Chocolate Burned & Lessons Learned at Pastry Boot Camp

By Brian Hart Hoffman

There aren’t many things called “Boot Camp” that sound fun to me.

I’m more of a “café-and-coffee” man than a “boots-in-the-mud” kind of guy. But when I heard about The Culinary Institute of America’s Pastry Boot Camp, I knew it was a match made in pastry heaven. No pre-dawn wake-up calls, no push-ups, no whistle-blowing instructors, and the only thing feeling whipped at the end of the day is the cream. I spent five days learning hands-on tips and tricks from the masters and seriously upping my baking game. That’s the boot camp for me!As soon as I arrived on campus, I was already starstruck: The Culinary Institute of America (CIA) is where so many of the country’s greatest chefs got their start, creating food that’s both delectable and show stopping. From household names like television personality Anthony Bourdain and Iron Chef Cat Cora to three of our incredible test kitchen chefs at Hoffman Media, the alums of the CIA are varied and accomplished. I was nervous with anticipation as soon as I set foot on the campus in Hyde Park, New York. Who would my classmates be? What skills would I learn? As I watched CIA students dressed in chef’s whites and checked print pants hurrying to class or student-run restaurants, I knew I was in culinary heaven.

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