I've always had a fascination with the oven. Blame my love of fairy tales (an oven can bake a witch?! Nightmare city!) or my sweet tooth which constantly demands satisfaction; I kid you not. But for whatever reason, I just couldn't seem to muster enough courage to learn how to bake. Temperature dials confuse me. And how the heck do you pre-heat an oven to just the right temperature.
But being in forced sabbatical does has it's advantages. One of which I am given the option to attend a number of lifestyle courses and workshops of my choosing, provided they are within budgetary limits. So when Pakyaw.com.ph offered a 50% off voucher for the Magsaysay Center for Hospitality and Culinary Arts' (MICHA) Make, Bake and Decorate your Cake lifestyle course, I readily grabbed the chance.
|Magsaysay Center for Hospitality and Culinary Arts|
Getting up bright and early on that particular October Saturday of the class was no easy feat for I had just recovered from a really bad case of the flu and was, unfortunately, still feeling the effects of it. But rise I must for I was so excited to finally learn how to bake!
At their Waltermart branch, where the class was to be held, we were given a few basic items.
|Toque, apron and handouts -- check!|
It started off well enough, albeit an hour late, with a short baking demo by MICHA instructor, Chef Napoleon Cabonell. A true culinary genius, he showed us the basics of baking and decorating various cakes, and just enough knowledge for us to be able to produce our own masterpieces for the day. I was truly mesmerized at each flick of his wrist, each turn of a spatula and voila! True works of gastronomical proportions were sitting right there in front of us.
|Chef Napoleon Carbonell|
With the demo over, we were finally made to enter the kitchen for some hands-on practice. Yahoo! The part I was waiting for. But it was at this point that I finally came to assess the class -- all
The class, big enough as we were, were separated into 2 groups, then further arranged by 4s. It was at this time that my spidey senses started tingling. I smell something afoul to be had. Imagine 4 complete strangers being polite enough (as society dictates) to give each other a turn at mixing the ingredients in the only bowl made available for the 4-member group. The tagalog word "nagkakahiyaan pa" definitely comes to mind.
|Our instruments of mass gastronomical descruction|
To make matters worse, our whole group (with around 3 subgroups of 4) were supposed to share only 1 industrial sized mixer of which 2 other completely different MICHA instructors were manning for us. Ever heard of the phrase "too many cooks spoil the broth"? And once again, we were treated to yet another baking demo with both instructors gabbing away.
From what I had discerned, most of the participants, like me, attended in the hopes of actually learning how to bake or at least learn how to pre-heat an oven. I did learn some useful techniques but I still wished it could have been more hands-on.
In fairness to MICHA, I guess there we just too many participants that doing a more hands-on class was out of the question. A co-participant mentioned that an earlier class she attended was not like ours and that they were given more actual practice. Less people, I suppose. Guess it was just my luck that I attended that particular schedule.
I have to say though, we did make one tasty cupcake. J
Would I attend another MICHA lifestyle course? Most probably since it does hold a lot of promise and I'd love to see Chef Cabonell in action again. However, I'd be sure to check the number of participants beforehand first to prevent this from happening again.
After this fiasco, I asked around other culinary schools offering almost similar lifestyle courses and almost all of them mentioned that these classes are mostly demo types only and a more hands-on course requires longer sessions (another course altogether.)
And so my friends. I end this post with a few questions. Were my expectations just too high? Was this really supposed to be just a demo? To be honest, I wouldn't pay the full price of Php3,000 just for a demo. Heck! Even with the Php1,500 discounted rate I purchased made me felt that I was still cheated.
I'd love to hear your thoughts. J