11 August 2009

Chocolate Showpieces / Lollapalooza

While still using chocolate as a medium, making showpieces proved to be drastically different from candy production. Above all, showpieces are about precision and attention to detail; the key is to build each component slowly, carefully, and correctly on the first attempt. It's safe to say everyone found the change of pace refreshing. At times we were so focused that the kitchen was completely silent - a rare occurrence. Everybody's pieces turned out beautifully, and I think the week was a confidence booster in terms of demonstrating our skill and talent levels. The showpiece consisted of the following elements (some made by hand, others with the use of a mold):

1. Small base
2. Large dome
3. Three small domes
4. Large base
5. Main element
6. Two spheres
7. One flower with petals made from a scraping tool
8. One flower with petals made by hand with a paring knife
9. Leaves
10. White curls

Chef Jacquy securing the base and scraping flower petals

Each component is held together with nothing more than melted - yet tacky - chocolate. After the main elements were glued together (up to the point of flowers, etc.), we sprayed them with chocolate to give them a smooth, shiny finish and to clear up any traces of fingerprints. We also sprayed the flower made with the scraping tool with a color of our choice (in my case, purple). After spraying, we were left to our own devices to attach the remaining pieces.

Transporting our showpieces was a battle vs. nature. Friday was drizzly, and chocolate's number one enemy is moisture. I was faced with the additional challenge of getting the piece home and making it back downtown to Grant Park for Bon Iver's Lollapalooza set at 3:00pm. A cab was necessary, and I'm proud to report I only lost a couple of pieces during the commute.

Speaking of Lolla, here's a look at how I spent three fantastic days:

Weather - anywhere from drizzle to downpour (On a related note, I hereby subscribe to the idea that umbrellas shouldn't be allowed into music festivals - they affect views and risk eye poke-outs.)
Music - Bon Iver, Fleet Foxes, Thievery Corporation, Andrew Bird, Depeche Mode

Weather - warm, but overcast and generally pleasant
Music - Atmosphere, Blind Pilot, DJ set by Hercules and Love Affair, TV on the Radio, Animal Collective, Ben Harper & Relentless 7, Yeah Yeah Yeahs

Weather - hottest day of the year so far in Chicago
Music - Friendly Fires, Portugal. The Man, Kaiser Chiefs, Neko Case, Dan Auerbach, Lou Reed, Deerhunter, the Killers

Fleet Foxes' perfectly-harmonized vocals translating well to a live setting; Thievery Corporation managing to keep everyone dancing and happy despite the rain (though I'm sure there were other factors at play, also...); Atmosphere's unconventional ability to rap about things that actually matter; TV on the Radio's perfect set and high energy level; Dan Auerbach of the Black Keys rocking my socks off; and the Killers making me happy to say I'm still a fan by playing five songs from Hot Fuss and managing to make songs from their other albums worth hearing, dancing, and jumping around to. Oh, and Graham Elliot's lobster corndog with lemon aioli. How could I forget that?!

Animal Collective's inability to play a single song all the way through, convincing me that their live sets are difficult to watch and uncomfortable to hear (which is disappointing due to the fact that I think Merriweather Post Pavilion is one of the strongest albums of the year so far); and Lou Reed for being the only performer to not take the stage at his designated time as well as his use of monitors as reminders of his own lyrics. I wasn't even alive when his songs were popular (both solo and with the Velvet Underground), yet even I know the words to most of them.

Back at school this week, we're moving on to sugar showpieces. Next week is our first exam...

1 comment:

  1. Great job with the Lolla review. I might have added BH & Relentless 7, and the Lou Reed fans to the highlights, both for kicking ass. More lowlights: the Deerhunter singer for not shutting up; and the foamed blue cheese on the Graham Elliot buffalo chicken just for being pretty much worthless.