Friday 6 February 2009

In which we get our knickers in a twist

Today I had enough of my new teacher.

I glazed my eclairs in the way we had been taught at Aurillac and he went off the deep-end. He was extremely rude and told me if I did them like that on the day of the CAP exam I may as well just go home. When I asked him why his way was preferable he could offer no reason. Then one of the other students told me I shouldn't seek to ask questions but just do like everyone else.

Well all that combined pissed me off beyond belief.

The most common way to dress an eclair, admittedly, is the way the chef wanted me to do... you puncture three holes in the bottom and use them to fill the middle with flavoured crème pâtissière. Then you ice the top. Now my excellent teacher in Aurillac proposed the following method: rather than inserting the cream through holes, you simply cut the eclair in half and pipe it in...then you glaze the foot of the eclair.

The reasons are very decent: with the traditional method the three holes end up underneath the eclair in contact with its paper sleeve. After only a short while in a shop the cream risks oozing out and soggying the paper. I even had this problem with an eclair I bought in a shop the other day. It wasn't nice. And it makes sense to ice the foot of the eclair since this is perfectly flat so will give you a smoother, neater icing.

So far I know of no reason to do it the traditional way (indeed, my teacher could not give me any) except for the fact it is rather neat.

So he and I had this little debate. Well, I asked him what the advantages were of his way and he got rather peeved when he could not think of a reason and decided to start slagging off the Aurillac school. What he did not know was that my teacher there trained at the INBP so it was really rather feckless. I don't have a preference for either method, after all, I'm a complete beginner - I want to know which way is best and why.

Then, just afterwards, when I was icing my nuns, he told me my icing was too hot. It's meant to be tempered at about 35°c to ensure a good shine. I told him that it was, in fact, at the temperature he had told us and touched the bottom of the saucepan to prove it was handleable. He said he didn't believe me and told me to stick my finger in the pan. He actually wanted me to burn myself. So I shoved my finger deep into the pan and left it there... which wasn't a problem since the bloody icing was at the right temperature all along. He shrugged and walked off.

Well, I've had enough. That's no way to go about teaching and I am writing to the school complain and ask to be moved to a different class. Before I was really in love with what I was doing. With the new chap I can't wait for our sessions to end.

Here is some angry graffiti from around Rouen:

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