by Noor ul Ain Ali
Ovens set to 350°F, baking sheets lined with parchment paper, stand mixers at the ready, COTHM’s International pastry skills class began. What ensued were baking and pastry gymnastics that could frazzle even seasoned bakers. But in his hands, the controlled chaos resulted in exquisite recipes that married into one pastry skills
20 minutes in, Chef Anwer paused to recap and summarize what lay ahead (and to give a few breathless participants a chance to catch up). Two recipes were down, but mousse was up next, followed by piping and glazing. Timing would be imperative. “The difficulty in this recipe is that everything kind of needs to be done around the same time so you can assemble.”
With the students on the edge, waiting further guidance, Anwar took a minute to remind them of everything else that needed checking: Were the sponges in the oven? Did they need more time? Rotate the pan. Was the ganache cool (but not too cool)? Oh, better start melting chocolate for the glaze.
It was delightful seeing chefs decorating chocolate macarons with gold glitter and gauging the best temperature for a white chocolate ganache. After placing the finishing touches on their immaculate creations, internationally acclaimed chef presented a massive buffet for a tasting, a delicious treat after a hard day’s work.
“We don’t just teach them a recipe,” Anwar said. “We explain the reasons why we do something a certain way, so they can understand how a recipe works. That’s when it gets interesting.”
The workshop was custom-designed to meet the needs of mid to high-end businesses, and cover the essential skills needed to create authentic basic or complex pastries or baked items, depending on the menu.