Regardless, I have wanted to check out The French Pastry School for a long time. After I met up with some representatives of the school at the Chicago Fine Chocolate Show, they invited me to check out their facilities in their French Pastry Experience session.
After an easy drive downtown, I parked in a lot directly next to the highway and the school. The school offered the lot for $5 for the whole day and it was super convenient; otherwise, I would have taken the train.
The morning started with a tour of the facilities conducted by a current student. Our student tour guide showed us the tools and textbooks the students use:
Then took us through the school's many kitchens. I could have fit inside the ovens, mixers and freezers there.
They had some amazing show cakes there. They put my supermarket wedding cake to shame.
\Then, we sat down to enjoy a croissant with homemade jam and butter (I'm eating all of my Weight Watchers points today) with coffee.
Then one of the chef instructors spent two hours demonstrating different recipes. He was engaging and funny, and the demonstration was thoroughly enthralling. Everything he made was beautiful and he worked efficiently and cleanly through four dessert preparations.
We had a honey lemon madeline.
A Grand Marnier caramel and fleur de sel molded chocolate bonbon.
And a pecan and espresso florentin tuile.
The last dessert included mango, so I had to pass. The chef fielded questions, added tips and gave us a few ideas about how to make our homemade desserts and breads better. When I finally felt up to rolling myself out of there, they sent me home with a goodie bag stuffed with more amazing desserts, along with a loaf of artisan bread.
This was a seriously amazing few hours and I feel fortunate to have received an invite to this shin dig. Another item off of my bucket list!