Baking School Part 8:  The Grand Finale – China Bound

Julie Miguel is a digital content producer with a specialization in food media as well as an active food blogger located in Toronto, Canada. The focus of her blog, Daily Tiramisu, is to empower home cooks to be fearless in the kitchen and she does this by taking traditionally difficult recipes and making them easier to execute.

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My Centennial College adventures continue with my baking class final, production of e-cooking videos for their YouTube Channel and my next adventure – China!
Baking Final
The Final Practical Test component of Baking Class took place a few weeks back.  We were tasked with handing in a complete recipe journal (typed and including all chef notes for demonstrations and pictures).  For the practical part we were asked to produce in the lab:
One apple pie.
One half recipe of soft rolls.
On tray of piping (specific piped shapes as instructed).
All in 3 hours.
I had just returned from vacation so getting right back into the swing of things was hard enough as it was.  I blame jet lag for not having the gusto I needed to prepare for this final test.  If I had a timeline prepared and my recipes organized, it would have made a world of a difference.
I started with the soft rolls because making bread is a process and I knew I would need the time for proofing the dough.  Right off the bat, I scaled the recipe incorrectly.  The instructions were a half recipe of the soft rolls and I halved the recipe but forgot to properly scale the water.  Needless to say I had to start all over again.  I am thankful there was enough ingredients available so I was able to try again.  The panic had set in by this point but I decided to buckle down and start again.  I knew I would make up the time somewhere else.

The pie making went really well.  I was mega focused and powered through it. Piping was a challenge because I hadn’t whipped my whipped topping enough so my shapes kept falling flat.  I may have also benefited from more piping practice.
I finished everything right on time and the Chef had very few comments to make about my finished products.  The rolls could have used a neater egg wash (I was rushing a little bit as explained above), the pie crust edges could have been tucked in slightly so they wouldn’t hang over the edge of the pie plate and the piping topping should have been whipped so it had a stiffer consistency.  Besides those few minor corrections, she said I did a wonderful job!

The Chef sent me my final grade: “Your Recipe Journal grade is 89% (Fantastic job. You did everything I asked and more! Just a few minor theory accuracy issues, but overall just amazing!)  Your Final test lab grade is 85% (great job!)  Your final grade for the course is 75%! Great Job! You were a real pleasure to have in class and I hope to see you again in another course! You have a great attitude, work ethic, and great passion. A true professional and great student!”
I had an incredible time in my baking course and not only did I learn a lot about baking but I learned so much about myself in the process.  School is something that really tests your will and endurance, especially when working full-time and taking care of a family.  It was really difficult for me at times but the support of the faculty and staff at Centennial College really made this experience a truly special one that I will never forget.
If you want to check out my entire Centennial College Baking School journey, here are all my posts:
January 14, 2016: Baking School Part 1 – New Beginnings
January 28, 2016:  Baking School Part 2 – That’s The Way The Cookie Crumbles
February 11, 2016: Baking School Part 3 – One Part Patience and One Part Confidence
February 25, 2016:  Baking School Part 4 – Getting My Choux On
March 10, 2016: Baking School Part 5 – Alive to Dead, Dough to Bread
March 24, 2016: Baking School Part 6 – Croissant, Puff Pastry and So Much Butter!
April 7, 2016: Baking School Part 7 – Vintage Baking Vibes
E-Cooking Video Series
Centennial College asked me to be one of the hosts of their Baking E-Cooking Series on their YouTube Channel.  I was thrilled about this opportunity because not only did I get to show off my new baking skills in an on-camera setting, but I also got to work with a rock star director, Mike Ward, who is currently the Food Editor-in-Chief at Canadian Living Magazine.
Preparing for video shoots is a ton of work but all very rewarding once you get to see the finished product.  I planned the recipes and created all of the food, which had to be formatted in a way that would be very fast and easy for production and camera purposes.  I also prepared the script but Mike did a lot to help me with that part.  I tend to talk too much so he did an amazing job of coaching me on how I could be more succinct, and he also gave me great tips to help me with my on-camera personality.  I learned so much from Mike and I am grateful to have had the experience to work with this amazing food media rock star.
I don’t want to say much more about this, I would rather show you!  The videos will be released over the next few months and I will be sure to post them and direct you to them.
What’s Next: China Bound!
I was chosen to participate in Centennial College’s very first FLIP (Faculty-Led International Program).  When I found out I was chosen, I literally couldn’t believe it!  I never in a million years though I would be travelling to China this year!
This FLIP program is an amazing opportunity for students from the Culinary program to gain first-hand experience and knowledge that is relevant to the Culinary Arts program but in an international context.  The FLIP I will be participating in is to Suzhou, China!  The highlights of this program for me are the hands-on training from a Master Chef in China where we will learn about three types of Chinese culinary styles as well as Chinese Hospitality practices, we will be participating in Chinese language and cultural programs,  I am literally giddy with excitement about all of this and I haven’t even told you all of the details yet (more to come)!
The three styles of Chinese cuisine are Suzhou, Sichuan and Huaiyang.  We will be participating in a culinary presentation and competition on the final day of the program (and you all know I am no stranger to competitions ;).  Also, all of us will be preparing a traditional Canadian meal for our Suzhou peers.  The menu is very interesting and I can’t wait to cook for them — stay tuned to find out what we cook for them!
We will do a little touring while in Suzhou too.  Some of the spots include the Humble Administrator’s Garden, Lingering Garden and Suzhou’s Star hotels, to name a few.  We land in Shanghai and this amazing city will only be a quick speed train ride away from where we will be staying (Centennial College’s Suzhou campus).  Also, a few of the students and I are also planning a quick trip on our day off, to Beijing, to see the Great Wall of China!
There is so much planned for the next two weeks and I can’t wait to share it with you.  Follow my adventures on Instagram, Facebook and Twitter.  I will also be doing a complete write up about my experience in China, and documenting it in photos as well, in the coming months.
That’s all for now!  See you all soon!
With Love,
*This post was created as part of a paid partnership between myself and Centennial College.  However, and as always, all opinions are my own.

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