Back when I was the Pastry host at eGullet, each year in June people would post comments about how they wanted to go to the forum but were afraid that their skills weren't adequate. Having now been through the process I can answer definitively. If you want to do the demo classes, any skill level will do just fine. The more experience you have the more you will get out of it, but everyone is so friendly if you don't understand basics, then just ask and someone will help. A good example of this - because I have cases of disposable pastry bags, I've never, that's right, never made a paper piping bag. We needed them in the sculpture class, I asked, and now I know.
For the hands-on classes, a bit more consideration is necessary. The registration form called for "professionals only." We had some that weren't professionals and they did fine. However, in many instances we worked in small groups. When we did the finishing work on our sculpture I had to let Sarah do the bulk of the work since I had never done that. I held my own in most areas, but was aware that I was slowing us down - that is unacceptable in a professional kitchen. So gauge your abilities and ask yourself "if you were in a small group, would you hinder your group or help them?" Your desire to learn should not impact your partner's $2000 investment in their own growth. If your partner is having to teach you, which they will be willing to do, then you are hurting their learning opportunities.
So, that said, anyone with some decent skills, even if only home skills, should consider the forum workshops.
On a more political note. I will not attend this workshop again if it is in Phoenix, and Arizona still has their immigration law. I don't get political in this blog, but think about how heavily dependent the food services industry is on the Hispanic community. To hold a conference in a state where a large portion of our employees would be at risk or uncomfortable is ridiculous.
Thanks to our fantastic instructors and I hope you all enjoyed the report.
Farina Alto – Albuquerque, New Mexico
3 days ago