World Pastry Forum 2012

I’ve been busy doing both editing and chocolate, and my blog has suffered.

I’m in the process of getting my wholesale license in D.C. and in Maryland, so I can sell my chocolate through retail venues. I’ve decided that outdoor markets are not a good outlet for me. For one thing, they take place during hot weather, and it’s hard to keep chocolate in good shape when it is over 100 degrees. Additionally, the cost of renting commercial space, packaging, and then market costs make it very difficult to break even on a product that does not have a long shelf life and a low profit margin, and demand from week-to-week is so unpredictable. Additionally, the “characters” who run outdoor markets, in my experience thus far, a slimy and untrustworthy bunch with whom I prefer to not do business. So, I’ve decided to focus on retail outlets and on internet sales until the day comes when I sign a lease and have my own shop, which is something I think about constantly. I do believe that starting this way is a good idea, though, as I work out my own style and perfect my chocolates before committing to a lease and hanging a shingle.

I had a wonderful experience this summer assisting Vincent Pilon at the 2012 World Pastry Forum at the Red Rock Resort in Las Vegas. He taught a workshop on chocolate sculptures, and it was an amazing experience being in a classroom with such an amazing chocolatier. He is world-renowned for a reason. Here are some pictures of my experience both in Chef Pilon’s classroom, and at the competition. It was a fantastic experience, and I made some great new friends, and I learned a great deal. I came back very tired after 10 days of getting up before 5 AM and being on my feet until after 7 PM every night, and then I had to dive right into a September journal deadline that has been keeping me UP until 3 AM for the past several weeks. It’s hard, sometimes, switching back and forth between a chocolatier and a production editor, but both are an important part of my life — at least for now.

Although I left Las Vegas with a “I’m too old for this sh*t!” feeling, and a wish to get a massage and then sleep for a week, I’m quite glad I did it.

Vincent Pilon's final chocolate sculpture

Vincent Pilon’s final chocolate sculpture.

Chef Vincent Pilon

Chef Vincent demoing his chocolate sculpture.

Chef Vincent Pilon

Chef Vincent Pilon doing a demo for the class.

Vincent Pilon demonstrates how to make his chocolate carnations

Vincent Pilon demonstrates how to make his chocolate carnations

One of Vincent Pilon's chocolate flowers

One of Vincent Pilon’s chocolate flowers

One of Vincent Pilon's chocolate carnations

One of Vincent Pilon’s chocolate carnations

A close-up from the sugar sculpture class

A close-up from the sugar sculpture class

A sugar sculpture from the class next door

The class next door was doing sugar sculptures. There was some beautiful work.

Red Rock Pool

The pool looked nice, but I never got a chance to enjoy it.

Out of 10 days, I got about 4 hours on the strip, just about enough time to lose $100 in slot machines!

5 AM on the first day of class and ready to go

Competition Plated Desserts

Competition Plated Desserts

Competition Sugar Sculpture

Competition Sugar Sculpture

Competition Chocolate Sculpture

Competition Chocolate Sculpture

The Dutch team and me

The Dutch team and me

Red Rock Dessert Buffet

Red Rock knows how to treat pastry chefs.

Bonbons from Chef Jean Marie Auboine's chocolate class

Bonbons from Chef Jean Marie Auboine’s chocolate class

The American team's sugar rooster

The American team’s sugar rooster.

A close-up from one of the competition sugar sculptures

A close-up from one of the competition sugar sculptures

Some of the competition judges

Some of the competition judges

Competition Bonbons

Competition Bonbons

Competition Bonbons

Competition Bonbons

More competition bonbons

More competition bonbons

More competition bonbons

More competition bonbons

More competition bonbons

More competition bonbons

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2 Comments

Filed under pastry, Vincent Pilon, World Pastry Forum

2 responses to “World Pastry Forum 2012

  1. Beth

    I’m ready to order some of your delicious chocolates, Colleen. Let me know how and when :)

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