Friday, April 30, 2010

Great American Bake Sale

I am honored to be participating in the Share Our Strength's Great American Bake Sale this year.  This event is in conjunction with Overland Park's first annual "Smokefest." It's going to be the BBQ lovers dream come true. It runs from 8:30-2 in downtown OP and will feature education on grilling and smoking, a culinary competition among chefs, a make your own "rub" station, and more. It promises to be a fun day for the whole family.

When you are ready for something a little sweeter, stop by the bake sale for dessert or a treat to bring home. My gluten free treats for the sale will be French Macarones - oh how I adore those fussy little pastries!

In 2009, Great American Bake Sales held across the nation raised more than $1,220,000 to fund after school and summer feeding programs for children, and support Share Our Strength’s Operation Frontline®, a chef-led nutrition education program for low-income children and families. 

Here are some very good reasons for you to grab a treat at the bake sale:
  • 12.6 million…American children wonder if they will eat in the morning
  • 13%…of American families with children under six years old face hunger
  • 50%…of American food stamp recipients are children
  • 60%…of requests for emergency food assistance come from American families with children
  • 89%…of low-income American children who receive school lunches do not receive regular meals during the summer
  • One…summer of poor nutrition will seriously impair a child’s ability to learn
  • 1 in 3…Americans who stand in a soup kitchen line are children1 in 5…American households with children live at risk of hunger
  • 1 in 10…American households lack access to enough food

As a chef, I feel it's part of my duty to help educate people on this issue. As a mother, I feel the need to do my part to see to it that all mother's are able to feed their babies.

If you are in the area, please stop by the bake sale!

****** Update!! *******
The first Great American Bake Sale was a huge success!!  We were hoping to raise $200 - $250.00 or so, we raised $600.00!!!!!  Thank you to everyone who stopped by!!!

Thursday, April 29, 2010

Tears of Joy

Seriously folks, chicken pot pie is one of my all-time favorite foods. Ever. I never thought I'd eat it again after learning I was gluten intolerant. I assumed I'd never be able to feed the deliciousness that is ♫ chicken pot, chicken pot, chicken pot pieeeeeeeeee ♫ to my children. Until now.

Shauna Ahern has done it again.

Gluten Free Girl - Rough Puff Pastry

Thank you from the very bottom of my stomach and the tips of my taste buds.  ♥

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

First Communion

My daughter, Bean, made her first communion this past weekend. It was an incredibly wonderful ceremony and celebration. As I've mentioned about a hundred times, Bean has Celiac disease. She can not receive "normal" wheat laden communion wafers, so we contacted the Benedictine Sisters to have them create her "low gluten" hosts.  Her host was placed on a special paten, away from all the other hosts, and she was the very first one to receive that day. I'm such a proud mama.

Of course, being the baker that I am... I had to bake her gluten free/vegan cupcakes for her celebration. They turned out really delicious!  I used yet another recipe from the Flying Apron baking book. I altered it a bit, subbing tapioca flour for the bean flour, but they were delicious all the same.  I also made chalice&host sugar cookies for her entire class of 44.

Sugar Cookies with an orange royal icing - I used the Everclear to help color the royal icing with luster dust. Yea... I wasn't drinkin' on the job! =)

Here are her yummy cupcakes!

Her completed cupcake tower - I made the tower myself as well!
Thanks to Cake Journal  for the instructions!

And, here's my lovely little Bean!
Congratulations Sweetheart!!!

Monday, April 19, 2010

École de Pâtisserie

Well, the long and short version.... I was accepted!!!

I start pastry school in the fall. In one year, I will be adding the initials CPC to my name!!   I'll discuss more a little later. For now... I must go to American Regional and attempt to pass a Chef Turner exam. Word of the day: Ugh.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Interview Complete

I arrived for my interview right on time. I'd decided to dress up a bit rather than wear my Chef whites and I'm very glad I did. The other candidates that I saw were all wearing "normal" clothes. I would have felt like an idiot walking in wearing whites.

I usually do very well in interviews. I've been hired following every one I've had thus far in my life. I've always walked away with confidence knowing that I impressed the decision makers.  That's not the case today. You see, my oldest son is in the hospital. My mind was with him, my thoughts and feelings were locked up around ways to help him get better. I stumbled over my words. Some of my responses, upon second thought, didn't really make much sense. I was asked a lot of business related questions to which I really don't have any answers.  I talked my way though it...but was it enough? I have no idea.

The really weird thing was that I know two of the three interviewers pretty well. One was my Confectionery Arts (Chef) instructor. The other, the Dean of Hospitality. The third person was the Dean of Business. Since Pastry School falls in the middle of hospitality and business, it only makes sense that she was there. She wasn't the one who made me nervous.... neither was Chef. The one who made me feel nervous and self conscious was the one person I know I can turn to when I'm having difficulty or struggling. Maybe it's because she knows how much I struggled as a full time student last semester. Maybe that will weigh on her decision as to whether or not I'm admitted to the program.

This really is all I want. Pastry School. It's right in front of me.... but I'm not really sure I can reach it. *sigh*

Thursday, April 8, 2010

May is Celiac Awareness Month

I thought I'd take a moment to reflect on this issue since I'm loading up my blog with posts about my attempts to get into pastry school.

There is only one cure for Celiac Disease - a lifelong avoidance of gluten. Period. That's it. There's no magic pill, there's no surgery, there's no special exercise, and there are no doctors who can take away the problem.  While I am intolerant of gluten, I do not have Celiac Disease. My daughter, however, does.

My dream is to learn, in pastry school, from the best. I will learn how to make high-end pastry, breads, and goodies in the classroom setting, working with CIA trained Chefs. I will come home and work, tirelessly, to create those same items sans gluten. In many cases, I will be working to create those same items vegan! In addition to Celiac in our home, we also have a 4 year old son who has a life-threatening allergy to eggs and dairy. Vegan & Gluten Free are the only way for us.

So, yes... I will be creating lovely goodies that I can't enjoy. But, it's alright!!  I will learn how to create these delectables for others like myself and my children, so that they too may enjoy the yumminess that comes from the kitchen of a pastry chef.

Friday, April 2, 2010

Interview!!!

I have now been in culinary school for 3 full semesters, this is my 4th. I've tried, unsuccessfully, for two years (08&09) to gain admission into the Pastry Program. This year, admission is selective and I'm extremely happy about that.  Prior to this year it's been a "first come first serve" program so admission was granted to whomever had the fastest computer on registration day.

Now there is a selection process that consists of an application, essay, review of transcripts, etc.  The top 30 applicants will be interviewed with the program, the top 15 will be admitted for Fall 2010.

I have an interview on Tuesday, April 13th!!!!
Dear Readers, Cross your fingers for me, please!!!