I decided I wanted to do this apprentice thing for a number of reasons:
Firstly, I have been wanting to go to patisserie school since time began.
Secondly, I can not afford cookery school.
Thirdly, I want to earn some money while I work. That's reasonable, isn't it?
Fourthly, it's my last chance at learning the art of patisserie in this way. In France, you can enrol in a course with an apprenticeship up until the age of 25.
My weeks trial was an eye-opening experience. It was difficult. I knew it would be, but I think I had underestimated the kind of manual labour it would be.
During the week, I started the day preparing fruit such as chopping strawberries and arranging raspberries beautifully on tarts. There was a Japanese girl who showed me how it was done. I tell you, in all due respect, never underestimate how precise and neat Japanese people are. If my raspberry was even slightly over dipped in icing sugar or I had perchance chopped the strawberry half a millimetre the wrong way is was a goner. Fast and Precise. Faster, and more precise.
Of course you're thinking "any fool can chop a strawberry." But no, no, no my friend. This fruit chopping was summin' else.
I also did a lot of piping and decorating of 'financiers' which are similar to mini sponge cakes but slightly more dense as they contain almond flour.
I dipped hundreds of mini 'baba au rhum' in apricot glaze, iced chocolate macaroons and made salted caramel buttercream. I iced 'gland' which are mini choux pastry with creme patissiere.
I was always so keen to learn about what the other pastry chefs were doing. "How long did you put those eclairs in? Do you pre-bake the quiche before putting in the filling?" (The answer to question 1: 50 mins. Answer to question 2: No.)
At the end of the last day, the two pastry chefs (like bosses) told me to meet them in the bar. We would go for a beer and discuss some serious matters.