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Where to go to learn from the best teachers


By CJ Juntereal

When pastry chef Laetitia Moreau demonstrates a recipe, she patiently talks her class through every detail—from why a certain type of flour is used to the correct temperature to which you must cook a crème anglaise (84 degrees Celsius). She discusses what substitutes can be used for certain ingredients, and the qualities of each. She explains the effect ingredients have on the finished product. She also gives tips for home cooks for people who may not have a candy thermometer on hand (the crème anglaise is the right temperature when you can draw a line through it on a spatula or the mixture stops turning on its own when you stop stirring).

She is a good teacher who explains everything clearly. Her tips are those of a professional chef, learned from long hours of practicing her craft. For example, she tells us during her demonstration, there really is no need to bring butter to room temperature when you need to cream it with sugar. Cut it into small cubes straight from the refrigerator, and the sugar, and as you cream it in your electric mixture it will achieve the correct consistency in time. I do that all the time—but that’s because I’m always too impatient to wait for my butter to come to room temperature. It’s nice to know that I wasn’t entirely wrong.

  • Hands-on training Chef Laetitia Moreau guides a student

  • Sweetness overload various pastries created by Chef Moreau to demonstrate the techniques and skills that will be taught in the Alain Ducasse Pastry Arts Diploma

  • Sweetness overload various pastries created by Chef Moreau to demonstrate the techniques and skills that will be taught in the Alain Ducasse Pastry Arts Diploma

  • Demonstrated by Chef Tim Ferrel Roasted carrots with seed butter

  • The finished product a chocolate tart that balanced different levels of chocolate with a variety of textures

  • Sweetness overload various pastries created by Chef Moreau to demonstrate the techniques and skills that will be taught in the Alain Ducasse Pastry Arts Diploma

Chef Moreau is the new executive pastry chef of the Alain Ducasse Institute Philippines in Enderun Colleges. Aside from teaching, she will oversee the Ducasse Diploma in Pastry Arts Program that begins on Aug. 14. The three-month intensive diploma in pastry arts contains an industry specific curriculum that teaches students the ability to integrate pastry techniques and recipes in order to create different desserts, and gives them the skills to begin working in pastry shops, bakeries, restaurants, or hotels here and abroad. The course also trains students in the management skills needed to run a kitchen and guides them to develop a mindset for entrepreneurial thinking. A diploma from the Alain Ducasse Institute is globally recognized.

Chef Moreau’s culinary career includes a stint at La Grande Epicerie de Paris, a fine food hall that has become a Paris landmark because it offers a range of 30,000 products from all over the world, including a patisserie section where everything is created in-house daily. She has worked in Lyon, Atlanta, and New York, and was an assistant to Alain Ducasse, before teaching at Ecole Nationale Superieure de la Patisserie (ENSP), the leading global organization of professional and pre-professional culinary and pastry arts schools.

When I asked her if there was a difference between working in a professional kitchen and teaching, she replied that it was very important to see the difference. “You must be very patient and must take time to do things. You must not think like a pastry chef who is concerned about production, we are talking about teaching something to someone,” she says.

During her time in the Philippines, one of Chef Moreau’s objectives is to incorporate some of our local products and ingredients into the cakes and pastries that will be taught. “In Alain Ducasse, we love to teach the more popular cakes and the good techniques, but the fruits here are really amazing so I want to use these kinds of fruits in the cakes and pastries. My friends and co-workers here are helping me to discover a lot of things. The objective is not to try to change the Filipino cakes, but to take these cakes and try to make them with the Alain Ducasse touch,” she explained.

Chef Moreau advised people interested in taking the diploma in pastry arts course that three months of training is not enough to become a good pastry chef. “The course is good because it teaches all the techniques and skills, but after that you must find a job in pastry and try to improve yourself. You will already have all the mechanics of pastry in your head, so it’s going to be easy for you to find a job. I think here we have a good Alain Ducasse internship program.”

The Alain Ducasse teaching method is 75 percent hands on and 25 percent theory. Classes are conducted in Enderun’s spacious training kitchens with state of the art equipment. More than teaching how to follow recipes and techniques, the classes give people the building blocks to create because a recipe is simply a series of different techniques.

I have always been impressed by the emphasis Enderun puts on equipping its students with the skills necessary to build their careers. Aside from the Alain Ducasse Education Programs, I recently learned that Enderun has partnered with Placement International to launch the Jean-Georges Academy—a program designed after Chef Jean-Georges Vongerichten’s innovative food philosophy. The program involves a 12-month internship in one of Jean-Georges Vongerichten’s restaurants in New York, learning from his chefs and managers. Placement International assists with the internship application, visa, flight, and housing requirements.

To be part of the Jean-Georges Academy, one need not be a student of Enderun. It is open to experienced chefs and culinary arts graduates. Enderun graduates are not required to have work experience, but outside candidates must have a minimum of one-year work experience and a minimum eight months culinary diploma. All enrollees go through an intensive one-month training program with lectures and workshops that focus on culinary and hospitality service, and are designed to prepare them for their internships—which are paid, by the way. The stipend, I understand, is not enormous, but it is enough for someone to live in New York—with enough left over (if one is prudent) for spending money to eat in some excellent restaurants. And eating as many different things as possible is important, every chef tells me, because it develops your palate and broadens your data bank of flavors and textures. These are important for chefs when they create their own recipes and find their own signature style.

Jean-Georges Vongerichten may not be as well-known or popular in the Philippines as other celebrity chefs, but he is a world-renowned chef who owns 32 restaurants worldwide, four of which are Michelin-starred. He trained and worked in top hotels in Asia, including the Mandarin Oriental Hotel and the Meridien Hotel, and the aromatic flavors of Asia became the inspiration for his signature cuisine—one that emphasizes intense flavors and textures from vegetable and fruit essences, light broths, and herbs. His chain of restaurants and Michelin stars prove that he is that enviable combination of excellent chef and savvy restauranteur. These are the skills that the Jean-Georges Academy aims to impart to its interns.

Back when I was in college, the options for a culinary career path were pretty limited. Today, there are so many culinary schools and options available, and I often wonder where I would have ended up if there had been an EnderunColleges that offered all these courses and internships when I was in school.

Email me at cbj2005@gmail.com or follow me on Instagram/@eatgirlmanila.

To learn more about the Alain Ducasse Education Programs and the Jean-Georges Academy please visit www.enderunextension.com or email extensioncourses@enderuncolleges.com / tel: (02) 856-5000 loc. 505.

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