The Christmas holidays are probably the most stressful time of the year, as the pressure to give presents and the lack of time to go shopping looms over many of us. The few who anticipate the rush early enough beat it by starting their gift-buying as early as September or October, but most of us join the madness at the very last minute.
Another concern for presents is originality. Is it special enough, or is it something the recipient will recycle as a generic present to the next person? Sometimes the best way is to make something yourself, so that even if you may have gotten the idea from somewhere else, the end result will always have a personal touch.
And what could be better than giving away food for Christmas? Although you may say that it is a common present, it will surely turn into something special if you make it yourself.
The Center for Culinary Arts (CCA), Manila’s premier culinary school, is offering Pastry Essentials course in time for the Yule season. Baking coordinator and chef Anne Atanacio will hold hands-on demo classes on how to make a variety of sweets and dessert products such as Red Velvet Cupcakes, Oatmeal Raisin Cookies and, everyone’s favorite, Macarons.
Chef Anne is an alumna of CCA and was trained by chef Pardo de Ayala (of Discovery Suites fame). Apart from her position as baking coordinator, she is also certified as a working pastry chef by the American Culinary Federation.
Recently, the press was invited to experience a condensed version of the Pastry Essentials course at CCA’s Market Café at The Podium. It was a fun affair during which some of us got to assist Chef Anne in the kitchen. She whipped up a few of the goodies that students who take the Pastry Essentials course can expect to make.
We learned some of the secrets of the baking world, such as how to successfully make macarons (it looks easy, but it takes a very light hand to make) and that red velvet cupcakes originally weren’t the bright red color we know them to be today.
After a light lunch, Chef Anne demonstrated unique, economical and earth-friendly ways to package food presents by using items such as used egg cartons and even large plastic soda bottles. At the end of it all, we were given the opportunity to try our hand at gift-wrapping our take-home goodies.
It’s not as easy as it looks, and if you don’t feel very crafty, you will definitely benefit from this course!
For course schedule and rates, call Center for Culinary Arts Podium at 5093466 or 5025651, or visit www.cca-manila.com