London Calling

Kendall_London Street Art

First stop on the European tour: Foggy London Town!

My first visit to this city came with a welcomed sigh of relief. After two months of adjusting my audio to French speakers, it was strange to finally understand people again. Spring was there to welcome me and my visit was accompanied with long strolls through Hyde Park, bustling city walks through the Strand and just general meandering through alleys lined with magnificent street art in Shoreditch.

London Eye

The food was vast and lived up to the hype. I had an unforgettable dining experience at Heston Blumenthal’s celebrated Diner, steaming hot dumplings and Dim Sum in China Town, Indian cuisine boosting sweat inducing curries and of coarse, greasy fish and chips with tarter sauce.

To wash it all down? Pints upon pints of beer, a pleasant change from all the wines in France. The pub scene in London is like non other, with charming historic pubs once favored by Charles Dickens, cavernous underground drinking holes and elegant rooftop bars.

In a mere 3 days, I got a great taste of what the city has to offer: a true mix of old and new, having seen London Tower and Big Ben in the same skyline as the sweeping, glass monstrosities popping up all over town. And while there’s still so much more to do and see for my next visit, I can proudly boost I even got to see the Queen!

Here are some highlights from London:

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Au Revoir et Merci Beaucoup

Chef Kendall

We packed our bags, we said our goodbyes, we shed some tears. My time at ENSP is now over but I can say, without any doubt, that this was one of the most challenging/rewarding/enriching and fattening experiences of my life.

ENSP Graduation_2

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La Petite Finale

Macarons

All good things must come to an end and my time at ENSP was no different.  Our last week of the program was spent creating a winter buffet of petit fours for our graduation ceremony.

French petits fours are essentially little cakes, cookies or tarts; both sucre (sweet) and sale (savory). We spent the bulk of the week making little tarts, classic French cookies and cute versions of recipes we already knew; but the most challenging part of the week was learning to make French macarons.

Here are some highlights from petite fours sucres et sales (sweet and savory) week:

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The “Wow” Factor

Finger

Ah drama…it’s good to have it in life from time to time. And the same holds true for desserts. For me there’s no better way to cap off a luxurious meal than to have the waiter bring out an elegant and sometimes over-the-top plated dessert. My eyes grow wide and I might even let out a gasp. These are the types of desserts that make me want to be a pastry chef. I yearn for wide eyes, the gasps and the “wow.”

Chocolate Exotique

We were fortunate enough to have plated desserts added to our lab schedule, but it meant several hours of overtime and double labs. We didn’t care, it was time to break out the big guns: the gold leaf, the paint brushes, the hand pulled sugar rings. We were ready.

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I Scream, You Scream

Blackberry Sorbet

I was a little surprised to see ice cream as a full week of labs in my pastry program. In the US, ice cream is often it’s own separate entity with ice cream parlours, fro-yo stands, even shops that specialize in ice cream sandwiches (Coolhaus, how I miss thee!). In France, however, most patisseries have an assortment of house made Glace (ice cream) and sorbets in addition to various frozen entremets (cakes).

Having made ice cream several times before, I didn’t think there would be that much to it; but once we went through all the different flavors and applications, it quickly become one of our busiest weeks to date. Here are some highlights:

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