Culinary School Here I Come (83) Plated Dessert Competition & A Cleaned Out Locker

Wow, Friday was the last instructional day for me. I have 1 final left and I have to turn in a portfolio. I cleaned out my locker on Friday, packed up my bag and left the building for the last time. So dramatic, but true. It was pretty exciting to be inches away from done, but at the same time I won’t see a bunch of people that I have seen almost daily for close to 2 years.

It was a very emotionally draining week for me as Tuesday was our final Baking Competition. Our entry is Carrot Cake; Traditional and Modern.  My partner and I had been practicing for a while and had saved up all of the components for the dish. On Monday we decided to do a dry run. It turned out pretty okay.

Everything held up pretty well, except for the carrot tuile. We made it on Thursday and held it in a container with limestone. That didn’t help. It was like a limp noodle.

So Tuesday came. Our start time was at 7:15 and plate up was at 11:15. The first disaster, besides my partner, was that my partner only made 1 copy of our portfolio. We were supposed to bring 4, 1 for each judge. So she spent the first half hour making copies while I was getting our station ready. I knew she was going to be a problem and I assigned her only 1 task to do and she screwed it up. Wait, it gets better a little later.

I printed a task list for the day and everything went as planned. The carrot cake was baked perfectly, the carrot sherbert turned out really well. I couldn’t get the damn brix reading to drop below 40. I think the whole brix reading is a crock of crap. Anyway, I was mostly stressed about making the Cream Cheese Semifreddo. As you recall, a semifreddo is the most difficult of the still frozen desserts (remember this fact; semifreddo is one of the most difficult of the still frozen desserts) because it contains all 3 foams; pate a bombe, Italian meringue and whipped cream. It turned out perfectly and we had just enough to pipe into our fleximolds. The next stressful point was the Carrot Tuiles. Tuiles are tricky. They have to be thin, you can’t bake them too long and if you’re molding them, you have to work quickly. We needed 5 so I figured I’d divide the batch into 2 half sheet pans so they wouldn’t harden before I had the chance to mold them. Best idea of the day! Had I done them all on 1 sheet pan, I’d only have 3 good ones. We also made our own designs on transfer sheets for our white chocolate disc decor. It was pretty easy. We just painted colored cocoa butter, scraped a design into it, then dusted with gold luster dust. The hard part was cutting out the discs.

When we got the 15 minute call, I stared plating the carrot cake, then the pineapple foam. I waited a few minutes then set the cream cheese semifreddo, the then quenelled the carrot sherbet and popped the carrot mousse on the semifreddo. The final steps were the decor. Caramelized pineapple and pecans and finally the chocolate decor and the carrot tuiles. It’s showtime folks!

I think it looks a little more refined than our test. I was so excited and relieved to get it out. Everything went perfectly even down to the plating time. I was proud of the product.

I wasn’t so happy when it was judging time. Some comments ranged from “the carrot cake is too sweet” duh, carrot cake is sweet. “Some acid was needed to balance out the richness” duh, that’s what the pineapple chunks and foam was for. So we placed 3rd. I was pretty much devastated. 2nd I could take but third, bitch please! I moped around for a few days then finally snapped out of my funk. I did manage to serve the rest of my carrot cake and everyone who ate it said it was the best carrot cake they ever had. It’s so hard trying to please everyone. I’m glad I’ll be on my own where I don’t have to please anyone but myself and I’m even more glad to not work in groups and have partners again. So sick of that.

To add insult to injury, we get our comment sheet back from the judges and one of the judges said that “we only showed basic skill levels”. WTF, do you know what a semifreddo is? Has anyone made their own transfer sheets? What about the mousse? Wasn’t it a perfectly baked cake? F You!

I calmed down after a few days and finally posted the photos on facebook. Here are some other pics of our journey

Testing out shapes for the Carrot Mousse.

Testing out a carrot cake recipe. We didn’t use this one.

Itty bitty pretty carrot tuiles.

Now I’ll be studying for my Baking final and putting together my Work Practicum Portfolio.

About tinfoilduck

I had this wacky idea to go to culinary school, while maintaining another full time career. I will be blogging about the program and how it affects me as I try to manage my daily life and how I try to keep everything together.
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2 Responses to Culinary School Here I Come (83) Plated Dessert Competition & A Cleaned Out Locker

  1. steveaw says:

    u worked really hard duck & did ur vry best! & ur VRY best is VRY VRY good…not 2 sweet @ all. all u can do is look @ ur final result & b proud. like i am of U! CONGRATS!!!

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