Review By Yum List
Pastry Institute of St. Honore
Words by Kristin CosgrovePhotos by The Yum List (Monica Tindall)
Attention all home chefs, career bakers, and lovers of all things sweet and baked – there’s a new game in town promising to turn us all into master pastry chefs, The Pastry Institute of St. Honore.
St. Honore, the French patron saint of pastry chefs, would surely be pleased by his newest namesake, a premier institution for pastry arts education which offers all levels of courses, as well as consulting, product development, and even sweet treats made to order!
Opened by award-winning Master Pastry Chef Frederick Oger, the Pastry Institute of St. Honore offers part-time weekend courses for fun, as well as full-time certificate and diploma courses in the fields of Baking, French Patisserie or Confectionary. Chef Frederic leads classes on plated desserts and patisserie, while Master Baker, Chef Christophe Gros (formerly baking for Yeast in Bangsar), heads classes in breads and Danish. Together, the two make an infallible team for teaching the art of French baking.
Chefs Frederick and Christophe
Butter – the secret ingredient of all
good French pastries
As a novice baker but a passionate consumer of baked goods, I recently jumped at the chance to join The Yum List team in checking out the school while experiencing a short demonstration session in baguette making with Chef Christophe.
The school, located in TTDI Plaza above Hero Market, is bright and airy, with tons of natural light and windows, making it a comfortable and pleasant space in which to spend several hours. A small locker room and shower in the back of the school are available to students and there is a nice sitting area with several tables and chairs and a requisite coffee/tea station.
Pastry Institute of St Honore
Chef and Students
We settle in, don our aprons and enter the large kitchen, which is well organized and outfitted with high end, professional grade equipment. We are given printed recipes and are encouraged to take notes while Christophe shares his secrets of how to create the perfect baguette. He describes reactions between the ingredients and explains that students would make several different baguettes with various combinations of ingredients and techniques, crucial in understanding the art of bread making. During our session, we get hands-on experience in making two different baguettes, one hand mixed and one machine mixed so as to compare textures and tastes.
Carefully Measuring the Ingredients
Carefully Shaping the Baguette
Making the Dough
Ready for the Oven
While our bread is rising Chef Frederick invites us to witness his session in progress, one on plated desserts. Fondant (lava cake) is the dessert of the day, and while the fondant bakes, Chef Frederick demonstrates the technique of flambé before handing the job over to his students to try. The effect is impressive, the students seem to be having a great time; by the end of the session they have learned to create this beautiful dish and retreat to the lounge area to enjoy the fruits of their labor.
Baguettes Hot Out of the Oven
As for us, we return to our baguette fresh from the oven. My mouth waters but to my utter dismay, we are told that French bread is not meant for eating hot, as it upsets the digestive tract! So much for enjoying it fresh from the oven. Luckily, I now know the secrets of a good baguette for myself, and in the privacy of home, I may break that rule.
Part time/one-off classes at the Pastry Institute of St. Honore are fully customizable based on interest and proficiency, and are suitable for anyone aged 13 and up in a wide range of categories, including breads, wedding cakes, savoury canapés, tourte and pies, just to name a few! Conducted every Saturday from 9-4, part time classes are priced at only RM500 per two-day class, a very good value given the high quality of instructors and ingredients! Price breaks (generous ones!), are given for 6, 12, 18 and 24-class packages.
For those interested in baking as a career: St. Honore separates itself from other full time schools by aiming to couple students’ knowledge with real world experience in a working restaurant/bakery kitchen. This benefits students giving them the opportunity to narrow their interest range, giving them experience in a high-pressure working kitchen, and helping them to make professional connections in the restaurant world. “So many people take classes and graduate with a diploma, but then what? They don’t understand how to actually work in a kitchen and they have few connections in order to get jobs,” says Chef Frederick Oger. St Honore aims to solve these challenges, while passing on the passion and skills to make its students’ goals come true.
Happy Students and Patient Chefs
Reasons to visit: A wide range of customizable classes for the novice to expert levels; bright, clean and cheery surrounds in which to learn; passionate master bakers as instructors; sweets made to order.