The Professional Pastry Program – Class Descriptions
Laboratory Class Descriptions
Lab classes meet twice a week on two consecutive days, lasting approximately 8 hours each class.
Fundamentals of Pastry Arts
A thorough foundation in the pastry arts is developed by studying the theory and principles of traditional pastries, dough, breads, cakes, and other yeast breads. A variety of doughs used for croissant, Danish, puff pastry, pâte à choux, pâte brisée, brioche, and strudel are explored. Petit Fours, cakes, meringues, Bavarians, ice cream and sorbets, classic French and Italian cookies, and other European classics are also taught. While traditional customs are valued, emphasis is placed on modern methods of preparation, the chemical function of ingredients, perfecting techniques, and presentation. In addition, this course will provide an introduction to skills that are characteristic of a European trained pastry chef, including working with chocolate, sugar, pastillage, gum paste, and marzipan. Students will receive an introduction to cake decorating and confections.
Advanced Techniques & Presentations
Skilled professionals in the pastry arts require more talents than mastering taste and texture. These classes introduce the next level in pastry arts, including unique plating methods; molded and dipped chocolate techniques; pulled and poured sugar work; and advanced pastillage, gum paste, and marzipan. Students will perfect their new skills when creating French and Italian tarts, Asian and Latin American pastries, and traditional American favorites. Unique to this program, students design a wedding cake and show-piece presentations.
Combined Savory Component
It is imperative that pastry chefs be trained in the fundamentals of savory cooking. In this series, students will learn the basics of cooking with eggs, stocks, soups, seafood, poultry, and meats. Students will learn techniques (both simple and sophisticated), critical evaluation of each stage of preparation, time-temperature sensitive steps, chemical properties of ingredients, and other practical information. They will learn how to incorporate their pastry expertise into the savory component of the food industry, thus making them more marketable. Boullangerie and Artisan breads, pizza dough, and pasta are also included in this segment.
Evening seminars are held once a week for approximately 3 hours.
The subject matter for evening seminars encompasses a wide variety of industry-related topics.
A critical component of the curriculum, this course emphasizes the proper handling, care and use of professional chef knives. Students are instructed in the proper methods of slicing, chopping, dicing and mincing. Garnishes such as tomato rosettes and radish flowers are also taught.
American Food History
Focusing on cooking in America from 1620 to 1900, this three-week course introduces students to the world of food prior to the technological revolutions of the 20th century. Through lecture, videos, and actual preparation of a representative sample of 18th and 19th century dishes, students will gain a basic understanding of the flavors, textures, and construction of recipes popular a century ago. This course will give students the confidence to research and interpret primary source material on food from the 18th and 19th centuries.
Using the food safety standards established by the Educational Foundation of the National Restaurant Association, students learn the principles of food safety and the methods used to establish a total food safety program within a foodservice operation. Particular attention is paid to understanding the HACCP food safety management program. Students passing the certification exam, administered at the end of the course, are presented with an Applied Foodservice Sanitation Certificate, recognized throughout the U.S.
Nutrition for the Foodservice Professional
This three-week course presents students with an overview of food and nutrition science and its role in the foodservice industry today. Students will learn current dietary guidelines, menu planning, recipe development, and food preparation techniques. Special topics include fad diets, genetic engineering, food labels and food labeling in restaurants, phytochemicals and superfoods, sustainable cuisine, and how to read a scientific study. Resources for other nutritional information will also be discussed. A quiz will be given in the third week.
Traditional culinary occupations, career progression, and management skills are discussed. Students also study purchasing, cost control, projections, menu planning, recipe development and general skills relating to stress, time, and personnel management. Legal aspects of opening a business are addressed by guest lecturers (lawyers) and include such issues as incorporating, partnership, trademarks, and registering the business name. The development of a business pro forma is a requirement.
Career Development Seminar
This seminar is designed to provide a structured outline of job search tools and employment opportunities available in the culinary industry. Students will learn what to expect in various working environments (bakeries, pastry departments in restaurants, caterers, specialty shops), including compensation, job descriptions and expectations, hours of operation, and the potential for career growth. The instructor will emphasize researching each employment opportunity, compare and contrast working in a teaching kitchen, how to set up interviews and shadowing, how to negotiate, and how to investigate specific work environments to determine if the employment opportunity is a good match for the student and employer.
This course provides students with an overview of food and nutrition science and its role in the foodservice industry today. Students learn current dietary guidelines, menu planning, recipe development and food preparation techniques.
In this seminar, the recipe-writing process is addressed from various standpoints useful to the foodservice professional. Concepts such as readership, consistency of style, recipe testing, voice, length, and sources of recipes are expanded upon as a basis for getting published.
Wine, beer, and spirits are studied from the perspective of ingredients, production methods, and a comparative tasting analysis, focusing on individual characteristics and quality.
Beginning with sugar boiling, this class exposes students to pull sugar, casting sugar, rock sugar, blown sugar, bubble sugar, and poured sugar. During this four-week course, students will learn to handle the different forms of sugar and experiment with coloring and shaping sugar. Instruction emphasizes creative thinking and planning of showpieces.
This series will begin with tempering and handling couverture. Moving onto spraying, cutting, and molding chocolate, students will be introduced to different recipes and various techniques for shaping and coating confections. With a focus on producing chocolates in an elegant manner, filled, molded, and liquored chocolates will also be introduced.