Cooking Demo with Chef Fabrice of Le Cordon Bleu. A Chocoholic's Dream Come True

12:34 PM

A little more than a month ago, I received an email invite to a cooking demo from Le Cordon Bleu. One of their chefs, Chef Fabrice Danniel is flying to Manila to show a sneak peek into what LCB has to offer.

Feel free to skip this paragraph and the next one as I will be geeking out entirely. WTFOMGBBQ! I remember absent-mindedly signing up and inquiring about the school's courses about 8 years ago. Getting a correspondence from them was like a scene ripped from "Now You See Me": Pure Magic.

The last time I was in a legit kitchen was a long time ago when I had the privilege to attend a short cooking course from ISCAHM. I was under 18 (Yes, so a loooooooong time ago) and hungry for everything the kitchen had in store. I was really happy I got to bring my brother along. I remember telling him "Yeap, that school. Julia Child. No pressure.None at all" *faints*

Come demo day, we were able to make two chocolate creations that spelled heaven at every bite. I remember hearing Leopold's silky voice in my head saying "Fresh, creamery butter. Is there anything more comforting" uhm. this piece of dark chocolate is.

By the end of the session, we were able to learn how to make mendiants and bonbons (it literally means "good good" in French).

For both we need:
58% Dark chocolate couverture (not compound! couverture is a high quality chocolate with a good percentage of cocoa solids)

Beurre de cacao 
Beurre de cacao or cocoa butter (my French professor will be so proud. I couldn't even tell left from right to save a blindfolded classmate from hitting chairs) helps add sheen and improves the texture of your chocolate. To temper, melt chocolate at about 41 C then slowly reduce temperature to about 34-35 for molding. You need to temper your chocolate to avoid uneven crystallization of cocoa butter, blooming, crumbling or getting a matte end product. In more familiar terms, blooming in chocolate is the same thing  as getting stretch marks when you get fat and rapidly lose weight, so be careful! Yes, i know, unappetizing.

First up, the chocolate bonbons 

We were provided molds that were swiped with red chocolate and some edible gold dust.

To create the outer shell, pour tempered chocolate and turn mold upside down, tap the excess and you have an empty shell waiting to harden.

Once dry, fill your molds with a ganache.The one we used was a mixture of butter, whipping cream, a small amount of 70% dark chocolate and trimoline. After that, add another layer of tempered cocoa on top, clean and wait to for it to set.
It was too beautiful to eat but who am I kidding? I couldn't stop myself from eating

Now the for the mendiants

For this one you'll need your tempered cocoa, toasted hazelnuts, almonds, pistachios, walnuts and some candied orange for a little zest.

When Chef Fabrice asked if we wanted to learn it the easy way or hard way, my ears couldn't help clapping when a resounding "hard way" was the group's response. I tried piping the gooey cocoa while Jan sprinkled the nuts. With the two of us working together, the inevitable disaster finally came. Jan "accidentally" wiped some chocolate on the back of my shirt--yes the part the apron didn't cover, the chocolates didn't have enough space, combining and forming odd shapes. 

It looked easy when they were doing it. ASLJDASGHUSOBGJLSEBGL! HELP CHEF!
Luckily, no fire broke out and it tasted yummy so everything was awesome! I love how everyone was passionate about the fine art of chocolate. So much it was contagious and intoxicating--then again that could also have been amplified by the cocoa. It still is part of my bucket list to complete a course in LCB, even if it was just a short one. One that I'll be saving up for soon :D

The finished product successfully concealed our boo boos for the day.
Le Cordon Bleu is a world leader in "gastronomy, hospitality and management". Some of their famous alumni include Julia Child, Mario Batali, Giada de Laurentiis and Suzy Sing of Master Chef. The demo was held in Dusit Thani in Makati last July 31, 2013.

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