On Monday I will be starting The French Pastry School’s L'Art de la Pâtisserie program. I will be going to school full time (Monday-Friday) for six months. The school is located downtown Chicago.
If you’ve been a long-time reader, you know how long I’ve been waiting for this. I was wanting this even before I started writing this blog five years ago. I’ve always loved food and cooking, but my appreciation grew when I visited France for the first time during my senior in high school. I’m not going to lie and say that everything I ate there was amazing. Some of it was bad, but some of it was very good and memorable. I focused on the food there more than anything. I can’t remember a lot of things about that trip, but I do remember all my meals and where I had them. I remember the cassis ice cream, the pain au chocolate and flaky croissants, the apple tart and the chocolate mousse. I remember visiting a candy shop in Nice and how exciting that was.
Something happened on that trip – I’d found my calling. Flying back home, I knew what I wanted to do with my life and haven’t looked back since. I can’t think of any other career that I would be so passionate about. As long as I’m working with food, I’ll be happy.
I didn’t know then that I wanted to go into pastry. That’s something I’ve figured out since then. I love cooking AND baking, so it was hard for me to decide. But I’m not fileting fish and making beurre blanc every night. In fact, I don’t even like fish! There, I said it. I’m not cut out to be a chef.
I love baking cakes, cookies and pies every night and it never gets old. I love eating cakes, cookies and pie every night and it never gets old. Have I mentioned I have a huge sweet tooth?
Deciding on a school was difficult; it has taken me years to pick the right one and save enough money (since graduating high school). I had a couple of options I considered.
-The French Pastry School (obviously)
-The Institute of Culinary Education (New York City)
-The French Culinary Institute (New York City)
-The Culinary Institute of America (Hyde Park, New York)
-The Notter School of Pastry Arts (Orlando, Florida)
-Escoffier (Boulder, Colorado)
-Johnson & Wales (Denver, Colorado)
…and more. The application process was basically filling out a simple application and writing a check. The French Pastry School required an application, transcripts, essays, and written recommendations. I’m glad, too. I want to go to school with students who are as serious as I am. I’m grateful for my friend, Sue, of Food Network Musings who wrote me a recommendation for school. Thank you so much, Sue!
Other determining factors:
-Their six month pastry program was exactly what I was looking for.
-They have an impressive alumni.
-Lower tuition than than most of the schools (although still steep)
-Lower cost of living than New York.
-Close enough to home where I could still visit.
-The school kitchens were huge, clean and organized.
-And finally, watching Kings of Pastry sealed the deal.
Over the six months I’ll be covering Food Service Safety & Sanitation, Breads & Breakfast Pastries. Sugar Confectionery, Chocolate Confectionery, Chocolate and Sugar Decoration and Sculpture. Ice Cream and Sorbet, Plated Desserts, French Cakes and Tarts, Petits Fours and Miniature Pastries, Celebration Cake Making and Decorating.
It’s important to me to do well and get a good job from this experience. I’m planning on blogging every day after school and showing you what I learn. That’s what I’m hoping, anyway. That’s important for you to know because my blog will be changing for the six months I’m in school. I won’t have a lot of recipes to share with you since I’ll be baking so much at school and won’t want to bake when I get home. Or maybe I will…. but probably not. Hopefully you’ll like the pastry school posts and a few Chicago posts thrown in there.
I hope you all have a good weekend! I’m off to look for some flats for the first week of school. We won’t be in the kitchens, so we have to wear business-casual with closed toed shoes. I only have sandals, sneakers and boots! Must look my best on the first day of school.