Posts filed under Baking

Celebrating Julia Child's Birthday with the Cake that Made Her Cry

If anyone doubts the lasting fame of Julia Child, just consider that each August cooks and chefs around the world still celebrate her birthday even though she has passed the hundred year mark and is no longer with us. 

To many she is the individual who made the high art of French cooking approachable. To others she's the woman who made cooking fun or creative (or both). To still others she's that remarkable person who made being tall or different acceptable, even wonderful.

To members of the Hospitality Industry she is treasured because she combined joie de vivre with an unstoppable sense of professionalism. Just consider the story of the cake that made her cry....

Late in her career she filmed a segment of "Baking with Julia" for television with pastry Chef Nancy Silverton. The task at hand was to prepare a fruited Creme Fraiche Custard Brioche Tart in fixed amount of time so as not to exceed allotted TV  time slot. 

Everything was going well until the two chefs came to the final portion of the show which involved tasting the finished dessert. Because time was tight, Chef Silverton ladled the very hot syrup-based fruit topping onto the finished cake, never dreaming that Julia taste it while so hot.

But Julia did - smearing fruit topping and all!

Julia never even flinching a single face muscle. But she could not stop the tears of pain that started to roll down her face. With the grace and poise that endeared her to millions, she simply remarked, without spoiling the filming of the episode, that this was a cake so delightful it had brought her to tears.

Like a maitre d' who never panics at the sound of a breaking plate, Julia handled the situation with the poise of a professional. That is something we in the Industry can all admire and aspire to: don't panic, just get the job done with the least amount of fuss possible - and smile.

So, Happy Birthday Julia! Thank you for this great cake (and the lesson)!

Your Culinary World Copyright Ana Kinkaid/Peter Schlagel  2014

Why We All Want to Go to The Grand Budapest Hotel

Well, Wes Anderson has done it again. For those who were charmed by the movie Moonrise Kingdom, there is now another film that equally delights while urging one to think just a little more deeply about what life is all about. 

All one has to do to achieve such wisdom (besides seeing the film) is check into The Grand Budapest Hotel and embrace the wisdom of Monsieur Gustave, concierge extraordinaire.

The film reveals through flashbacks the story of Zero Moustafa, the lobby boy (played by the newcomer Tony Revolori) as he learns about hotel protocol, poetry, courage and how one lives a life of meaning – all taught, of course, by Monsieur Gustave.

Ralph Fiennes plays the central character, Monsieur Gustave, with humor, style and a view of life crafted by years of perceptively watching the rich and famous come and go. It is an overview so accurately presented that anyone within the Hospitality Industry will adore the humorous but honest insights on life and service that this film presents in scene after scene.

The famed set designer, Adam Stockhausen, skillfully caught the feel what a legendary hotel must be when he converted the cavernous former Görlitzer Warenhaus Department Store building in Görlitz, Germany into the Grand Budapest Hotel during its grand (and not so grand days). In keeping with the storybook-feel of years gone by, he also created a miniature model of the exterior at the Studio Babelsberg, near Berlin. 

There’s death, romance, jeweled guests, theft, running up and down the stairs, fabulous pastries, keys, cocktails - in short just another day at a grand hotel, all handled with a clarity of style that defines the very heart of our Industry.  

Your Culinary World Copyright Ana Kinkaid/Peter Schlagel 2014