Tuesday, August 18, 2009

kudos to marc levy

Great news! Marc Levy is a Certified Baker! I got the results from the RBA last night. Great job Marc! During the test, Marc had some trouble with the oven temperature. Each candidate was assigned a single deck, in a stack of deck ovens. They were allowed to set the temperature wherever they chose to. Marc had his set correctly, but it wouldn't come up to the proper temperature. His white bread was in the oven, for what seemed like forever. Turns out, since it was in the oven so long, it started to dry out. The moisture loss results in under weight bread. But his overall performance overcame any loss of points he suffered.

It's hard to appreciate the difficulty of baking in an unfamiliar environment. When one is baking in their own surroundings, you allegedly know where everything is. You understand the idiosyncrasies of your own equipment. You know where the oven is hottest and how to manipulate the thermostat. When you are in a strange environment, and you have one chance, it's tough. Even mixer speeds are different. But if you are a certifiable candidate. You can overcome these hurdles.

We had seven master baker candidates and four certified baker candidates. Two master bakers passed. Nancy Carey, from Chicago, and Brad Hempel from Minneapolis, are now Master Bakers. Nancy started Red Hen Bread, here in Chicago. She is not so active in the bakery anymore. These days she is a chef instructor at the Culinary and Hospitality Institute of Chicago. Very talented, she did a terrific job with Red Hen. Brad has his own bakery in Minnesota. He is now working for a food service outfit at one of the colleges in, or near Minneapolis.

Luminita Cristea is now a Certified Baker. Lumi is a graduate of the baking and pastry program at Kendall. She is currently on her way to Scottsdale, Arizona, where she will be the head bread baker at the Phoenician resort in Scottsdale.

Cheryl Adkins was the final candidiate to pass the level of Certified Baker. Cheryl is a chef instructor at a culinary school in Holland, Michigan.

Congratulations to all of you! Now that the results are out, I can talk about the exam. I am the certification chair for the RBA. Even I, didn't know the results until last night. I thought the judges were very sincere in their judging. They never seemed hurried or uninterested. They were genuinely committed to the process. You candidates passed, truly on your merits. This was not done Chicago style,as we say. I thought the test was fair, and a true example of your abilities.

We, as the testing body, are evolving. We made some changes for this test that I thought were very good. We have a long way to go. Thanks to all that spent their weekend at Kendall, the certification process survives because of you and for you. For those of you in the baking community, uninterested in certification, we'll be here, ever improving the process.

For those of you, the most important ones, retail bakery customers, we just raised our standards a little more for you.


Blogger Laminatrix said...

Congratulations Mark and Lumi!! And props to you, too, for your work on this, and on the encouragement and education you provide to your staff. Now you gotta get Filemon to do it . . .

Made a great summer dessert this weekend: pavlovas (basically slow-baked meringue). Were supposed to be in three 8-inch pans (buttered then dusted w/ powdered sugar, then parchment circle on the bottom) but I only did two that way and also did three in rings on Silpats (still buttered & sugared). Supposed to be stacked, with berries between, but reviews were saying it was hard to cut, so I just used one layer (there were only two of us) piled with fruit (blueberries, raspberries and blackberries on Saturday, raspberries, blackberries and peaches on Sunday), and topped with a generous dollop of mascarpone beat with a little milk to thin it and some maple syrup. Totally didn't suck.

Would be hard to keep in the store, given the humidity, but boy was it good.

August 18, 2009 at 8:29 AM  
Blogger Jory Downer said...

Mark and Lumi did well. As you know, I believe in the process. I also believe that educating employees is the best investment. Filemon could do it, except for the cake part. That could change.

Mascarpone, fruit and maple syrup. Skip the meringue. How 'bout a waffle cone and a bib?

August 20, 2009 at 6:05 AM  

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