NOT a food blog
I was having dinner with my friend, Joan, a couple of weeks back when she brought up the topic of blogging and particularly of my blog posts on my disastrous attempts at baking. Not all of us are made for baking, and not all of us are cut out to be famous bloggers. Who needs that anyway? (being a renowned blogger, that is) One wrong word, one humorous parody, and in this country, you could just end up in court. Sigh. We’ve lost our sense of humour.
To Joan, my Baking 101 series may not be back (touch wood ar) because baby, I’ve been attending classes. I received an invitation from the Academy of Pastry Arts Malaysia to attend a class on baking macarons and I thought I’d accept and join the super-elite group of people who can wear T-shirts that say I Can Has Macarons. I wanted to learn the intricacies behind such delicate objects, and most of all, I wanted to learn why they cost so much in the shops. And so I headed to Thrifty’s PJ where the new school was located on the second floor, spotless and shiny and oh so errr…germfree. (Rhyming isn’t my forte.) Housed in an 8,000 square foot area (and pastry kitchens in a 4,200 square foot area), there is a bakery room, chocolate room, pastry kitchen, pastry room, chef lounge and a classroom where classes are conducted for both professionals and amateurs. Brand spanking new worktops with overhead power points dot the main teaching room for students to enjoy a hands-on experience. It was rather intimidating for a non-baker like me, but for experienced chefs like Fatboybakes, Michael Elfwing, Aly and Babe_KL, they looked like they were quite at home amidst the industrial steel surroundings. My test came when I was asked to pipe the macaron mix onto the silicone sheets, but being left handed and a baboon, I fumbled and dripped all over, showing how inefficient I was at gripping a flaccid piping bag.
Chef Guillaume Lejeune, the Director of Pastry Studies for the Academy of Pastry Arts Malaysia taught us how to make macarons, employing the French meringue technique, with a raspberry ganache filling. (The steps look easier compared to the Italian meringue technique which I was given to understand includes a step where sugar syrup has to be heated then drizzled into egg white while it is being whipped…the stress!) Through a series of unfortunate events, my group’s macarons collapsed with craters in the centre (they were removed from the oven a little too early) while the other group’s macarons came out with the right texture but without the lovely “foot” that was visible on my group’s macarons. Ah well, not so easy after all!
At the end of the class, we were all treated to a lovely desserts feast made by the chefs of the academy.
For those who are curious and would like to know more, the Academy will be hosting an Open Day on Saturday, 4 September 2010 from 11.00am to 5.00pm. There will be demonstrations, tastings and displays, and you will also get a chance to enjoy a tour of the facility. At 12.15pm, there will be a Macarons demonstration, and at 3pm there is a Financier demonstration.
Thank you, Hanne, Jade, Chef Guillame, Chef Matthias, and Chef Tan (and Tangechi for passing on the invitation) for showing me that I can *almost* make macarons too!
Academy of Pastry Arts Malaysia
Lot 2-A, 2nd Floor, Wisma Thrifty,
No 19 Jalan Barat, 46200 PJ
Tel: 03-7960 3846 / 7960 3848
Future classes are as follows:-
Certificate of Intermediate Pastry Program
Next intake 15th September 2010
The professional Pastry Program includes:
– Sanitation, Science of Baking
– Bakery and Artisan Breads
– Chocolate Works
– Classic Cakes, Tarts and Tartlets
– Art of Plating Dessert
– Ice Cream, Gelato, Sorbet and Frozen dessert
– Chocolate Pralines and Candies
– Mini French Pastries and petit Fours
– Sugar Work and Pastillage
Chef Guillaume Lejeune
3 months, full-time, Monday to Friday, 9am-5pm.
Theoretical and practical training at the Academy of Pastry Arts Malaysia.
3 months industrial training, in hotels or pastry industry arranged by the Academy.
Special short term courses for Beginners, Pastry Enthusiasts and Pastry Professionals.
For Pastry Professionals- learn from the World Champions:
15th -17th November Plated Dessert, Modern French Pastry &Cakes / Chef Michel Willaume / RM2000
14th- 17th October Sugar Class / Chef Stephane Treand / RM2,000
For Beginners, Pastry Enthusiasts and anybody who wants to learn part-time:
18th September (Sat, half day) Chocolate making for beginners / Chef Matthias Schuebel / RM150
25th September (Sat, half day) Cup cake decorating for business, birthday or other occasions / Chef Matthias SchuebeL / RM150
2nd & 3rd October (Sat & Sun) Tea cookies and bars / Chef Matthias Schuebel / RM500
23rd October (Sat, half day) Cheese cake specialities / Chef Matthias Schuebel / RM150
30th & 31st October (Sat & Sun) Tea cookies and bars / Chef Matthias Schuebel / RM500
13th November (Sat, full day) Christmas bakery / Chef Matthias Schuebel / RM250
Food, for me, is a means to an end and not an end in itself.
Food, for me, represents the love of family, the fellowship of friends, and the community and communality it brings.