Life, lately: from Intermediate to Superior.

Firstly, the good news: I passed my Intermediate Patisserie exams!

My practical grade was surprisingly okay, considering how the exam went.  (It was actually better than my Basic grade, which I wasn’t expecting after such a bad session in the kitchen.)  Sure, I’ll admit I was hoping for a higher mark, but honestly, I’m just happy to have passed.  This means that as of tomorrow, when term begins again, I will be a fully-fledged Superior Patisserie student.  It’s going to be challenging, I don’t doubt that for a second, but I’m excited too and can’t wait to get started again.  As geeky or nerdy as it sounds, all I want is to be back at school doing what I love.

So, this past week has been something of a holiday, or an ‘inter-session week’ as the school email dubbed it.  Either way, it’s been nice to have some time off and more than that, to do things that haven’t been pastry-related!

We finished off our Intermediate term with cake decorating; nine hours spread over three sessions to design and decorate a fruit cake.  It was pretty relaxed way to end the term as we chatted over our gumpaste flowers and models, covered our cakes and arranged our decorations; I don’t think we’ve ever worked at such a slow pace in the school kitchens!  It made a nice change after the previous few weeks of exam-related craziness.

Celebration cake - 18/6/2013 (LCB)

Celebration cake – 18/6/2013 (LCB)

While the majority of my group settled on flowers and more classical designs, I went for the minimalist approach, as inspired by the Charm City Cakes Summer 2012 collection, if you’re interested in such things!  I used plain white fondant to cover the cake and finished it with individually hand-cut white gumpaste leaves brushed with silver lustre, adding a blue ruffle-edged flower to provide some interest and colour contrast.  All in all, an interesting exercise in cake decorating and my class produced some beautiful cakes. (The Alice in Wonderland-themed one was particularly stunning; unfortunately, I have no photographs to prove the point!)

We also had our Intermediate certificate ceremony a couple of days after our final classes. (Any excuse to dress up smart and drink champagne…!)  It was lovely to see everyone before we all parted ways and we even managed to get our customary group photograph with the teaching chefs!  However, these events are always double-edged, tinged with sadness; on one hand, it’s a great celebration of everything we’ve achieved in the last twelve weeks but on the other hand, not everyone will be returning next term and it’s a shame to say goodbye to such wonderful people.  Still, life goes on and I’m sure we’ll all stay in touch; LCB has given me some of the best friends I’ve ever known and I have no doubt that we will carry on our friendships beyond the time we’ve spent together at the school.  (We’re already in talks for a one-year reunion next January, to mark the very first day that we all met!)

Last weekend, my parents came down to visit for a few days, which was lovely.  We took in the Turner collection at the Tate Britain, braved Westfield Stratford and went out for a couple of nice dinners.  It was good to see them and reminded me what it’s like to have a life beyond the kitchen!  (Not that I’m complaining about that, since it’s where I like to be most.)  In contrast, the last couple of days have been taken up by work, which I’m still enjoying; I’ve recently been allowed to start mixing macarons, which is great if also very hard work.  (Put it this way, I’m going to have pretty strong arms by the end of my stage…)

Anyway, that’s all for now; the sun is shining, it’s the second stage of the Tour de France, Daft Punk is playing in the background and I’m off to enjoy the rest of my last day of freedom before Superior kicks in!  (I literally can’t wait to find out what we’ll be doing; word is that there’ll be a lot of chocolate and sugar work, not to mention a tea party event that sounds like a whole lot of fun…)

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