Thursday, June 16, 2011
A Rigorous New Curriculum for CKCA Baking & Pastry Arts
It's not just about whipping egg whites or mixing batter anymore. America's first and only kosher program focusing on advanced levels of pastry arts, such as the art of making Petit fours (pictured) and Bavarian cremes are being taught daily at the Brooklyn-based Center for Kosher Culinary Arts.
French-born Chef Instructor Philippe Kaemmerle (pictured), along with CKCA director Jesse Blonder and Chef Instructor/master baker Mark Hellermann, have developed an advanced pastry arts curriculum and honed it over the past two years. This summer, the eighth class will begin; it starts July 5th. (Click here for more info).
Born and raised in the Alsace region of France, Kaemmerle studied pastry arts in Strasbourg before working as a pastry chef in some of the finest restaurants in Europe and New York City. He even did a stint working with the private chef to the King of Sweden. Kaemmerle formerly taught pastry at the Art Institute of New York and now is beginning his second year teaching at CKCA.
Designed for the kosher-keeping chef, the CKCA professional program in Baking&Pastry is unique in America in that all ingredients used are pareve; That is no dairy or meat products are used. This is because people who keep kosher enjoy fancy desserts most often after eating meat meals, and kosher-keepers are forbidden to eat dairy at the same meal when they have also eaten meat.
Kaemmerle, Blonder as well as Chef Instructor and Dean of Students Avram Wiseman, who teaches Pro Culinary Arts at CKCA (running this summer for the fourth year, or the 16th quarter), have developed a unique list of pareve ingredients which work well in the pareve pastry kitchen; Product lists include margarine, soy milk, almond milk, rice milk, non-dairy creamer and Mimic-Creme, a creamy combination of almond and cashew milk.
The first five weeks of the ten-week, 152-hour class (or in summer, the first four of the eight-week, 152-hour class) now focus on skill development and the second half of the course moves the student immediately to a more advanced level, so that he or she goes from making cookies, muffins, scones and breads in the beginning of the course, to advanced cakes and chocolate. These include mousses such as Bavarian creams, Napoleans, eclairs and Petit fours and other specialty pastry-making such as advanced chocolate like truffles, marzipan and molded chocolates. The class also spends time on decorations such as marzipan flower-making, chocolate writing and piping.
Something that encompasses many of these advanced skills at the same time are Petit fours, Chef Kaemmerle says. "Petit fours are something special that will probably come up as the next big hit in the Jewish community. Delectable, complicated one-bite cakes are served at banquets, dinners and events, and now our students know the classical art of how to make them. This is a skill that is in great demand," he said.
Petit fours and other advanced cakes often have three or more elements that make them complicated. Generally, they have a sponge cake base, then a mousse layer, a fruit or chocolate glaze and an attractive topping of some kind. Putting all the elements together at the right moment requires the chef to be patient, tactile and very organized. Chef Kaemmerle believes some parts of these skills are inborn but can also be taught. For students who wish to begin their career as a pastry chef, Kaemmerle says the CKCA Pro Baking & Pastry program will ready them to work in any professional pastry kitchen, whether it is a restaurant, catering business or bakery.
Visit the CKCA website for more information, or call Jesse Blonder at 718-758-1339 to come by for a tour.
Posted by kosherliz at 7:09 AM