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Visiting The French Pastry School in Chicago

November 27, 2009

Last weekend I had the pleasure of visiting The French Pastry School in Chicago for a tour and demonstration, which they call the French Pastry Experience. We started off with a tour of the school. First up, my favorite part: the chocolate machine that dispenses perfectly tempered chocolate all day long!

Next, their impressive collection of silicone molds and a handy rolling rack of ring molds.

Then a stop in the walk-in cooler to look at the chocolate sculptures.

Before we sat down for the demonstration, we helped ourselves to croissants, jam, madelines, chocolates, tuiles, and coffee. All of it was beautiful and delicious! The demonstration, given by two chefs, Jacquy Pfeiffer and Laura Ragano, included:

  • Lavender, Honey, and Lemon Madelines
  • Grand Marnier Caramel and Fleur de Sel Molded Chocolate Bonbons
  • Pecan and Nespresso Ristretto (coffee) Florentin Tuiles
  • Slow Oven Roasted Vanilla Pineapple
  • Mango Sorbet
  • A plated dessert with the pineapple, sorbet, madeline, and a coconut basil emulsion and soaked basil seeds.

Both chefs did a great job of explaining and demonstrating, plus they answered a ton of questions from the group. The best part was when someone asked if you could use Pam on the madeline molds instead of buttering and flouring them. Chef Pfieffer called for security to have the woman removed! He was joking of course, but I would recommend never using the word Pam in the same room as a French chef! He was very funny and it was a fun and lively demonstration. I took lots of notes, so I hope they make sense to me when I look them over and try some things out.

They had it set up very nicely with an overhead mirror and a monitor on the side so that everyone could see what the chefs were doing.

After the demonstration, the staff was available to answer questions about the school. They offer professional programs in pastry and cake decorating, as well as 3-5 day continuing education classes for professionals and food enthusiasts.

They sent us home with a goodie bag, which included a loaf of bread and a cute package with candies, a madeline, and a jar of caramelized dark chocolate hazelnut spread.

What a fun way to spend a morning in Chicago!

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11 comments

  1. I am so jealous! What a fantastic way to spend the afternoon!


  2. WOW! Those chocolate sculptures look amazing!

    That looks like a great place to visit!!!!


  3. Oh! You lucky, lucky woman… I’d give anything to have been in your shoes!


  4. That sounds like fun Jill!


  5. What a fun thing to do! That goodie bag looks yummy.


  6. What a fabulous, fun experience! A few years ago, I did a pastry boot camp at the CIA and it was like an out of body experience.


  7. You are SO lucky. I’m not going to lie… I’d park myself under that chocolate dispenser with my mouth open all day letting it pour on in!


  8. Wow–I am so jealous right now! That looks amazing!


  9. Thanks for sharing all of your awesome photos! What a great adventure!!


  10. Hmmm, I may have to stop by some Saturday. That looked amazing!


  11. I liked your post:-)

    I went to this school last year…yes they are doing incredible things there….it was 6 months of hard work but INDULGING…the quality of the pastries is top notch.



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