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French Pastry School to Expand

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An expansion to the famed French Pastry School, part of City College in Chicago, was announced during NRA week during a reception held for supporters and invited guests. Internationally acclaimed pastry chefs Jacquy Pfeiffer and Sebastien Canonne made the announcement jointly, first giving a history of the school which they started in 1995.

“We opened the school,” says Canonne, “with the idea of giving back and teaching what we were lucky enough to learn from our own teachers.” As he looked around the room, Canonne recognized people from those early classes, and joked, “We had no refrigeration – everything was fresh!” He also said, “We had electricity for no more than 12. We spent half of our time in class changing the fuses.”

The program has now grown in numbers as well as in facilities – with significant space at the City Universities of Chicago, but relies on the same instruction based artist-apprentice model that they learned in Europe. In leading up to the announcement, Canonne said, “Today, it’s not enough. We’ve been quietly growing, and our vision is bringing us to another level.”

The announcement of an expansion includes 11,000 new square feet of space along with branding of the building. All of the kitchens will receive glass walls, to make it easier for visitors to view the instruction without disturbing the students and teachers.

Pfeiffer made the second announcement, which puts the new space to good use. “I’ve been in this country for 20 years,” he said. “At a wedding, they serve the beautiful cake and I always go, 'Ah,’ and everyone is like, 'don’t eat it, it tastes bad.’ Our goal is to change the taste of wedding cakes for America.” With that, he laid out the full cake instruction program (including cake decorating), that will be the first of its kind in the world. The program, officially called L’Art du Gâteau , will launch fully in late August, 2010.

Pfeiffer promised that after that date, “A wedding cake will taste good from now on,” and added, “We’ll also be teaching how to deal with the bride . . . and the mother of the bride!”

For more information about the program, go to the French Pastry School website; for the full news release about the expansion plans, click here.