It is likely that many who have gazed hungrily at the displays in the window of a continental pâtisserie have contemplated some training even though they may never have actually pursued the thought further. The term is a French one and is generally applied quite broadly to describe both the type of bakery in either France or Belgium that specialises in creating these exceptionally elegant and appealing pastries, as well as the products themselves. The title is subject to legal control in those countries and may only be used by a bakery if it employs a maître pȃtissier or what English speakers would be more likely to refer to as a master pastry chef.
The pastries are famed as much for their appearance as for their tastes and textures and it is their seductive aromas and visual appeal that draw tens of thousands into these irresistible Aladdin caves each day. In the better hotels and restaurants, these pastries are commonly prepared in their own kitchens by bakers who have received extensive pâtisserie training. In South Africa, the Prue Leith Chefs Academy offers courses of either 6 or 12 months, designed to develop the culinary skills and confidence of its learners to the point where they are able to meet the demands of a typical 5-star establishment with ease.
Those who might once have had no option but to pursue this type of specialised instruction in Europe may now enjoy the same high standard of tuition much closer to home. Not only are the fees charged internationally much higher, but with all the additional costs of air travel and the far more expensive rates for accommodation prevailing throughout most of the continent, the overall savings that are possible when attending a course at the Centurion-based academy are certain to be quite considerable.
Learners need have no fear that the pâtisserie training offered at this local facility might fail to meet recognised international standards. On the contrary – the City & Guilds IVQ Diploma examinations in this specialised field will be written in parallel with the academy’s own, so that each graduate can then emerge with a qualification that ensures he or she should be welcome in any highly-rated culinary establishment.
As with any art or science, and this type of creative baking is certainly a blend of both, learners must begin by mastering its basics. In a course based throughout on the classical French principles and augmented by modern techniques, each learner will progress through the many fundamentals needed ultimately to master the advanced techniques of the master pastry chef.
In its pâtisserie training, the academy recognises the value of theory as much as that of practice and, accordingly, it has developed courses that combine just the right blend of each. Quality course content, however, is certainly not the sole explanation for the academy’s enviable and continuing record of success. The combination of a world-class kitchen facility with a team of lecturers, who are as passionate about their work as they are experienced and well-qualified, and a patron whose culinary abilities are recognised throughout the European continent is what makes the Prue Leith Chefs Academy so exceptional.
Just one of the many internationally-rated courses offered at the academy, our pâtisserie training is unsurpassed.