Tag Archives: Event Credits

Event Credit: Recreational Class – Techniques of Baking Level 1 Week 2, Pies and Tarts

The school requires all students to participate in our of class activities ranging from stages at restaurants, volunteering for culinary events or helping out with recreational events among other things. For my first activity, I volunteered to help out with a recreational class on the pastry side on Pies and Tarts. I thought it would be a great review following my class on Pâte Brisée, but as luck would have it, class was cancelled and it ended up being an intro to a rescheduled class.

I’m particularly interested in helping out with recreational classes because after school, I would like to go into teaching myself. I enjoy teaching others and classes are part of a grand vision I have about educating people about food, helping them eat healthier and making a positive impact on society.

I arrived at the school an hour before class and met Chef Elise. She was incredibly welcoming and introduced me to the other two assistants for the day. She had arrived earlier than us and had already started putting things out for the students. We immediately began working to help her out.

Setup:

Setup was straight forward. I helped measure out some ingredients for pâte sucrée using a baker’s scale. Plus one for new experiences!

Baking Scale

With everything measured, I got to watch over the big stand mixer and bring the pâte sucrêe together.

Pâte Sucrée Mixing Pâte Sucrée Mixing Pâte Sucrée Mixing Pâte Sucrée Mixing

The class was held in the pastry kitchen which is not a kitchen I spend time in. I required a little extra time in terms of finding items I needed. I set out some flour for rolling the dough, aprons and side towels for the students.

Lecture:

The lecture was a brief overview for the students of the dough and the recipes. Chef Elise provided an amazing overview on how to work with the dough, add water and check for doneness all by hand. Each student was allowed to select which recipe they wanted to do. It was briefer that the lectures we normally get in class, but that is understandable. We aren’t going into food history and science here. These people are here for technique and a challenge and to make friends among other things.

Class:

As I’ve mentioned before, a new kitchen can be tough. It’s harder when you’re being asked questions about where to find tools and not familiar with it. I enjoyed helping everyone that asked with where to find tools, the best way to measure something out, assistance with the ovens and more. Time went by quickly as I moved from one area to the next helping out. It wasn’t as difficult as I thought it would be, but part of teaching is getting questions you didn’t expect.

Post Class:

After class was over I had the opportunity to talk with Chef Elise about the class, the techniques covered and teaching. I asked for her perspective on learning, where to get experience and how she decided to go into teaching. She was very open with her learning process, where she’s worked and suggestions for getting the experience I needed.

Key Observations:

  • Mistakes happen. Students will measure dry ingredients with wet measures and wet ingredients with dry measures.
  • I really enjoyed the relaxed atmosphere of class. Everyone was there to learn and have fun.
  • Some students definitely have the idea of attending school in the professional programs and really enjoy to talking with assistants.
  • It was tricky to stand over students or around them and not have them feel like they were being judged.
  • Skill levels vary. Teaching hands on involves adapting to the student skill level.
  • I’m super happy I got to help out in this class. It was an easier than expected introduction into teaching.

Week 2 – Meeting with Career Services

As students, we are required to visit with Jen in Career Services during our first month at school to discuss our aspirations, understand how to use the student portal, understand how to obtain our event credits to obtain experience outside of the classroom and to discuss how we can best use our time in the class to match our goals. The focus of our conversation was matching my out of class event credits with my desire to go into teaching. I’ve always enjoyed learning about cooking, and then passing that information onto others. As a generally quiet person, I can talk for hours and be animated about food in conversation.

Jen suggested getting experience through stages and by helping out with recreational classes. Essentially a stage (pronounced stazhje) is unpaid shift or internship in a restaurant or other food related position where you’re thrown into a full day of a job as an audition or learning experience. It exposes you to different techniques, kitchen environments, teams and styles of food. It is derived from a French word stagiaire meaning trainee, apprentice or intern. The recreational classes will provide me with the experience of observing a class, seeing how technique is taught without being so immersed in it that I can step back and think, and also hear questions that are asked to increase student understanding. Both should compliment my goal of teaching.

This was a really useful meeting, especially as I immerse myself in this new industry, one totally different than Advertising.