It seems like dessert is the hardest thing to sell at a restaurant. Aside from suffering from its position at the end of a meal, after everyone has had their fill, dessert really needs to impress to get noticed by customers. It’s easy to pass up dime-dozen confections like ice cream sundaes and molten chocolate cake, but when a restaurant makes the effort to create an edible art piece, it is far more likely to simultaneously drive people to order, and enhance their experience.
Restaurant Production Desserts was my second to last class (and really the last “traditional class”) before graduation. As our roster has fallen to a low total of seven students, we were faced with the challenge of approaching production as individuals, rather than teams, as was the usual format of the class.
The first couple of days had their obstacles to overcome. At this point in our education, we had been out of the bakeshop for nine weeks, and it took a little bit of time to get back into the swing of things. Flying solo meant we had to produce at a pace that many of us were not accustomed to. To make up for the increase in our production load we were only required to have a finished composition every two days, rather than every day. Even with that altered schedule, it was still a challenge to finish all the components for each dessert, and required we work with haste. We each completed 3 desserts before the production of our final projects.
For the final, we were given free reign to produce a plated dessert. We had control over everything from flavor, to components, to plating. This was really the first time we were given complete creative control on a project. I chose to produce a dessert inspired by Thai cuisine, consisting of a mango-curry mousse, atop a coconut sable cookie base, with basil chantilly cream, peanut tuile, peanut praline, mango sauce, basil sauce, and a lime sorbet. We then served our creations at our final open showcase at The CIA.
This class was certainly a challenge, but it was a great introduction to an incredibly important part of the restaurant culinary experience. As our next and final class has us plating desserts in the on campus restaurants, it was certainly great practice for what is sure to be an exciting finale. Only three more weeks to go!