Friday, 22 July 2011

What I think about the training of new pastry chefs

As one of the lucky few I was trained by members of the South African Culinary team back in South Africa, my belief is that the pastry section is highly regarded back in South Africa, more so than here in the UK.

My experience of newly trained Chefs and pastry chefs straight out of college is that they really haven’t been shown the basics of cooking; just the other week I had an apprentice say that he’d never cut a cabbage and didn’t know how. 5 Minutes later I had shown him and he was on his way-surely the college should have taught him this? Industry leaders and organisations do try their best in getting new talent to flourish, through awards like the Annual Awards of Excellence, The chocolate dessert of the year, and the Pastry Chef dessert of the year.

My opinion is that we need more from the industry to bring talent out in young pastry chefs, where this can be best accomplished would have more skills shown and taught to them at college.

I have also had commi pastry chefs with their new NVQ’s joining my brigade in the past, also with no clue as to the different mixing methods, or even the basic knowledge of reading a recipe.

It is sad that individuals are let loose in our industry not knowing the basics. For example, I regard food science in pastry to be incredibly important, with regards to cooking temperatures (coagulation, over-coagulation, syneresis) and when a sol becomes a gel, cereals also need great attention, and so on.

I love teaching people what i have learnt, and continue to learn myself. My dreams for a Britain with fabulous new pastry sections need enthusiastic Pastry talent. Let?s not spoil it and let?s train them well.

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About Me

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The Pastry king was started in 2009 when I wanted to showcase my skills, & a personal résumé portfolio. The credit crunch really resulted in founding a business, The Pastry King, the name became about, because of circumstances during the time. It was when deciding on this very blogging handle; did I think of one particular pastry chef, the person I most admired & wanted to learn from. To me, he is a Pastry King – so it was from there it came really. The Pastry King grew, people showed they wanted a bespoke service even in a credit crunch. The early days I made chocolates, & cakes. I involved myself in consultancy roles and training jobs. I helped businesses developed recipes and so much more. At one time I was developing my range of chocolate spreads, & award winning truffle selection, packaged to be shelf ready for retailers to sell from their store shelves. Several years back I decided to close up shop, really due to a job vacancy I took post of. One, which I could not & therefore did not refuse. Over the past few years, I have really enjoyed to still be doing what I love doing, & since become a father to one lovely little boy. I consider myself to be very lucky.