It all began with endless hours of watching Julia Child on PBS. No matter how much my mother tried, it was impossible to pull me away from our television. I was mesmerized. Everything looked delicious, and the fact is, we had unsophisticated palates so I didn’t even know of the food she prepared let alone tasted it. What resonated most was her ability to make cooking accessible to everyone — and I feel the same way about baking. Part of my mission is to unravel the “mysteries” of baking so you can see that it is not complicated.
It wasn’t until I taught my first writing class at Northeastern University that I realized teaching made me feel invigorated. There’s nothing more gratifying than when students get that ‘Aha!’ moment — or knowing I may have helped shape their careers.
Teaching is wildly infectious—as students catch on to whatever topic you’re teaching, you start to understand that you never know how long and far the knowledge you’ve passed along will go—and that is exciting.
Although I’ve transitioned from teaching college academics to scratch baking, one thing remains the same: once you apply the given techniques, you’ll be able to execute beautiful desserts or decorations that you probably thought were complicated. Case in point: one of my summer employees, Emma.
Like me, Emma loved to bake—and she often peeked behind the counter to watch our pastry chefs working so she could learn more about what they were doing. One thing that always looks complicated is buttercream roses. But the secret to successfully piping buttercream simply lies in two things: angle and pressure. How you angle the petal tip and the pressure you apply to the pastry bag is going to determine the shape, thickness, and design of your rose.
Once I showed Emma how to position the piping bag, angle the tip, and the apply pressure she was off and running. She made stunning buttercream roses that we featured in our cases throughout the summer.
Whether you’ve been baking for decades or a novice like Emma, there’s always something new to learn at our Academie. If you’d like go from beginner to baker, register for classes at our Academie today! We offer classes for all levels that range from special techniques to tricks of the trade. Class size is limited. Check out our Fall 2015 class schedule here!
As my lifelong mentor, Julia Child, said: “No one is born a great cook. One learns by doing.”