I have always loved baking.
As a child, I would spend all my free time in the kitchen, making desserts for my family and bookmarking recipes for later. At Christmas, I always loved pulling out my grandmother’s battered index card to make her sugar cookie recipe. I would sit at the kitchen table, decorating cookies for hours on end, totally immersed in the process.
When I got older, though, baking kind of slipped away from me. I really only baked a few times a year or when I was home from college. A few years ago, I found myself struggling with unhappiness in my job and social anxiety, and I started seeing my first therapist. In my sessions with her, I started to think about what really brought me the most joy in life. Time and time again, I found myself coming back to baking. I love the hours I can spend in the kitchen, blending meticulousness with creativity to make something entirely unique.
The International Culinary Center
While I knew that baking was my passion, I struggled to realize that I could make it into a career. On a whim, I did some research on culinary schools in New York City, and I quickly stumbled upon The International Culinary Center. One afternoon after work, I took the train down to SoHo and sat in on an informational session. As I watched a cooking demonstration and wandered the halls of the school, I could easily imagine myself in those kitchens. I was hooked.
Logistically, it took me nine more months to start pastry school, but I haven’t looked back since. When starting this journey, I felt so nervous and unsure of my decision. Looking online, I struggled to find many resources that talked about what pastry school was actually like. Wherever I looked, it seemed like everybody had a contrasting view about culinary school.
Since I was working a full-time job during the day, I chose to attend the evening program. After work on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays, I would go to class from 5:30 pm to 10:30 pm. Translation: I spent my weekdays sleep-deprived and stuffed full of desserts. The evening program lasted nine months, which somehow seemed to fly by yet stretch out for an eternity.
Here on The Baker's Almanac, I am going to be sharing my entire experience at ICC. Of course, everything I share comes from my personal experience, so I cannot speak to all of the programs offered at ICC. However, I hope that what I share will be interesting and informative. When I was first deciding to go to pastry school, I struggled to find resources online that described the actual experience. With this series, I hope that what I can share will help at least one person out there.
Pastry School Recap Series
I’m going to break down the posts based on the levels offered for my program. Each week, you can expect a new post providing an overview of the unit, as well as which parts I enjoyed the most.
Stay tuned for the rest of the recaps, and I can't wait to share my experience at ICC with you all!