I’ve been fortunate enough to have a very supportive and indulgent husband who encourages me to pursue my passions – even if it means flying to Melbourne for a two day patisserie course at The Savour Chocolate and Patisserie School. This school was a natural choice because (1) I wasn’t aware of any such intensive course for non-professionals (i.e. people like me who didn’t want to give up their day jobs) in Sydney and (2) I had such great success with my macaron class a few months back that I vowed to one day come back and when a spot opened for a two day course in Petit Gateaux Level 1, I knew I had to sweet talk my husband into allowing me to go.
Kirsten Tibballs owns and manages the Savour school and upon entering the premises I know I am in good hands. Browsing through the store infront of the the kitchen I spot a couple of international pastry magazines and books featuring some of Kirsten’s creations. Upon meeting her, I am in awe. Not only is she super nice and approachable, she is also a walking encyclopaedia of chocolate and patisserie! Plus, the best part, is that she is totally willing to share everything she knows. Everyone in the class feels immediately at ease.
As a testament to how popular the Savour classes are, many of those in the class have been to other classes before and are already familiar with some of the techniques she briefly discusses in the introduction. Apart from your baking enthusiasts, a number of those in the class are graduates from Le Cordon Bleu, others are pastry chefs at top restaurants in Sydney and Melbourne (one flew from Sydney and was working at Guillaume) and another was a free lance writer for a food magazine and had previously collaborated on a cookbook with Emmanuel Stroobant.
The class I attended ran for two days. Over this period we were to prepare five petit gateaux (individual portion cakes). These little cakes will usually involve more than one element (for example, a sponge base, a mousse and a meringue topping). The idea is to combine different textures and flavours to produce something that is not only visually appealing but a delight to eat!
The first hour or so was spent finding our way around the kitchen to gather all ingredients so that when we started baking, we would already have all ingredients close at hand. Once that was over with, we moved on to the FUN part of the course – the HANDS ON experience.
The best part for me was learning about the “basic” recipes that are indispensible to gateau making, for instance, bavaroise, crème anglais, mousses, various meringues etc. We also learned why you would use one technique or another depending on the intended final product.
While the course was very fast paced, Kirsten was always there to answer questions and clarify things to make sure no one was left behind.
So what did I learn at the end of these two days, the pictures below will surely speak for themselves! Of course the unfair advantage of doing this at Savour was that we had Kirsten’s help, unlimited use of the wonderful callebaut chocolate and equipment, how easy would it be to actually recreate this at home?
Stay tuned for my next post when I show you my own attempts at re-creating these at home!