I'm an evening student in the Classic Pastry Arts program here at FCI. Food and writing are two of my passions in life, and I'm excited to bring you The Nate Update, snapshots from my life in and out of class.
Magnolia trees are popping out in big white and pink blooms all around my block this week, getting me all excited for spring to advance a bit further. My apartment is stocked with spring flowers as well—cherry branches loaded with puffy blossoms, daffodils, and tulips are positioned at key points in my pad to provide little pick-me-ups as I pass by; I love spring and its many colors and scents.
The second week of class brought with it a heavy dose of tarts and tartlets, further heightening my fling with spring as we learned the proper way to cut fruit to top both fresh and baked fruit tarts. I’d always had a terrible time dissecting orange segments from the pith without mangling them into indistinguishable bits, but after Chef Cynthia’s demonstration and some practice with a sharp knife both in class and at home, I think I’ve finally got it down. We also picked up a useful tip for loosening the skin around kiwi fruit by cutting off both ends with a knife and then pushing a spoon underneath the skin and twisting the fruit around it in a circular motion until the skin is removed.
Tarte alsacienne, pot de crème, chocolate heaven cookies, vanilla crescents, and fig newtons also made appearances on the schedule, which was much faster paced than the first week. Besides having to learn a wide array of pastry techniques in a relatively short time period, one of the hardest things I’m going to have to battle and correct is my tendency to leave a path of destruction of dirty bowls, utensils, and countertops when I’m in my own kitchen—something that won’t work well both in The FCI classroom and in an eventual workplace. And so, while it’s still early on in the program, I’ve been making a conscious effort to work clean and stay organized. So far, so good, although I’m sure I still qualify as sloppy by most standards! I’m working on it...
We finished up the week with another sanitation lecture from Chef Guido. It’s one of the last ones before our first test on sanitation that takes place on Thursday of week three—wish me luck!