A year ago, writing about pastry chef Diego Lozano’s masterclass in Romania, at Horeca School, for the second time, seemed so far away! But somehow, time flew by incredibly quick and yet forgiving enough to let us accommodate into our new space, equip ourselves with new and professional equipment, organize ourselves better, enjoy it more and surely work more for it as well! Horeca School has started to look professional and it does make me wanna see what happens next, what step will it take from here?! It’s exciting!
A lot of work this year, but we enjoyed it so much! That is something that definitely has not changed since last year! We enjoyed every bit of it, we felt it to the bone, it was like the biggest project we ever took part of, that much soul and dedication went into organizing this masterclass.. and I am talking on everyone’s behalf! The feedback at the end of the class was incredible though, simply incredible – students showing their support and telling us how much they loved it, well that is something one doesn’t get to hear every single day. It feels like a tiny little accomplishment and one step forward to a better Romanian pastry world! Plus, that’s what we worked for at the end of the day: delivering information in a very pleasant form, building this bridge between chef Diego Lozano, the world renown pastry chef, and his followers in Romania, people just as passionate and loving about pastry as he is. Because if there is something that one can easily see in his work, that has to be the deep, intense passion for the world of desserts, a passion that can easily be seen anywhere, from the level of attention he gives to the tiniest of the details to the care he shows for his tools and the respect he carries for the ingredients he works with. That to me is what being a good pastry chef and a good teacher at the same time means!
After last year’s masterclass, we asked Diego Lozano to book a place for us for 2017 simply because last year, despite being our first time organizing a masterclass, we had a blast and learnt so much! We wanted a chance to prove that Romania can have this kind of interaction, that Romania can grow as well in terms of what desserts it offers to its people and tourists, that Romania has the courage to evolve, the courage to change the way it sees pastry! It’s a long road, we know it, but we’re walking on it right now! The entire team at the school is dedicated and works so hard to deliver the best pastry classes in Romania. As promised last year, we are evolving, we are improving… and trust me, this is just the beginning of what we can do!
Unlike last year, this year I knew what to expect in terms of organizing the whole thing, especially ingredient and recipe wise. So I started early with making sure ingredients will be there in time. Soooo many ingredients were bought!! Well, we’ve made 15 recipes in 3 days! And some of the recipes even came in a double portion just because we wanted to have enough to taste at the end. Not just for the students, but also for the entire team behind it! And that means dozens of different ingredients, coming usually in fairly large quantities. The beauty of a class like this though is precisely working with new ingredients, learning, tasting, trying, even ingredients that we cannot find in Romania and that had to be brought from across the world or ingredients that we often look past thinking that perhaps is not worth the effort (beet is a great example for this particular situation). Ingredient wise it was amazing to reach a point where I actually understand the purpose of certain ingredients and amounts in a recipe.
A funny little story happened before the class as I was talking to Diego Lozano about the recipes: I thought that maybe a sketch would be a great addition to each recipe so I went to my usual sketching program and made a simple, basic one for one of the recipes. I sent it to him and the feedback was all negative, not because my sketched cake was not ok, but because the order I layered everything in the recipe was wrong and not according to his view. He said to wait and see… which I did. And I realized once more that it’s not the recipe itself that makes the cake taste good, but the people making it. A great recipe can be turned upside down and rebuilt as long as the person doing this knows the ingredients, understands the layering and the reason behind the cake, as long there is a connection between that recipe and the person doing this, there is a motivation behind it. And that motivation, according to Diego, starts always with the taste itself and continues with textures, followed by the final touches. He gives a special attention to salt in recipes and believes that following the trend or going with the flow is not always the best idea. If there is nothing differentiating you from the rest, you will get lost in the crowd. So we did not see too much mirror glaze this year (mirror glazes are great, but truth to be told, they have been overly used the last year and I am so glad to see this trend finally fading off). Instead, we saw new techniques, new ways of glazing or avoiding glazing all together, we saw salt and textures, flavors that go well together, color contrasts, creaminess, deliciousness.
The recipes were amazing! More complex than last year, more techniques were used, lots of layers and textures and that is something I was really excited about. Because beyond the fact that I translated and organized part of the class, I am also a pastry chef always eager to learn new tricks. And Diego is the kind of person to share information, no matter the question, he’s a great teacher so there’s no way you cannot understand what he explains. I could see his dedication, his motivation, the way he always has a smile no matter what the situation is, his patience, his limits, his professional attitude, the way he takes the first step into turning the class into a fun and enjoyable moment, filled with useful information at the same time. A lesson even from this point of view!
Diego Lozano’s recipes included flavors like: almonds, beet, raspberry, caramel, chocolate, basil, tomatoes, sesame, oranges, citrus, matcha (a lot of matcha actually), cupuacu (Brazilian fruit), brigadeiro, Brazilian nuts, hazelnuts and the most incredible fluffy, soft and delicious brioche I have ever had! It was truly impressive to taste! Personally, I was impressed by the aroma of Italia, an entremet comprised of layers of cinnamon sponge, tomato confit and tomato compote, plus a soft and airy basil mousse. It was such a great blend of flavors and textures, surprising from start to finish! Then there was Belem, a cake consisting of streusel, coconut sponge, cupuacu jam and Brazilian nuts mousse which felt like the taste of Brazil in one bite! And I could go on, probably listing every single recipe he made – they were all complex and delicious, challenging and fragrant, colorful and textured! According to him however, this was among the last classes with these particular recipes included, the next step in his agenda being to completely change the recipes for 2018. See you next year, Diego!
A big, huge thank you to everyone involved in organizing this class, starting with our beloved Cristina, Nisrin, my mum, my lovely bunch of students, Cristi, Iuliana and every single person who positively answered to all my requests these days. You are all amazing and I feel blessed to be able to work with you!
Thank you, Diego Lozano, for accepting our invitation this year as well, for taking the time to answer all my questions, for helping us organize the whole thing, for making things a little bit easier and so so enjoyable for everyone involved! It’s been great working with you one more year and here’s to a great 2018!
See below a series of pictures shot during the class, just a few of the hundreds of pictures that were taken during the three days of masterclass!
Acum un an, gandul ca voi scrie pentru a doua oara despre masterclass Diego Lozano in Romania aproape nici nu exista. Insa ne-a placut enorm experienta de anul trecut, asa incat la cateva zile dupa cursul din noiembrie 2016, vorbeam deja cu Diego Lozano sa ne rezerve cateva zile si in anul ce vine. Caci atunci cand un om ti se lipeste asa de suflet si explica atat de bine ceea ce face, care are atatea povesti de spus si zambete de impartit, nu ai cum sa nu il inviti si a doua oara (si poate chiar si a treia oara 😉 …ori cine stie, poate devine o traditie). Asa ca iata-ne, la un an distanta, bucurandu-ne inca de efectele unui curs de succes!
Cu toate ca timpul intre cele doua cursuri a zburat incredibil de repede, anul 2017 a fost un an al schimbarilor la Horeca School, un an al imbunatatirilor, al cresterii, al oamenilor pasionati, implicati, al evolutiei, al sacrificiilor si al muncii intense. Insa sfarsitul de an gaseste scoala cu o noua fata, cu echipamente profesionale, cu spatii dedicate fiecarei activitati in parte, cu o mai buna organizare, cu mai multa putere de munca!
Scopul nostru a fost mereu acela de a evolua, in primul rand noi si apoi si ceilalti prin prisma muncii noastre. Ne-am dorit mult sa dovedim ca si Romania poate, ca si noi suntem in stare sa invatam de la oameni mai buni decat noi, lasand mandria la o parte, ca si cofetaria romaneasca se afla pe un fagas bun, ca avem curajul sa invatam si sa punem in practica, ca putem evolua si schimba felul in care cofetaria este vazuta in Romania. Si fiecare pas in aceasta directie conteaza! Nu a zis nimeni ca e un drum usor, dar am inceput sa mergem pe el si nu ne vom opri aici! Intreaga echipa a scolii este dedicata organizarii celor mai bune cursuri de cofetarie din Romania! Va promiteam anul trecut ca acesta este doar inceputul… si credeti-ma, ce urmeaza este minunat!
Retetele din acest an au fost minunate, mult mai complexe fata de anul trecut, cuprinzand mai multe tehnici, mai multe texturi si arome interesante ori ingrediente specifice Braziliei. Diego Lozano de altfel este un mare promotor al Braziliei peste hotare, el insusi avand scopul declarat de a demonstra ca si Brazilia poate si merita, ca e o tara de oameni la fel de muncitori si pasionati ca si restul lumii, ca nu exista diferente intre ei si ceilalti! Asa incat cursul din acest an a purtat numele Very Brazilian, gandindu-ne ca e printre putinele ocazii cand putem intra in contact cu ingrediente si retete de pe meleaguri braziliene, avand la dispozitie un expert in domeniu pe care sa il chestionam. Cupuacu ori caja sau Brigadeiro in mod cert ne-au purtat gandurile spre Brazilia!
Pentru mine, acest curs a avut dubla semnificatie: prima prin prisma faptului ca sunt mereu deschisa spre tehnici si retete noi, combinatii interesante de arome ori ingrediente neobisnuite, si a doua prin prisma faptului ca si eu predau cursuri de cofetarie si sunt mereu cu ochii in patru, incercand sa inteleg cum isi gandeste cursul, in ce ordine face retetele, cum interactioneaza cu oamenii care vin la curs pentru el, cum are mereu o poveste la indemana ca sa destinda atmosfera, cum are mereu zambetul pe buze si voia buna la purtator! Asta da lectie! In plus, e si un profesor excelent, intelegi imediat ce vrea sa spuna, explica foarte bine si are mereu un raspuns bun la orice intrebare!
Profit de ocazie pentru a aduce multumiri acelor oameni pe care voi nu ii vedeti aproape niciodata, dar fara de care cursurile noastre nu ar fi atat de folositoare, frumoase si bine organizate. Incep cu doamna Cristina van der Schaaf si Nisrin, cele doua doamne de baza ale Horeca School, oameni care lupta sa indeplineasca vise, ale lor si ale celorlalti, care au facut si fac sacrificii necontenite pentru a ridica nivelul cursurilor de bucatar si cofetar in Romania. Ele sunt complicii mei in laborator sau eu al lor, caci ideile bune vin mereu atunci cand sunt mai multi oameni implicati!
Continuu cu familia mea – va multumesc pentru ajutorul si sustinerea continua, pentru rabdare si iubire! Cred ca se cuvine sa ii mentionezi si pe “copiii” mei, dragii mei cursanti care m-au ajutat pe parcursul intregii saptamani: Vlad, Dana, Lacramioara, Ana, precum si mama, Cristi, Iuliana, va multumesc pentru sacrificii si orele tarzii de munca!
Urmeaza apoi oamenii care raspund mereu cu un DA ori de cate ori apelez pentru ingrediente sau echipamente: Electrolux pentru parteneriatul continuu, Horecons Profesional pentru abatitorul Coldline, aparatul care a schimbat complet fluxul de producere a deserturilor la noi in laborator, precum si pentru masina de inghetata Trittico Bravo Spa pe care abia astept sa o punem la treaba la adevarata ei valoare! Multumim Novapan si Cofetarul Istet pentru intreaga desfasurare de forte pe care ati pus-o in scena cu atata profesionalism – echipamente si ustensile de calitate gasim mereu la voi! Multumim Marathon pentru ciocolata Callebaut si piureurile de fructe Capfruit care ne-au aromatizat deserturile, Zinnia Distributie pentru smantana Ken 38% grasime si pastaile de vanilie perfecte, Omnia Gusti pentru faina de migdale atat de fina, Azaria Food pentru sustinerea continua pe care ne-ati oferit-o pe parcursul ultimilor ani, Casiro Expert pentru inelele metalice perfecte (care au luat drumul Braziliei, apropo), Tom Valk pentru ca dati mereu curs ideilor mele nebunesti si stiti sa legati prietenii asa frumoase. Si cred ca lista poate continua cu multi oameni pentru care nu exista “nu pot” sau “nu vreau”. Va multumesc, ma inclin!