Thursday, December 9, 2010

Gingerbread hands-on @ ToTT

Apart from the retail store, ToTT offers cooking classes in two formats, demonstration and hands-on. The 64-seater demonstration studio has televisions and cameras placed above the front counters allowing participants to get up close while the hands-on studio has 12-counter to provide an intimate learning experience. Details and pricing can be seen on ToTT's website.


Received an invitation to attend a cooking class of my choice and being newly set up in 23 October 2010, the selection is pretty limited at the moment. What caught my attention was a baking hands-on and since Christmas is coming soon, Yuan and I have decided to learn how to make Gingerbread snowflakes and men.


The chef that taught the class was Chef Celeste Chew who has attended various culinary and baking courses in famed culinary schools, such as Culinary Institute of America, French Culinary Institute, Le Cordon Bleu, Bally Maloe in Ireland and Tante Marie for Spanish cuisine. A chef with lots of experience and for those who are keen, the profile of the chefs are available on ToTT website.


The cooking studio is well-furnished with sufficient ovens and mixing bowls within reach. Apart from sharing tips and learning, it is a good opportunity to have a feel of some of the kitchen appliances and accessories before purchase.


The maximum capacity of each hands-on class is 12 (i.e. 6 participants and 1 guest can be brought along) and hence allow direct interaction with the instructor. Each pair is assigned to a counter, fully equipped with cookware and kitchen utensils, allowing ample space to work around.


In general, the class is conducted in 3 segments, namely cutting the dough, preparing the dough and icing the cookies. Each segment has a brief introduction of handy tips and ingredients, followed by a demo and lastly allowing the participants to have some hands-on.


Often, the introduction and demo is done at the front desk; and with a crowd of 12, everybody including children do have a clear view of what is going on.


Hands-on session gets tricky when participants get confused with what to do or disorientated in the cooking studio. Hence, Chef Celeste made her rounds to ensure that all her participants can follow and work on their own at ease.


At $118, it is an enriching 3 hour session where we get to make and ice gingerbread folks and snowflakes. Of course, recipes are provided and the finished products can be bought home.

- Our thoughts -
Considering that this is one of the first few classes to be conducted at ToTT, hiccups are inevitable. While the instructions and pointers are explained clearly during the introduction and demonstration, it can be alittle chaotic during the hands-on. For instance, participants are not familiar with where some of the utensils or bakeware are kept and the operations of ovens and electric stand mixers. Apart from that, Chef Celeste has been very concise with her instructions and sharing with us some of her experience to overcome the regular mistakes or difficulties when handling the dough and baking cookies.

- F.Y.I. -
For those who are keen with ToTT's baking and cooking class, the ToTT cooking studio will be ushering in the festivities with a series of exciting cooking classes—not just for yourself, but for your family and other halves as well.

For Chinese New Year, chefs are arranged to come in for traditional goodies like pineapple tarts and dumplings, as well as dishes like fish maw soup, coffee pork ribs and yu sheng. As for Valentine’s day, a whole series of “Cooking to Seduce” meant for couples come in handy for those who want to impress their other halves. Some well-established culinary personalities who would be helming these classes include “Spice Queen” Chef Devagi Sanmugam and 2am:dessertbar’s very own Derrick Wong.

Many thanks to Danielle and Sihui from ate consulting for the invitation to ToTT and an opportunity to attend the Gingerbread hands-on class.


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