Savory yeast breads, airy custards and elaborate tarts — it doesn’t sound like a bad way to spend three months. But the first graduating class of the Baking and Pastry Apprenticeship Certificate knows a thing or two about those effortless-seeming doughs and desserts. They take a lot of work to make.
“Baking is like science,” said Aaron Russell, an award-winning pastry chef who, along with Chef Lisbeth Rawl, instructs students in baking and pastry here at the College of Continuing and Professional Education. “But where most science is about experimenting to achieve various outcomes, baking and pastry can be less than forgiving. The students learned how to adapt and make it work.”
Classes are held in the kitchen while apprenticeships at area restaurants add a real-world component. The program culminates in a showcase where each student works on individual and shared dishes, presenting them to friends and family.
“I’ve learned a lot of technical skills,” said Annie Martin, who prepared a deconstructed lemon blueberry dessert for the showcase. Components included fresh blueberries, a graham cracker dome, coconut cream, lemon gelée and a crispy meringue.
Other showcase dishes included a mousse with flourless chocolate cake, by Michael Ferreri, and a strawberry sorbet with celery root ganache, Ritz cracker crumble and macerated strawberry and celery, by Grace DelGiudice.
Dean Barbara Calhoun, who attended the event, congratulated the students on their achievement.
“You show your love through the food you prepare,” she said. “It really has truly been a wonderful experience. We are very honored that you are part of our program.”
Now as graduates, armed with an understanding of the baking and pastry arts and a not just a few tricks up their sleeves, the students have big plans for the future. Most want to work in the field they love.
“This was a dream,” Islande Cadely said of taking the class. “I like baking. I’m becoming a master in it. For now, I’m looking for a job in baking and pastry, but eventually, I want to open my own bakery.”
And when she does, we’ll be first in line.