Chocolate Burned & Lessons Learned at Pastry Boot Camp

Almost immediately, friendships and bonds started to form. Everyone was eager to get their hands in the dough, get the mixers fired up, and get the pans in the oven. There was definitely excitement as we suited up in the uniforms we were required to wear every day: Chef’s whites were a must, but fortunately for me, the neckerchief was optional (it was itchy). We all got paired with a kitchen buddy. Bethanie, a producer for a media firm in New York City, was mine. We said our hellos with arms stacked with eggs, cream, and vanilla beans. Since everything at Pastry Boot Camp is made from scratch, we had to get cracking! Bethanie and I had a fun NYC-meets-Bama dynamic. (She got used to hearing me say y’all!) Since we were both relatively inexperienced, we were a perfect match—ready to get our hands dirty, eager to make the best products we could, and ready to work as a team. She was my partner in crime (or maybe I should say my partner in crème!) for the week.We were such a good team that we finished early on the first day, making crème anglaise, pâte à choux, and cherry clafoutis. Everyone else was still hustling and cleaning, and Bethanie and I were just resting on our laurels, congratulating each other. Well, it’s true that pride cometh before the fall. On the morning of Day Two, we discovered that we’d finished early because we’d completely missed Chef’s instruction to make our own pastry cream! We needed that pastry cream from Day One to make éclairs on Day Two, so we were scrambling! Luckily, another good-natured team let us borrow theirs. (Thanks, Jennifer Lyn.)


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