A culinary program is not inexpensive especially where we are from. Reputable culinary training institutions in the Philippines can easily charge an amount that is equivalent to buying a car!
I was lucky enough to get started with Fundamentals of Pastry as a scholar while I was employed in the Palms Country Club in Alabang, Muntinlupa City. I didn’t plan on it and welcomed the blessing that gave me almost four years of experience through Palms. I will be forever thankful for the opportunity. The classes in International School for Culinary Arts and Hotel Management under the tutelage of Chef Ernesto Babaran fortified the industrial training I got from the Executive Chef Hans Neukom and Pastry Chef Marlon Ramos in Palms.
Eventually, we handled on-the-job training programs in the Palms Central Kitchen. It is similar to that of an internship where nearby schools, which are about to graduate students in degree programs such as Bachelor of Science in Hotel and Restaurant Management, require hours of actual work experience or exposure in the industry to test the skills and learning from the classroom. I loved sharing what I have learned with those trainees and the feeling of achievement was quite instantaneous since you see them turn out products like cookies and cakes immediately after training. There was no waiting after a whole semester to test if they got the instructions or not.
The realization that I wanted to teach and bake became stronger and so I moved into teaching pastry in a university. Teaching was an eye-opening experience for me. Knowing that what I share as an instructor will be contributory to future careers of those students. I will always be proud of them.
I knew my study in baking and cake decorating will never end. However, at present, I will not be able to afford the next-level programs in baking and decorating. So, armed with the internet, I sought out to learn more through “online teachers”.
Once we started focusing on Captain’s Mix and Magic, and now we have a store Captain’s Sweet Galley of Treats, we got to know educators, fellow baking learners online. The facebook group ShopBakersNook became our gateway to never-ending baking information. And we realize that we are also able to help out on others’ baking struggles as well. Accomplishing a cake design, discovering a recipe and finding out other baking methods were supported, encouraged, even cheered! It is definitely a support group for pastry lovers. We credit SBN on inspiring us in fondant cake decorating among numerous invaluable industry secrets we’ve picked up from there since 2011.
Videos on youtube are also at everyone’s disposal! Youtube channels of The Artisan Cake Company, Yener’s Way, Kara’s Couture and even Edna De la Cruz have tutorials uploaded for free! and those are just a handful of baking channels online.
We have recently joined a cake website which is also a place where you can share your designed cakes, see others’ cakes as well as progress procedures and a haven for cake enthusiasts who are looking for answers to their long-standing cake questions. That site is www.CakesDecor.com. The website has been around for some time and evidently, a lot of experienced pastry chefs can be found there who are ready to help us out on our baking journey. It is also where we started our small baking information blog entitled Crumbs in the Bakeroom, to share some baking trivia and techniques.
Everyday is a day to learn something new in the kitchen and that rings true. A new recipe, a new technique, a new ingredient, a new equipment or gadget, a new tool-hack; always there is something new. You only need to click, browse, read, and read, and read. Study the recipe first before testing it out.
When you try out the information and instructions you find online, it is another way of studying what you are passionate about. Not affording the classes is no longer an excuse if you really want to learn. The only obstacle now will be the materials and the equipment you will need to practice. However, that is also like buying school supplies and a computer for your research right?