Thursday, October 28, 2010

Last Weeks at FCI

Whew, this past month has been a total blur, which I guess explains why I've been MIA. In the past 4 weeks, I've completed many major end of class projects at FCI, graduated, quit my job, went to Disney World, and started a new job!! So I'm sorry that I've been neglecting my blog, but hopefully I will have more time now to be updating. I'll get to all the explanations in a bit, but first let's start with the projects!

Candy Bar Cake

Our first major project was to create a menu for a fictional restaurant of our choice. My restaurant was a dessert wine bar on the Hoboken waterfront, called Sweet Surrender. From my menu, my chefs selected two desserts for me to make - the Signature Candy Bar Cake and the American Classics Threefold. My threefolds were 3 related desserts on one plate, and the American Classics one was carrot cake, pineapple upside down cake, and apple crisp. The candy bar cake was flourless chocolate cake layered with chocolate mousse and a roasted peanut caramel, covered in chocolate ganache and then chocolate glaze. I served it with a caramel sauce and peanut butter ice cream. We had two days to prep and plate our desserts, a real challenge for me being as I had 4 separate desserts I needed to make. Everything went really well though, and it came out really well.

American Classics Threefold

After menu projects, we were on to our wedding cakes. The Level 1 students picked the theme, 1920's inspired with red, black, and white decor. I didn't want to do a traditional wedding cake with flowers, and pearls, etc. I decided to use poured sugar to created a mosaic border and blown sugar spheres to cascade down the cake. It took me a full class, 5 hours, to blow all of the sugar balls. It's a process similar to blowing glass, but with edible materials. The days that we did our cakes could not have been more humid, which meant shortly after putting my cake together, it was a sweating, dripping mess. Fortunately it held up for grading though.


When our wedding cakes were completed, we moved right into our final exam. Our final consisted of a written exam, covering everything we learned in the program, and a practical exam where we made five items we drew at random and created an edible stand to display them all on. The theme for our stands was "space." For mine, I did a stand with the sun and planets cut out and sugar poured into the holes. On the stand I had rockets, a moon man, shooting stars, and the moon. My final didn't go as well as I had hoped it would, but at least I finished it and graduated!



Graduation was really nice, with a lot of our instructors showing up to wish us farewell and send us off with their words of wisdom. I surprised myself and graduated with honors, meaning I had a 95 grade average for the entire program. I know grades mean very little, but personally it was reassuring being as I had invested so much into the program and given up so much to make it happen. While in school, I worked full time, attended class, maintained a small side business, and had a restaurant internship every Saturday night and some Sundays for over 3 months! It was tough, but well worth it in the end. Not long after graduation, I got hired at a very good restaurant in the city and started there this week!


I did it!

7 comments:

Anonymous said...

Congrats on graduating!! Thanks for sharing the Pastry Arts journey :) I can't wait to read about where your career goes and the amazing projects you do!! Keep up the good work!

Valerie said...

Hi!

My name is Valerie and I just wanted to let you know that in the 6 months you have influenced my life so much! Haha I know that sounds weird considering we've never met, but I stumbled across you're blog in the summer and it is such an inspirtation. I just started making my own cupcakes from scratch and realized how much I loved doing it, and reading all about your adventures, it's given me the confidence I needed to go out and also get my degree in Baking and Pastry Arts. I won't be able to do it until I graduate from college, but at least I'm getting started on the path. My aim one day is to open up my own bakery that focuses mainly on cupcakes and that is honestly thanks to you. :)

Thank you so much for this :)

Val

Tara said...

Thank you guys! I'm really honored that people (other than my parents!) have read my blog and followed me on this incredible journey! The fact that I've managed to inspire someone is an incredible feeling, and I wish you so much success with your own pastry career!

Kendall said...

Congratulations, Tara!! That is awesome. As I work through my decision for whether or not to got to culinary school, stories like these are great to read. I have also found a lot of great information at this blog--- www.culinaryschoolguide.net

lyndsay said...

that is so awesome!!! i have looked online at the french culinary institute out of curiousity... great to see your projects and congratulations on graduating!

i love your wedding cake... it looks like oodles of balloons... ^__^

Summer {athena in the middle} said...

just came across your blog. i will be starting at FCI in May. i love reading all your past posts about your time there!

Nils said...

Congratulations!! : )

 
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