Thursday, March 17, 2011

Iron Chef America!

Ok, not really – but I sure did FEEL like I was on Iron Chef America during my pastry final exam!!!

We had 3.5 hours the first night to do our mise en place (preparation) in order to present out final products the next day. We had 3 hours to assemble everything and make it look beautiful on the final day.

Let me tell you, friends, I will NOT be challenging Mario Batali or Bobby Flay in this lifetime on Iron Chef America – timed cooking/baking is not my style! I’m more of a sip on a cup of tea while I chat with my friends and listen to Frank Sinatra kind of chef! Anyway, I was sweating and checking the clock every second I had during the exam, and I could swear time sped up, leaving me with less! I was down to the wire, whisking away, building some serious muscle in my right arm as I whisked my sabayon for my lemon sabayon tart over a bain marie (simmering water with a bowl over top). In 3.5 hours, I made pastry cream, Italian buttercream, lemon sabayon filling, made, rolled out and baked pate sucree, made and baked genoise cake (in preparation for a 3 layer birthday cake) and made and proofed croissants, which I baked off the next day (you have to let the dough proof – not poof – overnight). We had 3 hours the next and final day to assemble everything and bake off the croissants. Final products for presentation? A 3 layer birthday cake decorated with chocolate writing and buttercream rosettes, and iced, off course, with Italian buttercream, 20 croissants, 12 profiteroles filled with pastry cream and topped with a dusting of icing sugar, 12 eclairs filled with pastry cream and dipped in chocolate, and a lemon sabayon tart topped with swiss meringue. Done and done! I made many new friends enroute home from school that night as I gave everything away to security guards, employees and passengers on the seabus!

Another quarter of pastry school behind me, and I am celebrating by going to the motherland of food: France!! Have a lovely 10 days, everyone! I will talk to you when I get back! Here is a preview of what you can expect from me everyday in France:

All my love to each and every one of you!



Saturday, March 12, 2011


Happy Saturday! I hope it has been lovely for you so far!

This last week has been all about final exams, studying, practicing and perfecting everything I’ve been learning since the beginning of this year. I’ve already had 2 finals, with my final 2 next week! So far, so good – phew!

Next week, I’m taking an unbelievable trip: I’m going on a yoga/P90X/ski retreat to Chamonix, France led by Ted McDonald, yoga instructor and studio owner extraordinaire, and Tony Horton, fitness guru and founder of P90X! I’m pretty sure this is the only trip that will enable me to go to France and actually loose weight instead of gain it! Bring on the pain au chocolats! If this sounds like your dream trip, and you are feeling spontaneous, like throwing caution to the wind, and living in the moment, check out the link below for more information, and sign up! There are still a few spots left!

In the meantime, check out the pictures below – lots of great dessert plating ideas!

Have a fabulous weekend, friends! Enjoy every second!

Love always,

Friday, March 4, 2011


Happy Friday, everybody! And welcome to March 2011! I hope it has been amazing for all of you thus far.

I hate that it has taken me almost a full week to recap the glorious event that I took part in last Saturday, but alas, I haven’t learned to turn back time…yet!

So without further ado, allow me to tell you all about the second annual dish’ED! As a reminder, dish’ED is a culinary event that raises money for Imagine1Day, a non-profit organization whose mission is to raise money to provide primary education to children in Ethiopia, Africa. Check them out at the link below for more information, including information on their next service trip happening at the end of October (a trip I have committed to participating in!). 

The location for dish’ED? A quaint diner called Dockers whose owner, Joanna, has impacted her community in ways that have etched her legacy in the threads of time.

The menu? Canapes of meatless potato corn dogs served with Chanterelle ketchup and pock terrine with pickled carrots and pea shoots, followed by 3 courses: Mac and Cheese like you’ve never seen before, tomato soup served with a delectable brioche grilled cheese, potato encrusted salmon served with vibrant green mushy peas and beurre blanc tartar sauce. Dessert, compliments of yours truly, was a moist lemon yogurt cake served with crème anglaise and raspberry coulis, and was followed by a luxurious selection of fine cheeses. In a word: YUM! 

Jacob Deacon-Evans was the chef for the night and was responsible for creating the menu. He is the sous-chef at Bishops, a delightful restaurant here in Vancouver. Jacob spent much of his culinary time learning in the kitchens of London, England, including a Michelin starred restaurant where he ran the pastry kitchen!! That didn’t intimidate me at all…..ha ha….ha….is it hot in here?

Graham MacLennan, lawyer by day and chef by night, was the man responsible for the coming together of this event. Without Graham, there would have been no dish’ED. He got all of the food donated, which took much time and persuasion, as well as orchestrated Jacob’s agreeing to Chef the event. Graham: your dedication to this cause, and life in general, is inspiring, and is a wonderful example of how life is meant to be lived: to the fullest, every moment. Thank you!

I would like to thank my friends, Chelsea Morrison, Ashley Rogers, Carmen Mak, Rose Frouin and Mark Rudder who agreed to donate their time and energy to this event without even batting an eye. They helped with prep and serving, and Carmen and Rose even stayed up until 11pm the night before the event, tirelessly making 150 cake pops to give away at the end of the night!! Without these amazing friends, I’m certain we would not have been able to pull this event off. Thank you, thank you, thank you from the bottom of my heart!

Also a huge shout out to Tess Rafferty, our maitre D for the evening, and also the one responsible for getting us plates, linens, decoations, and oh so much more! Thanks to Paolo Pietropaolo, our amazing MC and DJ for the evening. Thanks of course to Sapna Dayal, executive director at Imagine1Day, and her lovely mom, Shaki, who helped with prep the day of the event. You are all wonderful, amazing people who inspire me to want to live the best version of my life each day.

If any of you are feeling inspired by Imagine1Day and feeling moved to action, you can plan a dish’ED event in your city too! Let me know if you’re interested, and I will help you with all the details.

In the meantime, stay tuned for my next dish’ED, and details on my upcoming service trip to Ehtiopia. I have much money to raise and will need your help, love and support!

In the name of service, and being reminded that life isn’t all about me – it’s about giving to others in all forms – money, yes, but also in love, support, hugs, kisses, an ear to listen, a shoulder to cry on – I leave you with something Mother Teresa said, something I have committed to do each day of my life (even when I’m fighting a bad mood):

Spread love everywhere you go. Let no one ever come to you without leaving happier.

With all my love and gratitude,