This week I have a big announcement to unveil which I have been hinting at for quite some time! In very, very exciting news this little Cakespeare is taking a big bite out of the Big Apple!
That’s right dear readers, this little Cakespeare is going on the road for 3 months and travelling to New York to train at the French Culinary Institute!! I’ll be studying Master Pastry Chef Instructor Ron Ben-Israel’s expertly designed cake and pastry technique curriculum. In about 5 days, my journey of learning from a couple of the best cake artists and pastry chefs in New York and finally making my empire state of mind a reality begins!
Why New York?
I’ve been to New York quite a few times before but never longer than a week or two. A few years ago, I travelled there every two months on an amazing global project where I learned so much and grew immensely as a professional and as a person. It really did open my eyes to a city that never sleeps and an amazing energy that cannot be replicated in any other city in the world. So I suppose I could probably point to that project for really planting the seeds of the biggest cake adventure in my life but I must admit – the dream was always about New York first and the culinary school part came later in the piece when I realised it might actually be possible to live TWO dreams at once!
Walking the hallowed halls of this legendary culinary school which has produced superstars like David Chang of Momofuku, Wylie Dufresne of wd-50 molecular gastronomy fame and pastry greats like Jacques Pepin and Jacques Torres. To my Aussie readers this may not mean very much but if you’re from the US, you probably already know what an incredibleplace this is!!
As someone who hasn’t stopped working since they were 18 in a full time corporate job at the same firm, I figured this time is probably as good as any other to take stock of life and work out where I want to go. This wasn’t an easy decision to make and I consulted many of those closest to me.
This is where I need to acknowledge my very good pen friend and fellow cakie, Mandy, from the US who was one of the first students to do this course when it was initially developed. I cannot thank her enough for her invaluable advice about the course – her candid nature and complete honesty was what helped me to make this decision my eyes wide open and to set the expectations at the right level.
I have had my moments of total doubt and panic closely followed by moments of extreme excitement but I’ve realised I need to take the experience for what it should be: a whole lot of FUN. After working at the same place for 9 long years, I never imagined that it would be possible to actually make this a reality let alone be in a field so completely different to what I do every day. But here I am, planning for my move to New York this week and fretting about what to pack! My amazing Mr Cakespeare has been so amazingly awesome too – couldn’t really ask for a better husband 🙂
Many people have also asked why not Paris? Which I did ponder briefly given it is the home of the most amazing desserts and cakes in the world but I decided that New York is where my heart has always been (as much as the idea of rocking up to the Le Cordon Bleu in Paris was very, very tempting). I did also seriously consider working in New York as a management consultant but the life of a management consultant in New York just didn’t seem to promise the same experience when the chances of you being outside Manhattan are about 99.9%!! After many horror stories of people who worked there and got burned out (or worse spent many long months commuting to remote locations in the US) I decided that that wasn’t the right answer.
This time next week I will be standing at the FCI at orientation: that is a daunting, daunting prospect in itself!! I can’t wait to share my stories with you from the concrete jungle where dreams are made of, so keep checking back cos this blog’s about to get a whole lot more exciting.
To whet your appetite, here’s an inspiring video of cake legend Ron Ben-Israel talking about the course: