In dire need of help - Beginners questions

Discussion in 'Professional Chefs' started by lagrenouille, Dec 2, 2011.

  1. lagrenouille


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    Hi, I have only just discovered this website but have long since been an avid foodie and aspiring chef. I have many questions that I would like to have answered, please, if possible.

    I know that you will tell me that the hours are long, you are on your feet all day, your back will ache and you never get Christmas off. Those are the perks of the job, I guess, and if I had an issue with those then I wouldn’t be pursuing a career with food. The questions I ask may seem obvious or petty but I really would like to know everything.

    I love to cook deserts and bake all things sweet and savoury which made me look down the path of becoming a pastry chef. But, what I want to ask you all is – can you do a commercial cookery apprenticeship and then steer yourself in the direction of pastry? Or is it necessary to do an apprenticeship as a pastry cook? I have big dreams; like I’m sure you all do, of one day opening my own café/restaurant/patisserie. Can a pastry chef, open and own a restaurant?

    I live in a city in Northern Queensland (Australia) where there isn’t really any way of following the pastry path. So, in your opinions where in Australia would be best to try and find an apprenticeship? Is Australia really the best place for me to train or would I be better off moving overseas and gaining the qualification? I also considered joining the navy and getting the qualification that way.

    My second dilemma is culinary schools vs. apprenticeships. I would love to attend a culinary school (if it weren’t for the fees that are attached) – when you “graduate” from such a school are you qualified to work as a cook or is there a requirement to further that education with an apprenticeship? Also, does attending a culinary school better educate their students compared to someone who completed an apprenticeship?

    I know that it is rare but I’d love to make a name for myself. I am willing to put in the hard yards and work for years on end to do so. I am passionate about food and cooking is the best pick me up there is. All I want is to be able to put my creativity onto a plate. Thanks so much in advance. I would really appreciate any answers that you can give me.
  2. guts


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    Sous Chef

    I'm pretty tired right now, so I'm going to give you a brief answer to your questions. 

    You can definitely begin your career on the savoury side of the kitchen, and move into pastry. Many of the important skills needed by a pastry chef overlap with that of a savoury chef. A pastry chef can most definitely open a restaurant, cafe, etc... 
    A very talented three star michelin pastry chef recently opened his own business in my city and it has been amazingly successful. 

    Many people think that the best place to learn is Europe. I know there are definitely some great restaurants in Australia, but I haven't done enough research to give you any specific examples.

    I personally think that you do not need culinary school. School is, however, a great place to learn the basics and good way to get your foot in the door of a decent restaurant where you can really start to learn. It can be rough to pay a ton of tuition so you can pick herbs, peel vegetables, mop the floor, clean up mouse shit, wash dishes, or whatever other unappealing jobs you can think of while you move up the ladder.

    If you go into it, go in assuming you'll be 50 year old line cook with back problems getting paid minimum wage to work 14+ hour days. It's better not to have unrealistic expectations.
  3. lagrenouille


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    Thanks so much for your reply. I have been tossing up between the two apprenticeship types for a while.

    I realise that I have high expectations but as long as I get to cook for the rest of my life, I'd be happy. I just want a job that is challenging and a little different everyday and to always be learning.

    You have been such a help :)
  4. denis dubiard

    denis dubiard

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    Professional Chef
    [​IMG]great people use to be chef and pastry chefs in history of the industry.

    in present. hour are extremly long.

    I will paste you on that page something that I have study and you will look upon the greatest of all pastry chef and cook of all time.

    [​IMG]Mr Carême Marie-Antoine (also know as Antonin)



    < French Cook and Pastry-cook:

    Born: Paris, 1783

    Died: Paris 1833

    Books: “le Patissier Pitoresque”, 1815, “Le Maitre d’Hotel Français”,

     1922, “Le Patissier Royal Parisien”,

    1825,“l’Art de la Cuisine au 19th Century”, 1933, “Le Cuisinier Parisien”

    Credits: “Chartreuses”, many desserts on Piedestal, 289 sauces & soups, many

    elaborated Garnishes, Meringues, shaped Vol au vent. “ les Oeuf pochéCarême” & Many others.

    Born in a poor family, the young Carême was put out on the street at the age of ten,

    which was the norms during this era, with the background of a large Family.

    Mr Carême learned the rudiment of cookery in a low class restaurant “the Maine gate”,

    He became Apprentice at the age of 16 at “Baillyrue Vivienne.

    One of the best pastry cooked in Paris was amazed,

    by the driving force and the ability of the young man, Mr Bailly encourage him.

    Mr Carême started to develop his artistic art by going to the National library to copy architectural details and drawings,

    to reproduce and put in display to be admire, at Mr Bailly’s establishment.

    Mr Talleyrand < an influential politician and a great Gastronome in Paris, started to notice the young man.

    He offered to take Mr Carême into his service, under Mr Avis.

    Mr Carême stayed on for 12 years at Mr Talley and service, using his skill as a diplomatic tool,

    in the turmoil of the French History. He went on to serve dignitary such as the Prince Regent of England & the future King George the 4thof England.

    He was even called to the court of the tsar Alexander the 1st, where he learned some Russian dishes, and started to introduce them to the French cuisine,

    dishes such as Koulibiac” & “Borsh”.

    He went on to services such as the Viennese court, the British Embassy, Princess Bagration, Lord Steward & with the Baron Rothschild.

    He died totally burnt out by his genius, in addition of the charcoal of the roasting-spit. He brought the then food fashion to its heights;

    Mr Talleyrand ounce said about him “He taught us to eat”.

    Mr Carême is one of the founders of “La Grand Cuisine” with some of our present day treats.

    He is renowned as to be part of the French national prestige.

    He developed many techniques still employed these days, as they have managed to stay alive since their creation,

    he changed the shapes of the sugar pans, shape of the hats etc.…

    his talents in the Culinary Art, has never been contested and will never be.

    Here are few recipes translated.

    Bread sauce

    “Chop 1 clove of garlic. 1 shallots and some parsley, put them in a saucepan with ½ glass of white wine,

     boil down, then mix in 2 tablespoons (3 Tablespoons) very fine breadcrumbs a little butter,

     a pinch of mignonette and grated nutmeg, 2 tablespoons (3 tablespoon) of a good consommé

     with 2 to 3 tablespoon of light veal stock. Boil down by half and add the juice of a lemon”

    Curry sauce a l’Indienne (for poached eggs or shelled boiled eggs poultry & mutton))

    Put into a saucepan a few slices of lean ham, 1 chopped onion, a bouquet garni, 2 punnets of mushrooms chopped,

     3 cloves, a good pinch of pimento, a pinch of cayenne pepper and a little mace.

    Add 2 to 3 tablespoons chicken consomme. Simmer over low heat, strain, and remove all grease.

    When it is somewhat boiled down mix in some Allemande sauce. Add a small infusion of saffron so as tp colour it yellow,

    then strain through a cloth. Before serving, put in a little butter and 3 punnets of small mushrooms.”

    “Small green gherkins cut to look like olives can be added to this sauce.”

    Bavarian Cream au Parfait d’Amour

    “Shred half the peel of a lemon very finely, boil 2 cup of milk, add the shredded lemon,

    6 crushed cloves and 225gr (8oz, 1 cup) caster sugar, leave to infuse for an hour, and strain through a muslin cloth into a basin,

    add 25gr (1 oz) slightly warm and clarified issing glass, and a few drop of Cochineal essence.

    Put the basin into a bowl of ice as soon as the mixture begins to set, fold in whipped cream.

    Bavarian Cream aux Roses

    Stir the petals off about 30 picked roses, put them with a pinch of cochineal grains, into 225gr (8oz, 1 cup) clarified boiling sugar syrup.

    Cover, strain the mixture through muslin cloth into a bowl. When it begins to set fold in whipped cream”

    Blanc mange

    “Bitter almonds. Leave them to soak in a bowl of cold water, which renders them singularly white.

    Drain on a sieve and rub them together in a napkin. Pound in a mortar, moisten them, little by little, with ½ tablespoon of water at a time,

    to prevent them turning into oil. When they are pounded into a fine paste, put into a bowl and dilute with 5 glass of filter water,

    added a little at a time, spread a clean napkin over a dish pour the Blancmange into it and, with 2 people twisting the napkin,

    press out all the almond milk. Put in 350gr (12oz, 1 ½ cup) granulated sugar and rub through a fine sieve.

    Strain through a napkin once again, and add 30gr (1oz, 4 grains) clarified isinglass a little warmer than tepid.

    Blend with the blancmange. Pour into a mould and place in a container with crushed ice.

    “To make Rum Blancmange, add ½ glass of Rum to the mixture describe above.

    To make a Maraschino Blancmange add ½ a glass”

    “To serve this sweet in small pots, prepared two thirds of the quantity given in the precedent recipe.

    You will however, need a little less isinglass, as blancmange served in small pots has to be more delicate than when it is to be turned out.

    Blancmange can be flavoured with lemon, vanilla, coffee, chocolate, pistachio nuts, hazelnuts & Whipped cream can also be incorporated.”