Sugar Art questions...

Discussion in 'Professional Pastry Chefs' started by mike hartman, Nov 29, 2005.

  1. mike hartman

    mike hartman

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    Hi. I'm new here and this is my first thread posted, so I just want to quickly introduce myself. My name is Mike Hartman (hence my user name) and reside in upstate, NY as a senior in high school seeking out college in culinary arts next year.
    Ok, my question is, lately I have been intrested in "Sugar Art" and "Chocolate Art." So I thought I would give it a try and see if it intrested in me other than becomming a Chef in Gourmet. How do I go about starting "Sugar Art" at home? What do I need (utensils, etc.)?
    I would really like to start this and see if it is something I would rather go in to a career as. If not, I would still like to go in to a gourmet career. Also, one last question; Is there anyone on ChafTalk.com from upstate, NY who owns or works in the Pastry business I could learn to do this with, rather than going in to it alone and messing up horribly :lol: .
    Thanks in advance,
    Mike Hartman
     
  2. panini

    panini

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    Mike,
    Welcome!
    Cakerookie is starting out in sugar. Look for some of his posts. I think he is even starting a web site dedicated to this. Chrose is a wealth of info on the subject. There are many books on the subject. Supplies are readily available online. There are, I assume, enough schools or classes in NY to accomedate you. Also check out you local Chefs Association.
    pan
     
  3. cakerookie

    cakerookie

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    Yeah do have a website but its off line right now need to do some more work to it don't like the way it looks. Oh and by the way, the only way to do sugar art is get in there and do it. So what if you mess up! You won't be the first one to screw up! Speaking from experience! If you hang around here long enough the one thing you will realize is that no one here ever gives up. So just get in there and do it. CH and Pan will help you a lot. They are great about sharing their knowledge of this art, listen, or should I say read everything they posts carefully. I am going to get a jump on CH here. Type in Ewald Notter. He is one of the best if not the best sugar artists in the world. He and his wife Susan run the School of Confectionary Arts in Orlando Florida. I know CH you still have not gotten over the Florida deal. We love ya anyway.
     
  4. foodpump

    foodpump

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    Start off with sugar work. Chocolate is more finicky and needs to be understood before you can start playing with it. Only thing to to is like cakerookie says, jump right and try it.
     
  5. cakerookie

    cakerookie

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    This has nothing to do with this post just a vent! But how on the face of the earth do you make people understand that sugar is hygroscopic that it attracts moisture! I swear the next time I get ask if someone can add icing to a sugar piece I am going to scream! I tell them and tell them if they do that they need to wait till the last minute. Why? Because the moisture from the icing will melt the sugar! Is that so hard to understand? Or is it just me.
     
  6. mike hartman

    mike hartman

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    Hi,
    Thanks Panini!
    Cakerookie, that's one thing even I know about frosting and sugar. :lol: ;).
    I was looking around the posts before I posted yesterday, and I did not find anything on how to start/do sugar art. I've searched online under Google.com(c) and Yahoo.com(c) search engines for "Sugar Art" but found nothing relating to how to go about doing it. I've found books on competitions and other non-relating material. This was a last resort: :D!Apparently there's nothing online (that I found) on actually how to DO sugar art. I did check out the Notter School in Orlando, Florida yesterday, too, before I posted. I e-mailed them (Notter School) requesting more info about it, and I did get a quick response with the info I needed. (Thanks!) But (not to sound rude or ignorant or arrogant) my question does go unanswered. Yes, everything you mentioned was great, and I do thank-you, but I just have, still, no idea how to go about starting it. For example, how much sugar to H2O ratio, temperature, etc.
    Again, sorry if I sounded rude there. :(. I have no intentions of being rude here at all.
    And again, Thanks in advance.
    Mike Hartman
     
  7. chrose

    chrose

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    I'm at work so I'll answer a little more later. But just so's ya know Ewald and Susan got a divorce back in the late 90's so unless something has changed she is no longer involved with Ewalds school. Of course she was talented before she met Ewald and is amazing now!
    Otherwise I'm not bitter about the move to Florida, I'm just surprised when you take the humidity into account.
     
  8. panini

    panini

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    Mike,
    You're right. Give me a minute to get things rolling in the shop and I'll be back.
    pan
     
  9. mike hartman

    mike hartman

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    Panini - Thanks alot! Those first two links were the best. (Though I did find some useful information in the others, I won't deny that.) But I do appreciate it ALOT. To be quite honest, that's the most info on the subject I've seen since my search for it. ;) . Thanks ALOT! And have fun at work!

    Thanks everyone,
    Mike Hartman
     
  10. chrose

    chrose

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    I think we need to break this question down a bit Mike. It sounds like what you mean by a “gourmet career” would be the hot side of things, savories and whatnot. Sugar and chocolate “art” would fall under the Pastry department’s side. That being said let’s make a couple of things clear. Chocolate and sugar as an art form is not a viable means of making a living. In other words, the demand for the items as pieces unto themselves is small. Sugar and chocolate as centerpieces is primarily for catered parties usually through hotels. Smaller caterers may offer it but the cost is usually prohibitive for the average party. That is not to say there isn’t a market for the items outside of a hotel, but I seriously doubt you could base a career on it, unless you have the talent of an Ewald Notter and can teach it. Even then Ewald started out working for Patisseries such as Lenotre and Sprungli in Switzerland.
    You can learn the crafts and use them as supplements to your career if you choose the pastry side of life. What you may want to try to help you decide short of getting a job or specialized training is to do some cooking. Do a party for your family, a sit down gourmet meal, a super bowl party, etc. You know appetizers, meats, soups, veggies, etc. After doing that you can make some large batches of cookies to give away during the holidays, make several types of chocolate and other types of candies. Also make a few different cakes, and breads and pastries. All this can be done at home on the weekends. Decide which you find more fun to do. Remember too that when you are cooking something you like think of how much you may still like it when you have to scale it up to a 1000 units, or do it 50 times a night etc. This point being that good cooking is about repetition and the ability to produce consistently. This comes through experience, but it’s something to think about when trying to decide what direction to take.
    So before thinking about “Art” think about starting simply. Art is more the icing on the cake than the whole cake itself.
    Either way if you have questions, we have answers and are more than happy to offer up our 2¢ worth!
     
  11. cakerookie

    cakerookie

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    Best thing to do is not look for it on line. This is stuff is like Egygtian embalming techniques they keep it a secret and you never know how they did it. GO to PastryWiz.com it has some things you will be interested in also. Visit Pastry Chef Consultancy and Information Service there is a great article there by Martin Chiffers I think will help you out also. If you get on E-Bay look for these two books they have complete chapters dedicated to sugar work.

    The Advanced Professional Pastry Chef by Bo Friberg
    The Professional Pastry Chef by Bo Friberg

    These are two excellent books, not just on sugar work but all types of pastry in general. These books are used as textbooks in some of the best culinary schools in the country. There is really no starting point per say. I will do my best to get my website back up that will help you too. My suggestion is read all you can when you can. Learn everything you can. I will re-post as soon as I get my site back on line.
     
  12. panini

    panini

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    Mike,
    I too have a few questions on your directions. Chrose points out well your avenues. If you haven't researched the culinary profession carefully, then this is your first step.
    There are many creative outlets in both sides of the kitchen. Sugar/chocolate work, Garde Manger (carving,decorating, and preparing cold foods) Ice Carving etc. The point, these are all a part of a bigger picture.
    I think it's great to look into sugar but I think what Chrose is saying, the time for the fun stuff is usually only after achieving some sort of status in your chosen field. And then, the fun stuff is usually pressured and more of a production item.
    Please do not take this negetively. I think you need to boil away! Just trying to give insight as Chrose.

    Cakerookie, Tell me about the large lollipops I see with royal icing decorations on them?:eek: :crazy:
    PS Mike, People in pastry are a breed all their own." now I don't mean that in a bad way":D
     
  13. panini

    panini

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    SEE! I didn't have questions after all
     
  14. cakerookie

    cakerookie

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    There isn't any. Just a rant don't pay me any attention. See ya. Oh, and there won't be any website. I cannot find a good one for free. So I guess the website idea is shot to h*********
     
  15. panini

    panini

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    Sure there are. Let me ask the kid to see if he knows of any good free websites
     
  16. cakerookie

    cakerookie

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    Thats alright I have stopped doing sugar work anyway. Just not any good at it. Y'all have a good one I am outta here.
     
  17. chrose

    chrose

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    How could you be after a month or so. It t'aint easy. Besides we can't all be good at everything, you want to see some real artwork, look up some Garde Manger work, or if you want to be amazed seek out Gabriel Paillaison for some amazing ice carving. There is also some incredible work going on in Europe (alright fine, here too) with things like Fondant and Massa Ticino etc.
    Sugar is not the be all and end all. Art is in the eye of the beholder.
     
  18. momoreg

    momoreg

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    Some things do take practice. For someone with such enthusiasm, I'm surprised you've invested this much time, only to throw in the towel, cakerookie. But I do recall this happening a couple months back. Maybe you just need a push. You can learn, if you really want to, but you know that already.;)
     
  19. cakerookie

    cakerookie

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    No what I need is a good swift kick in the pants. I have been a jerk!