Le Cordon Bleu, the internationally renowned cooking school, has commenced offering short courses by which to dip your toes into the world of culinary development.
For 2 days I was thoroughly immersed in their Mad About Italy baking course, with the focus on exposing participants to the different skills, techniques (and even some of the science) behind how to create delicious Italian breads and sweet treats.
Immersed was definitely the right word too! With flour everywhere, doughs in front of us, others proving, some resting between folds, making up custards and other fillings, timers going off and trying to remember what they were for….this was a full on couple of days.
But also one of the most enjoyable food experiences I have had.
Let me explain why.
This plays directly to my passions – I love bread baking and creating things in the kitchen as it is, so to be invited to go to Le Cordon Bleu and do any kind of course is kind of a dream come true.
We also got to go through SO MANY THINGS that to be honest, at certain times of the day my head was spinning because of all that are going on. It is non-stop from basically the start of the day to the end, with even lunch being something that you have made and then just consumed while you move onto the next thing. It’s not hectic – in an out of control sense – just that once you start there is a continual forward motion that cannot be halted. There is definitely no turning back!
A healthy respect for artisan bakers that do this for a living, day in and day out, is another unavoidable by-product.
Paul Triglau was our fantastic guide on this journey, and he is not only an extremely knowledgeable and talented baker, he has a clear passion for teaching others and he immediately puts everyone at ease. As I said, this wasn’t just about basic techniques either, with Paul explaining some of the science behind what is going on, and how different additions effect things and what they are for.
The facilities at Le Cordon Bleu at Regency Tafe are also outstanding, with a certain level of appliance envy going on! However, we also went through how to replicate many of these things at home, so there is (almost) always a simple work around.
Let’s not forget a crucial thing here too – the product that we had a hand in making was outstanding. Italian country loaves in different shapes and sizes, ciabatta, pizza dough, Turkish bread, focaccia, schiacciata, zeppole, Italian ring, polenta sourdough, bombolone, cannoli, frittole, sfogliatelle, garlic and asagio bread, a hand mixed sourdough….and this is far from everything. As a bonus, the street value of the items you take home at the end are probably worth half the price of the course! You may find bread loving friends and relatives suddenly finding reason to call by at the end of the days….
As I was driving back home, tired from two days of learning and attempting multi-tasking, sore feet from standing virtually all day, and absent mindedly picking bits of dried dough from my arms – I had the biggest smile on my face. This was hugely enjoyable, eye opening, rewarding and inspiring.
The bottom line is this – if you have an interest in developing or furthering your Italian baking skills, and just baking skills in general, then this or one of the other short courses on offer would be money very well spent. Whether you are a relative novice, or if you have floured down many a bench in your time, you will get a lot out of this or their other upcoming courses.