Friday, September 30, 2011

Guess What Today Is

Les made a whole lot of these cute cakepops today. . .


'Cause it's my birthday.  Michele picked up this Lemon Crunch Cake from The Alley Bakery.  Made me feel so special.

A few of my coworkers chipped in and got me this Edible Arrangement!  So, so sweet . . . the fruit and the people.

This is not my birthday lunch, but I wanted to show you what CQ made for me a few days ago 'cause I been feeling sick.   Chazuke with salmon!   So nice yah!

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Brandee's European Adventure - Part 12

Brandee graduates!!  After reading Brandee's story for this post, it made me realize that I'm gonna really miss getting these updates from Bran about her once-in-a-lifetime adventure in Europe.  I am so glad that she gave me this opportunity to be a part of the excitement and allowed me to share it with you my faithful readers.

60’s Hippie party, Dinner at Le Bourbon and Graduation day.

Since it was our last week of school, Paul the owner of the bowling alley set up a 60’s hippie party with the help of Chef Damian, and Chef Manu. It was nice to see everyone really get into it. We all dressed up in our best hippie flower child, tye dye looking, peace and love outfits. Paul picked all of us up at the chateau, and went to the bowling alley. We all had a good time and knew it was our final weekend together. Everyone was dancing and having a good time. I wished they played 60's music that night but they got the era mixed up. This French DJ kept playing 70's music. I kept saying wrong era,(era de mauvais) wrong era (era de mauvais).

That same week we all decided to take chef Jocelyn to a nice dinner at Le Bourbon to thank him for being such a wonderful teacher to us all. We invited the whole class, but just a handful came to eat. The dinner was tres tres Bon (very very good), I had the Prefixed menu of 6 courses and wine. Melissa, Adeline, Noam, Chef and I sat together at one table. We all enjoyed our meal, and the company.

Graduation Day:

Friday the day of graduation we all got ready and met outside for are finally graduation picture with all the chefs, students, director, and the M.O.F. in charge. We took two pictures, one with our hats on, and one throwing it in the air. We proceeded inside where they presented us with our certificate of achievement and a lunch that was prepared by all of us. There was a little surprise by the chefs. Each chef presented a gift to one student in the class who they believed was outstanding, a team leader, and an all around great pastry student.

Since there where three classes of different levels, the chef presented to one person in each class an amazing French pastry book by Chef Alain Ducasse called “Grand Livre de Cuisine” desserts and patisserie.

In the beginner class chef Damian presented Melissa Poh (Australia) with the first book, then from the Perfecting class chef Nicholas presented Sheldon (India), and then in our class the Advancing class Chef Jocelyn presented ME with the book, I got up and was so shocked, as I bowed and then shook his hand he told me congratulation you are a talented pastry student and will go far. He said he wrote something in my book, and gave me his business card and said "if I ever need anything just call him."

And of course I broke down and started to cry. I got so emotional it was hard to take a picture. I felt overwhelmed and happy that all my hard work had paid off. I never thought pastry was my strong point, but to see that validated by a chef made me appreciate patisserie even more. It was a nice ceremony, and I had a chance to say my goodbyes while I took pictures. That evening I packed all my bags, and left with Giada to spend the weekend in Turino, Italy with her and her family.

I cannot believe how fast my time here in Yssingeaux has been. All of us are sad to have to leave, and most of us will probably not see each other for a long time. I don’t have the luxury of getting in my car and driving to the next country. I wish I could drive to Athens, Greece to see Niki, or take a train to Tel a Viv to visit Noam, or the chunnel to London and visit Jill, go to Florence or Torino, Italy to see Santa or Giada. Marcel in Norway, David in Malta. Take a plane to Australia to visit Adeline, Melissa, and Luke. Even the five Brazillians in Brazil, Ruth, Manoela, Paulo, Tias, and Victor. I can always Skype Kate from Belarus, or Facebook Nora, and Michelle from Miami, or Sheldon from India.

I can always pick up the phone and call Karin in Texas, or Caroline in Califorina. Roz or Astrid in Canada, but it’s never going to be the same.

It is so hard leaving friends you spend time with everyday for two months, laughing with, eating with, drinking with, went on trips with. We all became one big dramatic happy family. I got along with everyone, even when there was conflict among us.

I will miss the times we got to know each other, and how some of us just naturally clicked as friends. I love nights going out bowling and other nights just walking to town for dinner. I got to know the town, where everything was and also met the FAP class that has been there for 6 month. We all hung out a lot because the town was so small and nothing really to do. I will miss the Chefs that taught me everything I learned. Chef Jocelyn is amazing, and Chef Damian was a party guy. Chef Manu didn’t speak any English, but was fun to hang out with and very organized in the kitchen. Even Chef Nicolas who always seemed pretty arrogant and acted like he never knew your name. I am especially going to miss Carmen. She took care of us at lunch and I would always help her out when it was time to clean up. She would teach me a little French while I taught her a little English.

I will miss them all !

Victor and Paulo (Brazil) and Joanna (France)

Nora (Miami)


Last day together

Everyone congratulating us

Jill (Canada) lives in London

Astrid (Canada) and Mel (Australia)

Paulo (Brazil)

Karin (Mexico) and Caroline (California)

Joanna (France)

Ruth (Brazil)

My BFF Giada (Italy) and Noam (Tel a Viv)

I'm gonna miss Carmen

Nikki (Greece), Marcel (Norway), Luke (Australia) and Giada (Italy)

Tias (Brazil) and Freshka (Iran)

Kate, Karin, Niki and I

Sheldon, Me and Melissa

Me receiving the gift and crying

Manoela (Brazil)

Edna and Joanna

Me and Adeline

Outside for our photo

Strawberry macaron with mousse and glace

Cheese platter

Beouf with Froi Gras

Salmon Salad

Chevre Custard

Dinner at Le Bon Bourbon

All of us at the bowling alley

The Hipster

Flower Children

Hippie 60's party at the bowling alley

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Brandee's European Adventure - Part 11

I was wrong peoples,  Bran sent me more pictures from her adventure, so not pau yet.  Here is Part 11.

A week of Macarons, a trip to the Weiss chocolate factory, and a hidden waterfall in France.

This week is the last week before graduation, so I was excited to do Macarons and Charlottes. The French have this thing about Macarons, crispy meringue outside with amazing fillings on the inside. Chef Jocelyn had us make some amazing macaron flavors. The only type of Macarons I remember growing up eating were the coconut macaroons my grandpa loved to eat with ice cream. To me they tasted like cardboard, but he loved it. The French Macarons are quite temperamental, and hard to work with in warm climates like Hawaii. I have never tasted anything so melt in the mouth or like we say in Hawaii “broke the mouth” goodness. It was so amazing.

In the same week we took a shuttle to the Weiss chocolate factory. Once we got there we were greeted by the ladies giving us the tour and telling us about the history of the Weiss chocolate company. I felt like Lavern and Shirley in the outfit we had to wear before entering the factory. The factory was amazing, but I really felt sick from smelling chocolate. Can you imagine that! I still had a nice time. I think I was hoping for Willy Wonka to greet us with a bunch of Umpalupa’s behind him.

That weekend Giada (Italy) took us on a road trip to see a waterfall in Beaume. Once we got there you see the lookout, then you walk down to where the waterfall is. I never knew I would come all the way to France to see a waterfall. It was breathtaking, so beautiful, but very cold. It was worth the drive to find it.


Passion fruit macarons with chocolate ganach filling

Little charlottes made into swans

Heart-shaped macarons

My charlotte cake with macaron swan

Our buffet display

Mini desserts

Noam and I on the shuttle to the Weiss Chocolate Factory

Astrid (Canada) and Christy (Italy)

Kate and I in the Laverne and Shirley look

Chocolate caramel

The factory

Outside next to a chocolate couture gown

Me in the gift shop

Niki, Kate, Giada, Andrea and I treking to the waterfall

Giada and Niki

Niki, Me and Kate in front of the waterfall

Me in front of Beume Waterfall

Roz posing

White chocolate

Giada (Italy), Paulo (Brazil), Flo (France) and I

Chef Jocelyn

Giada and Andrea at the top

Giada posing

Trail to the waterfall

The three amigos

Resting at the end