My slew of classes started last quarter of 2012, the first class that I attended was at Chocolate Lovers in Cubao. I took up a lesson for Sugar Free Brownie Class, since my dad is a diabetic so that means the chances that we become diabetic in the future is high since that is a hereditary disease. I figured the earlier I start learning how to make sugar free sweets the better. Moreover, I also noticed a trend here in Manila that people are growing more health conscious whenever I sell my creations during the holiday season. My patrons would always ask if its sugar free or do I have a sugar free version and I don’t. I tried experimenting with Splenda before and the brownies that came out with that product are inedible. I would have loved to keep experimenting but Splenda is way too expensive. In this class I learned about sugar substitute Isomalt and coco sugar. These are sugar replacers that behave and feel like real sugar because they are in granular form, unlike Splenda which is in flakes form. Honestly, compared to other classes that I attended this was a far inferior class in terms of all the goodies I get to take home. The ingredients used were inferior as well, inferior in the sense that instead of using regular unsalted butter, the recipe called for half shortening half margarine and some recipes even used all shortening! It’s the first time I ate a brownie made with half shortening and half margarine. The instructor said it so to keep the cost down, especially if we were going to sell them in the future. I’m no Paula Deen but please bring out the butter! I was so appalled! Shortening in brownies? I mean I’m not a food snob but heck if I’m going to eat something fattening like a brownie I want it something that is packed with flavor! I left the class thinking that it’s a good thing I didn’t pay full price for this.
After my disappointment with the class in the Castle, I went back to my true and tested Heny Sison lifestyle class. Based on past experiences, chef instructors don’t skimp on the ingredients so we really got a taste how it should look and taste like when we would bake them at home. And for some reason I noticed that people who attends classes here are more eager I guess, they freely ask questions so the classes are livelier. Moreover, every time I finished attending a class here I often feel that I amass huge knowledge. The number of recipe that I get per session is also a lot thus it’s well worth every penny and if ever I do get in a though baking situation in the future, I can attend the class again as long as they are still offering the class. Isn’t that fun!
As I have mentioned on this blog before I had a fruitful long weekend few months back. That weekend bore a sweet fruit and won THIRD price! As a prize I got to attend TWO weekend classes at Enderun Collage in McKinlley Hill. It’s a private cooking school that I had once inquired on their pastry program but my schedule never permits me to go since the class that I want takes up whole 3 months all weekday classes only. Luckily with this price I could sort of attend that prestigious school. I picked two classes Sachertorte and Parisian macarons. I was giddy for weeks I could not wait to attend.
The first time I stepped in the school I was so amaze how massive it is and people are running everywhere, everyone was quite busy. With no one minding me or ushering me to the right direction I just went ahead and climb the glorious red carpeted stairway. What awaits upstairs are high tech kitchen labs filled with every kitchen gadget you could imagine! There were more than 5 kitchen labs I think. Amazing!
I think I looked like a lost puppy when a kind student there ushered me to the right direction. What greeted me was this mild mannered Austrian chef and told me to wait for the others since I was way too early! See how excited I was! As I was waiting I got a chance to see other enrolled students who are busy preparing vast number of desserts for an event that evening. I was floored in how much quantity of ingredients there were! Vats and vats of cream and milk, huge trays of fresh eggs were stacked together in one corner, massive block of chocolates were being chopped and industry sized rich creamy block of butter are being cut into cubes. Ack!!! I felt like I died and went to foodie heaven!
The class started promptly at 9 and ended quite early at 12 noon which is a good thing because the school is located in a remote area I don’t think there’s food anywhere and I have no idea where the campus cafeteria is. It’s actually hands on class and not just a demo which is nice. We would watch and listen to the chef and after we would go to our workstation and do what the chef demonstrated earlier. The chef was super nice and he has this nice Austrian accent that I like very much. He was very helpful to the extent that I felt like was rushing me, instead of just teaching me how to do it he would grab my bowl and do it himself while explaining what he is doing of course. Since the sachertorte took many steps to finish; there is the cake, apricot frosting then the glaze, I again I felt as if Chef was rushing things when it seems like we were taking too much time making the cake batter he would ask the pastry students who are around to help us. The students would then just takes over and do out task. I was like ugh ok but that sucks! I’m there to learn and not just watch, if I wanted to watch I would have just stayed at home and watched the telly. I was expecting glorious looking sachertorte meaning with all the bells and whistles but what I got was a plain looking glazed cake, no decoration no nothing. What an utter failure! I took my tired self-home and slept the whole afternoon since I woke up early for that class.
Class two was Parisian Macarons! I’ve been meaning to make it myself for a long time now but it seems like too much of a trouble I cannot find ground almonds. The chef instructor for this class was Chef Cy, he is a big and cuddly looking Filipino chef who is very talkative. He talked the whole morning and answer lots of questions about the do’s and don’ts of making a macaron. This was a fun class we got a chance to experiment with different colors and flavors and we get to take them home in these pretty macaron boxes. Before this class I never understood why people say they are very addictive but now I recognized their addictive powers. They are tiny little things that are crisp on the outside and chewy in the middle. Imagine how small little things like these can pack a lot of wallop in the flavor arena. I think I must have eaten more than my share of these. Now I must give them a try one of these days!
I do wish that Enderun would offer Weekend classes for the Certificate in Baking and Pastry. I might not be a professional pastry chef but I'm very interested to be one, what's keeping me from doing so was the schedule. Most culinary school that offers Saturday classes are not that extensive and there are few choices to choose from.
Now that 2012 is over, my back-to-back baking class is over, I must admit I kind of miss it. Baking classes are something I look forward to in the end of the week. Hopefully 2013 would bring more exciting classes to come. I cannot wait! Happy Post New Year everyone!