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After last week’s break from posting, I was excited to get back in the kitchen.  Fortunately, it was a giant kitchen at the French Culinary Institute for’s Fall Conference this past Sunday where I volunteered for the day.  I was assigned to a kitchen so I wasn’t able to see everything but demos that came to me were a great sample of the day.  Here’s a brief overview for how it went:

I was a little relieved when I arrived in the morning and found out that my first demo would be with FCI pastry-chef instructor, Kir Rodriguez for Truffles: The Final Frontier.  As a staff member, he would likely have everything he needed on site and as a former Franciscan monk he wouldn’t get too upset if he didn’t.  From the moment he selected some lilting classical music to play in the background while he spoke, I knew it was going to be good.  Then he made white chocolate passion fruit truffles dipped in sesame seeds, gingerbread truffles and dark chocolate truffles infused with limoncello that were great, proving it’s impossible not to like someone with a soundtrack.


Having eased into the morning, Adaptations: Changing Tried-and-True Recipes to Achieve New Flavor Profiles with Zak Miller, corporate pastry chef for Anthos, Mia Dona & Kefi, could not have been more different.  It was all quart containers, boiling cream and whirring Kitchen Aids.  With only two hours for each demo, we were well into the second hour with no dessert in sight, it was all chilling or baking.  The only one who betrayed no anxiety about the time was Chef Zak who enthusiastically answered questions like he had all the time in the world.  Of course, he knew something because all at once we had, as promised …

Roasted Apples with Apple Cream, Cinnamon Ice Cream and Graham Cracker Sable

and then…

Carrot with Ginger Ice Cream and 5 Spice Sable


Thassos Sable with Orange and Coriander Ice Cream

for everyone.

The final workshop was led by Emily Wallendjack from The Cookshop.  Definitely the smallest and possibly the youngest, the first word that comes to mind describing Chef Emily is precision.  With less time to prep, she still finished ahead of schedule.  I’d explain but a picture of the devil’s food cake, gianduja crunch, prailine crunch, frozen peanut nougat & chocolate shell candy bar that she created speaks for itself.

A perfect finish.

5 Comments Post a comment
  1. This sounds like so much fun 🙂

    21 October 2009
  2. gastronomad #

    I’m so glad you enjoyed the event – wish I would have been there for Chef Kir’s program – he is one of the greatest guys ever.

    21 October 2009
  3. hungrysofia #

    Chef Kir was really wonderful. I wasn’t sure how to describe it but he had a way of using emotional terms to explain techniques for working with the chocolate that made perfect practical sense.

    21 October 2009

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