{Being a Pastry Chef} – Cofetar si cofetarie – Despre mine si deserturi

ROMANA!

Inca o postare foarte lunga, insa am promis ca voi reveni cu mai multe detalii despre cursuri, pasiune si dragoste pentru deserturi si imi place sa ma tin de cuvant.

Acum mai bine de un an obtineam o diploma pe care scrie cofetar. Si totusi, ce inseamna cofetar?! In engleza eu ma recomand pastry chef, insa in romana nu mi se pare ca exista un echivalent care sa aibe 100% acelasi inteles, ori poate ma insel eu. Cofetar e un termen foarte generalist in opinia mea, in timp ce in engleza veti gasi pastry chef, patissier (franceza), baker sau cake decorator. La noi, cofetar pare sa le includa pe toate. Si totusi, eu nu decorez torturi in pasta de zahar si nici nu m-am specializat pe coptul aluaturilor de orice fel. Asadar, a spune ca sunt cofetar suna incomplet si mereu simt nevoia sa explic ce fac si sa dau detalii despre munca mea, despre ce deserturi creez eu, de ce asa si nu altfel, de ce nu decorez in pasta de zahar, de ce nu fac si altfel de prajituri si tot asa. Lucrul in pasta de zahar mi se pare absolut minunat, fascinant, dar nu mi s-a lipit niciodata de mana, cu toate ca am incercat, iar lucrul cu aluaturile pur si simplu nu imi place. Lasa-mi la indemana niste frisca si ciocolata/fructe si incropesc un entremet sa te lingi pe degete 😛 Pur si simplu ador sa ma joc cu straturi de creme si mousse-uri, texturi diferite, arome diferite si ori de cate ori ajung sa vad sectiunea unui tort astfel creat imi salta inima de bucurie. Entremet-urile mi se pare deserturi nemaipomenite, elegante, cu accent pe gust fara a uita exteriorul. Si ador faptul ca desi par atat de simple la exterior, pe atat de complexe sunt la interior, cu un design minimalist, dar atat de elegant si cu atat de mult gust incat cu greu te poti opri la o felie.

De ce am ales cofetaria si nu altceva?! Am terminat un liceu de filologie (profil uman – literatura, limbi straine), dupa care am urmat Facultatea de Jurnalism, insa undeva in timpul facultatii m-am apucat de deserturi si am tinut-o tot asa. Inainte sa-mi dau seama deja citeam carti si zeci de reviste online si incercam retete dupa retete. Cursul de cofetar l-am facut pentru ca ma gandeam ca o diploma si ceva cunostinte in plus nu mi-ar strica. Si a fost un mare castig pentru mine, nu neaparat cursul teoretic, cat cel practic. Abia cand am intrat in laboratorul de cofetarie de la Howard Johnson mi-am dat seama ca asta trebuie sa fac. Pasind prima oara intr-un laborator profesional m-a cuprins o fericire extrema, cu atat mai mult cu cat ceea ce se facea acolo se apropia foarte mult de stilul meu – axat pe mousse-uri si creme si mai putin pe lucrul in pasta de zahar. Doar sa fiu acolo era extraordinar pentru mine si toata forfota si atmosfera era minunata, desi caldura cateodata era greu de suportat si statul in picioare nu era nici el cel mai confortabil.

Cofetaria e genul de domeniu in care daca nu iti place, daca nu adori ceea ce faci, nu reusesti. Pentru ca nu poti sa te trezesti dimineata si sa pleci la munca gandindu-te ca vei trece cumva si de ziua aia. E mereu ceva nou de facut, de invatat, de descoperit si iti trebuie chef de munca, pasiune si dorinta de a invata. In plus, sa stai in picioare cateva ore pe zi in caldura, printre tavi fierbinti, zahar topit si alte lucruri periculoase nu e pentru oricine. Si cu toate acestea, am savurat fiecare moment petrecut in acel laborator de cofetarie si m-as intoarce oricand acolo.

Nu e un job care iti aduce bani si te imbogateste, insa daca ai pasiune nici nu conteaza atat de mult. Sa fiu sincera, sentimentul acela de a vedea un tort pe care mi l-am imaginat si transpus pe hartie devenind realitate e minunat, unic si da dependenta. Cand tai prima felie de tort si-i vad sectiunea imi salta inima de bucurie. E arta daca vreti, desi cu greu ma pot considera un artist.

Un desert pentru mine e un amestec de pasiune, munca si putin talent. E facut cu masura si niciodata exagerat de dulce, ci mai degraba cu accent pe a combina diferite arome, fara ca ele sa se anuleze una pe cealalta. E un amestec de texturi, culori si arome ce se imbina intr-un desert care iti incanta papilele gustative. Nu de putine ori am mancat prajituri care erau atat de dulci incat nu simteai niciun alt gust si mi-am promis sa ma detasez de genul asta de cofetarie care foloseste zahar cu nemiluita si mixuri ori creme la galeata. Si zic eu ca am reusit cu succes.

Cu toate ca nu astfel mi-am imaginat eu viata cand eram mica, recunosc ca acum acesta a devenit visul meu si fara a fi modesta in vreun fel (indiferent de ce vor zice ceilalti), sunt sigura ca intr-o zi voi ajunge acolo unde vreau sa fiu si voi continua sa fac ce-mi place intr-un fel sau altul. Ceea ce va doresc si voua din toata inima!

ENGLISH!

Warning! This will be another long post 😀
It’s been over 1 year since I got my pastry chef diploma, but I never actually talked about it until now. In Romania at least, a pastry chef doesn’t mean much. In Romania, a pastry chef is equal to a baker and a cake decorator and to me, they are related, but different from each other in far too many ways to even consider them the same. In Romania, pastry chefs are rarely found in restaurants. They mostly have to work in bakeries or patisseries while restaurants struggle with the same old dessert menus without realizing that it is the dessert that can make or break a meal so it has to be damn good to make a customer come back.

Yes, I consider myself a pastry chef, less a baker and definitely not a cake decorator. They are all connected to art though and require certain skills and a touch of talent if you’re aiming to actually get to a high level. But above all, they call for a lot of work and study, practice and interest, time spent baking, decorating or creating and they are all difficult jobs if you ask me. Imagine spending the entire day in a kitchen that’s twice as hot as the weather outside, amongst hot pans, ovens and tools, trying to get everything done in a safely manner not only for you but also for your customers. It is bloody difficult, but who’s complaining when you get to make people happy or brighten up their day with your creations.

Now here comes the cheesy part – why did I choose this job?! Well, because it makes me happy and because it makes other people happy. How cheesy is that?! And yet, how true it is! The first time I walked into a pastry kitchen I was mesmerized, I loved the fragrances in there, I loved the atmosphere, I loved the heat of the ovens burning all day long, I loved the ingredient cabinets and just being there was comforting and rewarding. I was barely an apprentice then (not that I consider myself more at the moment because this is a domain where there’s something to learn every single day) and the first time I got to make a cake was out of this world in terms of how nervous I felt. My hands were shaking, my heart was beating like crazy but I had such a strong desire to make things right. I told them that I might not be the best at it and they said that I will never learn if I don’t try.. and try.. and try.. until I get it right. Which I did ever since. Because that’s what a pastry chef does – he evolves all the time, tries new recipes and creates desserts without repeating himself. And I definitely relate to that – apart from a few basic recipes that I have saved on a personal notebook, I always try new ones or look to improve old ones.

Everything you see on this blog is the result of hard study and work, days and days of reading, hours spent baking and making mousses and creams and less the results of a course or class, mainly because we don’t have access to any of that in Romania. And even if we did, I guess they wouldn’t be accesible to anyone.

A dessert for me is a beautiful mix between passion, skill and work with a touch of talent. This is the kind of job where if you don’t have any of those things, you can’t make it just because it doesn’t offer any other reward but smiles and thanks. It’s surely not the job you want if you’re looking to get rich, but the job that will make you smile even through the toughest of the days. It’s a job that rarely gets boring because there’s always something new to learn or try. That feeling when I sketch a cake followed by seeing it done and sometimes tasting it is so rewarding. I’m assuming it’s the same with bakers or cake decorators. At the end of the day, you go home and think.. oh well, I actually made someone’s day better today. It doesn’t even matter that you spent hours on a cake, that you barely get any sleep sometimes, that you stand in the heat of that oven for hours or spend another bunch of hours creating the cake of their dreams. That’s all gone at the end of the day when you realize you create art, edible art.

Except my apprenticeship, I haven’t worked in any restaurant, I wouldn’t fully know the rush of a service in the night or the late nights spent cleaning the kitchen, but the thought of that doesn’t scare me, but excites me. I’ve got so much more to learn and that can only be a good thing because I’m always up for a challenge and I have no doubt that one day I will get where I want to be. Dare to live your dream!

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  1. Olguta scumpa, cata pasiune si dragoste transmit cuvintele tale! Am citit pe nerasuflate postul tau si vad un om pasional total de lumea asta minunata in care ciocolata si gustul au un loc de cinste! Torturile decorate nu ma pasioneaza, parerea mea e ca adevarata patiserie e alta, dar din pacate nu toata lumea stie sa faca o diferenta intre una si alta.
    Creatiile tale dulci sunt nemaipomenite, iti doresc din tot sufletul sa ajungi acolo unde-ti doresti!

    • Any, multumesc din suflet! Nu am nicio indoiala ca asa va fi mai devreme sau mai tarziu caci cred cu tarie in visul asta 🙂

  2. Draga Olguta, ai scris minunat, parca te vedem jucandu-te cu cremele de ciocolata…insa macar puteai si tu sa mentionezi numele scolii Horeca School care a avut un merit mic…mic…pe drumul parcurs prin laboratorul de la Howard Johnson, nu? Multumim anticipat si la cat mai multe postari pline de culoare si pasiune…!!!!

  3. Beautiful passion! Do know that you bring smiles to many people around the world.
    I spend a month in Constanta Black sea when my husband checked in at Airforce base there. I loved
    the place, people and food. I had a great time .
    I enjoy reading your blog. I feel your passion all over the pages- in the recipes, the pictures, the writing.
    I took a few baking sessions with MOF chef Stephane Treand and I know how hard it is in baking world.
    I can not say thank you enough for sharing your work.

    I wish you a very Happy Baking Year 2017.

    Cheers,
    Dee
    California

    • Dee, thank you so much for your kind words! 🙂
      Oh that’s very nice, COnstanta and the area is pretty nice, especially during the summer. I’m glad you enjoyed Romania! 🙂

      It is indeed a huge passion, perhaps more than just a passion sometimes. I dedicate all my working time or spare time to it, it’s part of who I am by now. Thank you!