Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Diamants- Le Cordon Bleu Days 2 and 3

My second day at LCB started out with 2 demo classes by Chef Cott. The Chef is very patient, fun-loving, and loves to joke around. On one of the demo classes, the Chef made classic French cookies, including diamants and lunettes that are shaped like eye glasses.  For those who have been baking, this class does not seem to be particularly impressive or fancy BUT wait till you witness how quickly and organized the Chef works. 

In as short as 2 hours, the Chef managed to make over 15 dozens of cookies of around 10 different styles. Super quick. This also means that it is extremely difficult for us students to follow. For a moment, the Chef is making the dough for cookie A, and then in another second heś cutting out shapes for cookie B. Whatś worse, the school only provides us a list of ingredients but not the instructions, so we have to watch and listen to the Chef intently, jot down everything we need to do and bring for our practical class in the afternoon or on the next day. One thing I really like about Chef Cott, is that he often smiles at us mischievously and asks in a squeeky voice ´Do you want a little surprise?´ and of course expects us to say Óui, Chef!´. Then he will always happily show us extra techniques or interesting shapes or things that we have never thought of doing with a dough!

Finally our turn to bake on Day 3. Chef Patrick was there to supervise us this time. Very good-looking and well-built French man. Heś a cuisine chef, not specialized in patisserie but I guess diamants are so basic that every chef here knows the recipe by heart.

So, first things first. In the practical classroom, itś war. No time to sweet talk. Once we enter the classroom, we have to get all our equipment out and place everything in a steel tray to keep the station neat. Then we start weighing the ingredients, getting our hands dirty, running across the rooms to get the baking sheets and cooling racks, and of course, getting lost in a new environment just to find sugar.

We learnt the technique of sablage, mixing in the butter with flour. As the Chef has taught us, itś like ćounting money´. Then we use the heels of our hands to push the dough to make sure everything is properly incorporated. When the Chef says something to us, 80% in French, he always ends with a ´dáccord?´ meaning ´understood?' and no matter if you understand it or not, we always have to reply Óui, Chef!' immediately to show respect and acknowledgement of the instructions.

My first practical class went pretty well. My diamants were well baked, cute and with the sugar around the edge, they do shine like diamonds! No wonder they give it the name diamants- diamonds!

By the way, if you know me well enough, you should know Iḿ more into cuisine/ savory food more. I have been cooking quite a lot of savory food here in my little Paris appartment (living with host) and walking around different fascinating open markets here. Will update you on my life outside LCB too soon.

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