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Thursday, March 19, 2015

Culinary School - Session 87: Written Exam and Chocolate Showpiece

Culinary School: Session 87 (03.18.15)

Written Exam and Chocolate Showpiece

Creepy Chocolate Clowns...

Another Unit of Culinary School comes to an end. And as we've come to learn, that can mean just one thing: another Showpiece! 

This time the class was tasked with a two-day project designed to highlight the Advanced Chocolate Techniques covered in Level III.

To unify the designs, the class was asked to select a theme (... or risk having the Chef Instructor select one for us!) After what was not an insignificant amount of muddled debate and indecision across, we finally reached consensus with "Toys", figuring it was opened-ended enough to capture an extensive list of possible designs.

Most students gravitated towards classic toys (after all, what's interesting about a Chocolate Playstation?) with many designs pulled from memories of Fisher Price, Mattel and Playskool.

I ultimately settled on a Jack-in-the-Box. Keeping with the "Classics" approach, the design is intentionally distressed and weather, as if the toy has been in someone's attic for decades. That creepy and subtly unnerving intent seems to have worked. Midway through the session, one classmate sincerely asked, "Can you please move him somewhere else? He's freaking me out!"

Day two of this project will focus on final assembly. Then it's off to Unit 13: Advanced Sugar (my hands ache at the thought of the caramel burns to come!)

Chocolate Jack-in-the-Box Showpiece Pieces Setting

- Ingredients Running Tally -

Ingredients used to date (03.18.15):
  • Flour: 24,535g
  • Eggs: 16,000g (320x)
  • Sugar: 25,090g
  • Butter: 16,020g
  • Milk/Cream: 16,845g
  • Chocolate: 8,500g (since 01.12.15)

    - The Showpiece -


    The Advance Chocolate Showpiece

    Each student is responsible for creating a showpiece based on an agreed to class theme ("Toys"). All construction must be performed during class sessions; however, design, template making and mold fabrication is permitted outside of class hours.


    1. A detailed, color diagram
    2. Project itinerary
    3. The Showpiece must rest on a base made of Chocolate measuring greater than 6" in diameter (vertical designs) but less than 11"x17" (horizontal designs)
    4. The Showpiece must be between 12" and 24" in height
    5. The Showpiece must be made exclusively of Chocolate and Chocolate products (e.g. cocoa nibs, piping chocolate, etc.) and weigh no more than 1,500g
    6. Two (2) colors must be incorporated into the design
    7. At least four (4) of the following techniques must be used:

    • Cutting
    • Molding
    • Carving
    • Acetate
    • Coloring
    • Chocolate Plastic
    • Granite
    • Cocoa Piping
    • Ice
    • Spray

    White Chocolate Legs for Jack-in-the-Box Stand

    Melting Cocoa Butter for Chocolate Granite Base

    Cocoa Butter Colors Setting on Acetate for Decoration Pieces

    Cocoa Butter Colors Setting with White Chocolate

    Workstation with Slab of Tempered Dark Chocolate

    Chocolate Jack-in-the-Box Showpiece Pieces Setting

    Next - Session 88: Chocolate Showpiece (cont.)

    Previous - Session 86: Cherry Cordials and Two-Tiered Chocolate Cake

    Take a look at the full syllabus

    Questions? Comments? Send me an email or leave a comment.
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