It’s been a while. Of course, as usual, my life has been busy — sometimes it’s hard to believe that so much time has passed between now and my last update.
Over the past couple months I’ve had a few immensely rewarding school experiences.
I had the chance to stage (pronounced to rhyme with the “rage” in garage) at a very nice restaurant downtown during Dine-Out Vancouver. I got to meet some great people and have fun as a plating volunteer at an award-winning food and wine pairing event.
Then I made an orange-buttermilk cake with vanilla and marmalade mousse topping and won a little cupcake-making competition in my school, so they sponsored me to participate in Vancouver’s annual Cupcake Throwdown fundraiser for the H.A.V.E. Café.
After seeing what a great cause H.A.V.E. was, I tried to donate some money to the Café through the school, but my executive chef suggested that I organize a charity bake sale to raise even more funds, so me and some classmates did that, too!
Also, between the Throwdown and the charity bake sale, I did a mini iron chef competition — the “secret ingredient” was eggs!
Each team of six students were given one egg each and told to present it in a different way within 15 minutes. The other pastry girl on my team traded her yolk for my white and we made a dessert together: bright yellow lemon curd nestled in a toasted meringue circle right on a plate (so it looked just like an over-sized fried egg).
We didn’t win, but doing an iron chef competition was amazing — the energy, the frantic rush, the teamwork was all way too much fun! As a pastry person, that was probably my first and last chance to do an iron chef. Proper dessert isn’t normally something you can make in 15 minutes.
Lastly, there’s a chocolate competition coming up, and I plan to participate in that, too.
I’m going to modify one of my current desserts, a molten dark chocolate cake, caramelized white chocolate ice cream, passion fruit ganache, and chocolate cookie crumbs, because the molten dark chocolate cake belongs to Michel Roux and the caramelized white chocolate ice cream belongs to David Lebovitz.
Best of all, I’ve finally found my food niche: chocolate and confections.
I love candy — making it, eating it, feeding it to other people, whatever! All those little close-ups of candy sprinkled throughout this post are some of the treats I’ve made over the past couples weeks. Sugar and chocolate are a surprisingly versatile medium, but very challenging at times, too!
Chances are good I’ll need more schooling in order to be a proper chocolatier and confectioner, but it’s something I’ve really set my heart on.
One of my chef instructors gave me a vast boost of encouragement when he told me the other day that he thought I should set up my own business in town, but I don’t feel quite ready yet.
I think I need more life experience, more exposure to other cultures and places and flavours for inspiration before I can truly be great at what I do.
In the meantime, stay tuned!