Tarte Tatin. Nope. The one we made has flambéed caramelized apple halves that are baked under a magical puff pastry crust. And it is mind-blowingly delicious. Caramel, apples, brandy, buttery flakey Puff. You get the picture…

Culinary School Update: Part Two

I suppose I shouldn’t skip pâte à choux entirely but I’m kind of Meh on it. There were practically riots in the women’s locker room when I voiced this strangely unpopular opinion, but there, I’ve said it. Meh.

If you like éclairs more than life itself (you know who you are…Chiara), then I apologize, but the dough is flavorless and the combination of creamy cold inside and puffy outside just isn’t my thang.

Oh! Except the filling for the Paris-Brest! Think of it like Nutella on crack. It is creamy and flavorful and I could not stop eating it. I almost piped it straight into my mouth. But I refrained because I’m a lady. Bad Lindsey. Bad!

Culinary School Update: Part Two

To top it all off I got to meet Jacques Torres and Ron Ben-Isreal. Ben-Isreal is a graduate of the ICC and Jacques Torres is the Pastry Dean. Both AH-mazing.

Are you still with me? I can’t possibly cover everything in one post, so to see what I make each day and just follow along on my adventure, follow me on Instagram.

48 Comments

  • sharon
    March 1, 2015 at 2:56 pm

    Amazing photos………..living vicariously through you and all the passion for cooking you have!

    Reply
    • AmericanCooking22
      March 1, 2015 at 4:00 pm

      Thank you much, Sharon!! I’m so happy you’re following along! 🙂

      Reply
  • C.C.
    March 1, 2015 at 3:16 pm

    Fantastic update! It sounds like you had a dream partner for that tarts and pies unit. ; )

    Reply
    • AmericanCooking22
      March 1, 2015 at 4:00 pm

      #humblebrag But, yes, I did 🙂

      Reply
  • Thao @ In Good Flavor
    March 1, 2015 at 4:33 pm

    How amazing is this!? Savor every minute of your adventure Linsey! I’m craving puff pastry…

    Reply
    • AmericanCooking22
      March 2, 2015 at 6:58 am

      Thank you, Thao! I’m just not trying to savor so much that it lingers forever on my hips, you know what I mean?! 😉

      Reply
  • Veronica@ downcakerylane
    March 1, 2015 at 5:03 pm

    Ok this post was too much, lol Now I have severe cravings!!! Everything looks AMAZING! What a wonderful experience!!

    Reply
    • AmericanCooking22
      March 2, 2015 at 6:57 am

      Thanks, Veronica!! Imagine how I feel all the time!

      Reply
  • Kayle (The Cooking Actress)
    March 1, 2015 at 5:16 pm

    OMGEEE ALL THE THINGS ARE SO YUMLICIOUS! esp. puff pastry…mmmmmm

    and I love that spot of Central Park-one of my absolute favorites!

    I’m so glad you’re having a great time!!

    Reply
    • AmericanCooking22
      March 2, 2015 at 6:57 am

      Thanks, Love! I know you are in my puff pastry camp! #puffforever

      Reply
  • Lelia Farr
    March 1, 2015 at 6:34 pm

    Sounds like you found your heaven!

    Reply
    • AmericanCooking22
      March 2, 2015 at 6:56 am

      Oh for sure!!

      Reply
  • Jessica @ Sweet Menu
    March 1, 2015 at 10:44 pm

    I am literally hanging on your every word. You, my dear, are living the dream! Cherish every second of this sugar coated pastry laden journey!

    Reply
    • AmericanCooking22
      March 2, 2015 at 6:56 am

      LOL my sugar coated pastry laden journey! You got it, Girl!!!

      Reply
  • Sarah@ Whole and Heavenly Oven
    March 2, 2015 at 8:18 am

    Somehow I missed the fact that you were even going to culinary school?! I haven’t been around here in FOREVER! Seriously though, girl! I freaking LOVE this post! It’s really really helpful for me to see all of this, because I’m starting culinary school in August! Are you getting a degree in pastry or all-around culinary? JW.
    Anywho, congrats on all you’ve accomplished so far, Lindsey! Everything you’ve got here is literally making me drool.
    Oh, and puff pastry FOR LIFE! 🙂

    Reply
    • AmericanCooking22
      March 3, 2015 at 7:05 am

      That is so exciting that you are starting in August! Where are you going? Are you doing culinary or pastry? I am getting a degree in just pastry. I’m so glad my post helped someone 🙂 You are going to be amazing though, I just know it!

      Reply
  • Ella-HomeCookingAdventure
    March 2, 2015 at 9:14 am

    Seems you had a wonderful experience. I am glad for you:)

    Reply
    • AmericanCooking22
      March 3, 2015 at 7:01 am

      Thanks, Ella!

      Reply
  • Chris @ Shared Appetite
    March 2, 2015 at 9:25 am

    I saw those Tartes aux Poires en Cages on your Instagram and I was super impressed. They are stunning! Sounds like you are having a really awesome experience… and you got to hang with Jacque Torres and the Sweet Genius himself! SO cool!

    Reply
    • AmericanCooking22
      March 3, 2015 at 7:01 am

      There is something about a lattice top that just makes the dish look super impressive! Torres was definitely a highlight! Like a major highlight!

      Reply
  • Phillip
    March 2, 2015 at 10:09 am

    This is exciting! Where are you taking classes?

    Reply
    • AmericanCooking22
      March 3, 2015 at 6:59 am

      I’m going to the International Culinary Center in NYC!

      Reply
  • Karen @ On the Banks of Salt Creek
    March 2, 2015 at 11:12 am

    What an amazing adventure/learning experience. I’m so glad you did this. And I’m so glad that I can learn from YOU 🙂

    Reply
    • AmericanCooking22
      March 3, 2015 at 6:59 am

      Thanks, Karen! And thank you so much for following along!

      Reply
  • marcie
    March 2, 2015 at 12:05 pm

    Lindsey, I wish I could just sit down and talk to you about all of this — I felt the same emotions about culinary school. It was so demanding, invigorating, and I had so much pressure on myself not to fail. The puff pastry unit was one of my favorites, and I had no idea I would love it so much! Making it is easier than I ever would’ve guessed, and I need to do it here at home soon…nice reminder here! I am a huge pate a choux lover, but I won’t hold that against you. haha Everything you’ve made looks beyond amazing and beautiful, and meeting those culinary icons must’ve been a dream come true! I loved reading every word here, and I’m glad you’re enjoying your experience! 🙂

    Reply
    • AmericanCooking22
      March 3, 2015 at 6:58 am

      I wish you could sit down and talk to me about it all too! I didn’t know I would love Puff so much either! Maybe we can talk over the phone or Skype or something sometime 🙂

      Reply
      • marcie
        March 3, 2015 at 6:52 pm

        let’s definitely make that happen! I will send you an email to set something up some time! 🙂

        Reply
        • AmericanCooking22
          March 10, 2015 at 6:53 am

          Sounds perfect!!!

          Reply
  • Susan
    March 2, 2015 at 4:40 pm

    I so enjoyed reading this! Thank you for sharing….everything looks so beautiful and delicious!

    Reply
    • AmericanCooking22
      March 3, 2015 at 6:57 am

      Thank you for being one of my oldest readers, Aunt Susan! I’m so happy to know you are following along! Love you! (And I need to come up to visit soon!)

      Reply
  • Josephine
    March 2, 2015 at 6:39 pm

    Loved reading this and thinking about you having so much fun. My only concern is that your future blog posts will beyond my ability to execute. I made your pot roast last week and enjoyed it for three nights. Yummm

    Reply
    • AmericanCooking22
      March 3, 2015 at 6:55 am

      Don’t worry about that, Josephine! First of all, you have skills and second, I will make everything seem easy! Mmmm pot roast. That reminds me to make that again!

      Reply
  • Stacy | Wicked Good Kitchen
    March 3, 2015 at 8:02 am

    Oh, girl! I love, love, LOVE this post! Thank you so much for taking the time to document everything…all the photos, the stories, the humor and uploading everything into one incredible post to share with us. You ROCK! Of course, my favorite photos are of you and Chefs Jacques Torres and Ron Ben-Isreal. Everything looks divine! Although I love all pastry, I must agree with you…PUFF rules! There is just no comparing the contrast of buttery, layered, crunchy goodness with creamy and absolutely sublime fillings! Thanks again for sharing, Linds. I’m wishing you every success in the coming weeks and look forward to part three! xo

    Reply
    • AmericanCooking22
      March 10, 2015 at 6:57 am

      I knew we were bff for a reason, Stacy! Puff forever! Thanks for reading and just being generally amazing! xoxox

      Reply
  • Kelly - Life Made Sweeter
    March 3, 2015 at 8:18 am

    I absolutely loved reading this update! I am so proud of you and can only imagine how intense but yet incredibly satisfying each class is. You are rocking it girl and I am seriously drooling over each and every one of these deserts here! Yay for puff pastry! So so cool that you got to meet Chef Jacques Torres and Ron Ben-Israel. Now I am totally the one that #jealous haha 🙂

    Reply
    • AmericanCooking22
      March 10, 2015 at 6:56 am

      Thanks so much, kelly! Meeting them was incredible! I am trying to make the most of school and being here but, quite frankly, I’m exhausted! xox

      Reply
  • Kristine @ Kristine's Kitchen
    March 3, 2015 at 10:55 am

    I love reading about your new adventures in culinary school! It’s like I get to live vicariously through you. 🙂 The treats you are making make me hungry every time I see them in social media updates. I look forward to seeing a few of them on the blog when you have time!

    Reply
    • AmericanCooking22
      March 10, 2015 at 6:55 am

      Thanks, Kristine! I do hope to post a few on the blog soon (ish).

      Reply
  • Liz
    March 3, 2015 at 9:01 pm

    Wow, what a marvelous baking journey you’re on! Every treat in your photos looks exquisite!! I wish I could sample them all!!!

    Reply
    • AmericanCooking22
      March 10, 2015 at 6:54 am

      Thanks, Liz! I’m doing the best I can with my iPhone, overhead lighting and a phone that dies after 3 minutes! lol

      Reply
  • Nora (A Clean Bake)
    March 4, 2015 at 4:57 pm

    I love this post so much! I know you’re probably exhausted and swamped but in retrospect it will be so fun to look back at these posts. Plus, I love living vicariously through you!

    Reply
    • AmericanCooking22
      March 10, 2015 at 6:52 am

      I do see it kind of like a mini journal! I’ve had every intention of keeping an actual journal but where is the time!??!

      Reply
  • Shashi at RunninSrilankan
    March 6, 2015 at 11:01 am

    Wait – you said this review was too long…but I want MORE!!!!
    Such a wonderful recap – I didn’t think I even liked puff pastry till I “Ate” it through your words – and pictures! Those Conversations do sound spectacular! And That Paris-Brest – good gawwwwsh! So glad and jealous you got to meet Jacques Torres!!! And I cannot wait for Culinary School Part 3 – but, you better shoot for a long post for real next time!

    Reply
    • AmericanCooking22
      March 10, 2015 at 6:46 am

      Aww thanks, Shashi! Anyone who thinks they don’t like puff pastry has never had the real deal. I am fully convinced. Unless they don’t like sweet buttery things, in which case we cannot be friends! 🙂

      Reply
  • Christin@SpicySouthernKitchen
    March 7, 2015 at 9:17 pm

    What an amazing experience and I think I gained 5 pounds just looking at those pictures! Can’t wait for your next update!

    Reply
    • AmericanCooking22
      March 10, 2015 at 6:44 am

      Haha! Imagine how I feel, Christin!!! Everything is just so good!

      Reply
  • Sophie
    April 11, 2015 at 5:15 am

    Yeah for you! I am so happy that you learned a lot, that you love doing it & enjoying it too!
    Your pastries & tarts all look spectacular, beautiful & pretty fabulous too!
    How cool for you to meet these cool pastry chefs! x

    Reply
    • AmericanCooking22
      April 11, 2015 at 8:43 am

      Thank you!!! It has been an amazing experience so far!

      Reply

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