Today was our last practical. I feel rather ambivalent about the ending of the process. I've been living a little dream -- but there has been a lot of heartache along the way, most of which I've kept off the blog.
We made croquembouches and did some pulled sugar. Neither was at all successful. The croquembouche failed because my English instincts told me to take my choux last (we prepared them at the end of last week) which meant I ended up with a load of random sizes. Trying to build a conical structure from such an assortment was more akin to Cotswold dry-stone walling than classical French pâtisserie.
And the pulled sugar... it's just bloody hard and gives you blisters. So instead of photos of two rubbish attempts, here are some portraits of my comrades over the last 5 months.
Chef pulling sugar. I think it's a bird's beak. He is flanked by maid Marion.
Thibault the class clown sucking on a meringue.
Cédric who is very precise and has an earring. And a wife.
Théo who is the most likely to have an interesting boutique in 10 years time. Having one of his many private chats with the chef.
Alan who is just a terrific bloke who takes a lot of care. Which might take its toll on his back. I think he is going to succeed massively but working in restaurants rather than pure patisserie.
Fréd, a real favourite who was my swimming companion for the latter half of the stage. She got the top mark. Her grandmother was one of the first waitresses at the Roux's Gavroche.
Same with sugar.
Na, one of the Koreans.
Nanami, Japanese and wonderful. Very funny girl.
Wen, very lovely Chinese girl. Showing fatigue rather than her usual smile.
This is Pascal wearing Bruno's croquembouche. Picture says a lot.
Antony was one of the youngest on the course and unfortunately did not get the diploma. Nice chap. Usually quiet with quizzical/confused air.
Bruno, miserable sod, but hysterically dry. He was my partner for the second half of the stage and I grew to love his pessimistic outlook. We got on very well.
Thibault and Pascal on the phone by school. We went out after drinks and petit-fours in the labo.
Missing from above: Mi Hyun (ill) and Jae Hyeon (didn't manage to get a snap).