Thursday, September 12, 2013

Busy Week!

It's been a crazy busy week. When you get it all laid out, it doesn't seem like much, but there has been a lot of information processed over the past week. I already mentioned what we did on Monday, but just to recap, we put together 3 pies; strawberry, cherry, and blueberry. It doesn't seem like much (I mean, you work all day and only end up with 3 pies... and they're not even cooked?!) but it literally took all day. Of course, we had to get used to the layout of the kitchen, find and measure all our ingredients, etc. It takes time! And my feet were killing me! We have to wear steel cap shoes and I (stupidly) didn't break mine in before hand.

Tuesday was actually a half day because there was a Welcome Back ceremony-type thing planned for the afternoon. So first thing in the morning, we put our pies in the oven. Then we mixed up a batch of pâte sucrée which is sort of like a sugar cookie dough for pie shells, and we made caramel syrup, which is going to be used to make some sort of pear dessert [still not sure what the finished product will be, but Wednesday the teacher was boiling the pears in the syrup...]. We had to be done and have everything cleaned up (cooled pies in the fridge) by 11 in order to get to the Welcome Back program, which was for the whole campus. There was a lunch of sandwiches and veggies & dip prepared by the senior cooking students, and carrot cake & a sort of apple danish made by the senior pastry students. Then there was a little multiple choice quiz about the school, and the table with the most points won something. It was kind of... boring. My table wasn't much fun.

Wednesday some of the cooking students were making breakfast foods à la carte (3 choices), and we were invited to eat the product (for $3 each)! So that was a little break mid-morning. I chose the 3 crepes with maple syrup. I don't typically like crepes, I much prefer pancakes, but these were pretty good. The rest of the day was spent working our pâte sucrée into a fluted tart pan (not easy! I had to take 3 tries before I got it, and I was nearly in tears from the stress), and putting together, baking and decorating a pistachio cherry tart. They look really cool, I'll see if I can get a picture of one tomorrow! And we got to sample the fruit pies we had made earlier. Yum! The pastry counter also opened yesterday, so we sold some goodies, and we were able to buy our pies. Oh yes, and at one point in the afternoon, we learned how to make paper cones for decorating, and then used them to practice writing with deco gel, to figure out our own style.

Today was a theory/exam day for the hygiene and safety module. The school also pays for us to receive the training and write a government certification exam for health & safety (MAPAQ), which is required in most professional kitchens in Quebec. So we spent the morning studying for the MAPAQ exam, and in the afternoon wrote the school exam. This module is absolutely mandatory, if you fail it you can't continue the program, for obvious reasons. So we were all a bit over-stressed. But when I left, everyone so far had passed, myself included. So that is 2 modules down, only 17 to go! ;) [Side note: only 1 person failed the exam, but she will rewrite it and it shouldn't be a problem.]

Tomorrow would have been another theory day, but because we took less time than given to complete the hygiene module, we get to be in the kitchen instead. No idea what we'll be making!

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