It is done!
510 hours, 9 examinations, countless recipes.
Exploded éclairs, torn entremets, and singed hands.
But thankfully it wasn’t all disastrous. As you must well know by now, I am terribly fond of all things meringue and macaron. But my world was turned the right side up when I discovered scrumptious layers of entremets and the architectural skill it takes to pull one off. It truly is a wonderful thing to behold. There’s an odd rush to unmoulding the cake ring, such anticipaton – “Will it work? Or will it go horribly wrong?” When all is well it is as rewarding as opening presents!
During the final term we worked with chocolate a lot and I got quite good at stealthily popping truffles when the chefs weren’t watching…which, probably wasn’t much help at all since there was CCTV in motion.
Ah but food is best shared with people, and did I meet some amazing people! The funny-ones when you needed a laugh, the phlegmatic when you needed a shoulder to lean on, the bossy ones to keep everyone in check, the field journalists to give you all the school gossips, and the ones you know will still be your friends when the cloud of flour and icing sugar settles.
33 weeks gestational period and I am reborn a graduate pâtissière. Funnily enough I am far prouder of this achievement than when I graduated university…I shan’t say when that was, but I can say I can’t believe how quickly time has gone by…
We walked in to school, mostly eager pastry enthusiasts, sheltered by the luxury of short hours (well, relatively short for the industry), helpful porters, amazing yet amusing teaching chefs, and quite frankly (and in hindsight), a lot of time to do very little.
But the excitement and relief of graduation quickly dissipated and was replaced by a looming uncertainty. The real challenge now is to enter the daunting world of professional kitchens under the scrutiny of experienced watchful eyes. Or in my case, try and start a home-based business. I remember waking up the next morning thinking, “You’ve gone and done it now, there’s no turning back” and wishing for another 8:00am class. But I have to push on.
So I’ve spent the last few weeks running countless word documents and spreadsheets on my laptop to review my business plan. What I really, really want is to open a store in London, but we can’t afford the mountainous start-up costs. So we’ll do what most people do, and start from home with a made-to-order business model. We are getting the kitchen registered with our local council, so that customers will have the peace of mind that everything here is not only made lovingly but also with a great deal of care. It is taking so much (frustrating) time to set up, but being so inexperienced I want to make sure we have all grounds covered before we come out guns blazing…or whisks raging (?)…ugh no, that just doesn’t have the right ring to it…anyway…which brings me to the next bit.
*cue theme song: Valse Parisienne*
It gives me a colossal amount of joy to announce that Jaim’s Kitchen is launching an ‘Afternoon Tea Club’ – oh yeah! I had a mini tea-party with my friends Sophia, Gabriel and Warren earlier this month. You see, my friendship comes with a caveat; it reads, ‘All friends are automatically food tasters’. Thankfully they approved of the menu, and the food, so we’ll be launching our first official afternoon tea on Sunday, 3rd November!!
*does little happy waltz*
What you don’t know but will know now, is that deep down I am frightfully aware that no one might come!
*rubs tiger-balm on forehead and press on*
It is a little different to a classic tea, which traditionally begins at 15:00 hours. But I’ve always found that such an odd time, because I never know how much to eat during lunch and whether to keep space for dinner. So we’re doing it the ‘Malaysian’ way, which was how I was introduced to afternoon teas…or rather high-teas as it was called when I was a child. It was always such a treat, and we would only ever go on a very special occasion because high-teas were held at very posh 5-star hotels we couldn’t normally afford. I remember those days like they were yesterday. Somehow my best memories always involved food…
Our afternoon tea will begin at 1:00pm – means come with an empty stomach.
And not to worry about variety too; as much as I am a sweet-tooth, I need savoury food if I am to function at all. Cue fried noodles for breakfast, but that’s another story…
You’ll be welcomed with a glass of Chambord Royale; a beautiful black raspberry liqueur topped off with bubbly champagne. The menu also promises lots of savoury options; open sandwiches and vols-au-vent from homemade puff pastry. These will be served on lovely tiered stands accompanied by lush teas carefully selected.
After the savoury course, we’ll have a little break where I’ll talk more about the inspiration behind the menu and what to expect from the Afternoon Tea Club.
Then just before you know it, we’ll be back with tiers of sweet delights and fresh pots of tea to feed everyone’s fancy. Autumn is a massive contender with spring as my favourite season of the year. Every year I wait with bated breath for the leaves to turn golden and red. It is also the time of year when I blackberry everything! So if for nothing else come, for the homemade blackberry jam tucked into little tartlets, and for blueberry macarons filled with a blackberry lavender and lemon jam.
At about 3:30pm we will stop serving, but the afternoon itself officially ends latest at 5:00pm, allowing time for the food to settle before we bundle everyone off to their respective mode of transportation home. It also means room for dinner at 20:00 hours.
I can barely contain my excitement, so I shall leave you with photos and links to the event.
Till then, lots of love and stay warm xx