Thursday, February 19, 2009

week 1-2 at the pastry lab

school grounds,view from the kitchen.

my legs hurt, my body aches.,i feel like my nose is bleeding from the sudden influx of french terminology which i should comprehend at lightning speed.yes, this is how intensive the training is I feel like im in the survivor series, only in a kitchen
I get up at around 5 am to make it in time for the 7am call time in the lab.When its a day at the boulangerie, you have to be in school by 6am. It's considered a lucky day if u get a max of 30 mins for lunch at around 1pm(no other breaks).130-145 you get on with either oenology,french language classes, dessin(art/design classes).then you get off between5-7pm.I am overwhelmed with how much the Ferrandi program is putting into this.They certainly make sure you get your every euro spent worth it. The pastry program is amazing.The chefs are amazing. Very friendly but strict. Since the students have different backgrounds, they cater to every student's needs individually. We have made all kinds of tarts this past week, and although it is pretty fast paced inside the kitchen, you get individual hands on for each piece, start from scratch and compose the final piece.I will get into more detail over the weekend. Right now i just wanna drop dead on my bed and get as much rest and sleep i can to start fresh tomorrow. Here are a few pics in the lab.

fenny,kelly and me checkin out our tool kits

listening to Didier Averty(probably monkeying around again haha)
caf food!buffet style(neva gonna get so much again!)

chef Didier, me on the side, probably searchin for some tool.

the walk home, I leave the house before the sun comes, i journey home missing the day's sun!

Sunday, February 15, 2009

Finding the right apartment in Paris

Day 1 in Paris: I arrived at my apartment, a 10sqm flat with everything inside. It was nice, perfect for a student but to make a long story short,I didnt like it,i have a long list of reasons why i didnt like it but i opt to skip that. So i had to cancel my contract and got fined for the termination.
Moral of the story: Before you close a deal with a landlord over the net, it is best to look at the place first and go through the terms one by one.Get into details. Do not sign a deal unless you have seen the place. Before school starts, give at the least 2 weeks to settle in Paris, Best to book one of those student hostels temporarily while you look for a studette/flat. Believe me when I recommend this.I arrived a week before school started and it was a VERY tough time for me.
It really depends on what you are accustomed to then having to shift to something else, apart from the homesickness and jetlag, you may need time to recover from all of this first before you get into a lease contract.A few classmates have the same sentiment so be careful and give yourself time to decide.
Now, with the help of friends and family, i have found a pretty apartment with a good landlord, a place which i can call my temporary home for the next 8 months.. it is pretty far from the school but, i think that any arrondisement you choose is fine,the metro takes you everywhere, so its not such a big deal. You just have to make sure that it is in a safe neighborhood (generally Paris is a safe city, but just like anywhere else in the world, there are still notorious areas, just to make sure too especially if you are a young woman).

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Reasons why I chose the ESCF-Ferrandi

After much research, inquiries and gazillion thought. This is what I came up with:

1. For the obvious fact that I am into French Pastry, thus where else to go but France.

2. Lenotre is another good school but you have to be able to speak French, Ferrandi has a Bilingual program , yes their recipes and exams will be in French but the program includes French language and culture, regional cuisine, wine classes. oooohh la la! I'd like to do Lenotre too for a specialized course (see you there Angela) as I adapt to their language and culture.

3. Rigid training from MOF chefs!

4. 10 students/class ratio = more personalized training

5. You have a 3-6 months stage ( their term for on-the-job-training) in different restos.

6. You will be qualified for taking the CAP licensure exams, this license entitles you to being called a certified french cook.

7. An add on is that it is more affordable than most schools.

I am hopeful this list expands as I begin my classes.

emotional roller coaster

I am in the middle of finalizing my visa, my booking, check list and what have yous to leave Manila.
Yesterday I visited my school and bid adieu to my friends and my chefs. I went inside the pastry kitchen and realized that I have not been working in that kitchen for almost over a month now.. I miss the scrambling over pots and pans.. the look of death on chef Ernie's eyes and my crazy witches , Bianca and Angela.. the FUNNY nins who'd fret about everything and who'd notice the tiniest funniest details about every one else.. Chef Bubbles was there, my cute and VERY nice chef .. I miss lectures too, the enthusiasm she has when she talks about the technical stuff of the simplest ingredients. The gleam in her eyes and rush as she explains how the chains of x interact with the chains of y ( i dont even remember the terms!) haha! all i remember is how she was so excited in explaining these stuff. Chef E was quiet and composed as usual, walking back and forth, checking the students doing their midterms.I will never hear him say "Aurora! stop !"anymore.. I carry practically the whole kitchen in my pocket , so Id be ready to give him the offset spatula, his red plastic spatula, piping bags etc.. whenever he'd ask the stewards for these. Yes, they were all in my pocket. hahaha!
The crazy witches.. we spend hours giving pissed looks at each other as we sweat it in the kitchen, in panic ALL of the time and watchful of Chef E.s movements , signalling each other as he would approach our station.. Ok! this was so stressful! I feel I have aged the fastest during my past months in school in my whole lifetime. But now as I look back, I am laughing over these things..
This chapter of my life has come to an end. And I am moving on to a new chapter..OMFG! more stress! upset tummy, averaging 4 hours of sleep a day, not knowing how to feel.. so worried about my arrival in Paris. I only know how to count to 10 in French, thats it!@#$ All i have with me is g.u.t.s.
Average temp according to the weather stations on the web will be 2-5C. I think the coldest I have ever been was 10C and I felt like freezing to death already( hahahaha) so I have been to Zara, Mango ( sale, theyre on sale!) greenhills for winter wear. S.O.S. Anyone else have ideas where I can get some over coats, some kick ass walking boots.. whatelse, whatelse do I need.. I am still working on that list.
I am feeling sick again , stomache turning inside out as I imagine my first time ever in Europe..

an ode to my life in the kitchen at ISCAHM..