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| August 29, 2016


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baking school: a day in the life.

When I first envisioned blogging about my time at Bonnie Gordon, I figured that I'd keep notes about learned techniques and important things... for my benefit and for yours.

That didn't happen. My notes are safely tucked inside my binder and clearly won't be going anywhere any time soon. Instead, I've taken to rambling on about odd things that you probably don't care about - especially if you don't know me - and I wanted to give a bit of a this-is-how-we-do for those who are interested in useful information. I had a hard time finding out things before I left for Canada, so if I can make another student's life easier, I'm all too happy to do so!

So, where to begin but the beginning.

where to stay.
I found my living space through Airbnb. It's awesome. I wish I'd done a little more research to find a nicer place before I made it to Canada, but there's one thing I can't complain about: the location. I was literally a 5-minute drive from school, whereas most everyone else drove 1-2 hours both ways.

Again, Airbnb is great. Disregard the housing suggestions on Bonnie Gordon's website. Use it. It's safe, you can read lots of reviews and see plenty of pictures beforehand, figure out exactly where it is on a map, and find a place that allows parking. Because parking is always important.

(Side note: If you use THIS LINK and book a stay anywhere, you'll save $25. Traveling is great. So is free money.)

what to bring.
I'm sure it varies from course to course, so check your email and read that handbook. You'll need black pants and black non-slip kitchen shoes. Shirts don't matter. (Well, you need to wear them. It just doesn't matter what kind.) The shoes really are important - the dish washing room is like a small lake and I was so thankful that I had invested in the right shoes instead of "pretending" with a pair of black sneakers.

Bring a Tide to Go pen. You'll get plenty of stains on your pretty white outfit.

Bring a Sharpie and an ink pen and a pencil. Depending on the course, consider bringing some kind of clear plastic tote to transfer your new baking tools to. It was a pain to keep having to walk back to my black bottomless pit of a tote bag out in the hall. (If you're in a longer program, you'll get a nicer bag.) Bring nail polish or paint to mark your tools or be prepared to write your initials on everything.

Bring kleenex and sweaters (okay, the shirts do matter). It's cold in the classroom and I had a runny nose every day. It was unpleasant. Very unpleasant.

the class.
The class itself is 14 days, so essentially three weeks of commitment. Parking isn't as bad as the introductory email portrayed. Chances are that you won't need to park on residential streets. It doesn't look like it from the road, but you can turn in at the sign and park either against the building or behind it by the brush. You can also take the bus and walk, but you'll have a ton to carry home with you each day. Everyone in my class drove or got a taxi.

The first day involves a 1.5-hour orientation before class. After that, all days are essentially the same. Class begins at 9:30 AM and ends at 5:00 PM or sooner. You must be ready to go in full uniform, lined up at the door before 9:30 when the instructor lets you in. In orientation, they warned that the instructor would lock the door and not allow late entries until lunch break... but we have to go in and out constantly to get our tools, so that's not exactly accurate. Chances are they would simply mark down your final grade for tardiness.

The instructor demonstrates everything, and much of the baking is done with a partner. You're expected to keep a clean station and not point knives at people. Chit-chatting is encouraged and I did plenty of it without reprimand, so chat away! Bring lotion to care for your hands at home, because there will be dish washing like you've never done before. It's impossible to save it for the end of the day, because you're making so many things and will run out of the necessary supplies to keep going.

We stopped for a half-hour lunch at some point between noon and 1:30. The lunch room is wonderful - there's a panini press and a Keurig machine, a refrigerator, two microwaves, and a hot water heater. There's even a sink for... yep, washing dishes. Don't try to leave to get lunch. The only thing semi-nearby is a Subway and traffic is bad. Lunch "hour" is a great time to get to know the people in your group. (I almost said ladies, but guys... Bonnie Gordon is for you, too! They have photos on the wall of men who have completed their programs. Do it!)

At the end of the day, everyone is split into pairs to follow a weekly chore chart. Duties vary but include cleaning the work stations, taking out the trash, wiping out the wash sinks, mopping, etc.

We grabbed our coats from our lockers and gathered in the common room while waiting for the moppers to mop, and packed up our goodies to bring home. Also suggested: some kind of large bag with a reinforced bottom to bring home your treats (the kind you can get from TJ Maxx for super cheap would work well). Easier than juggling everything in your arms.

in conclusion.
I didn't want to drone on and on, so like I've continuously said - if you have questions, ask them! I'd love to talk with you about your plans to visit Bonnie Gordon. I hope this helps to give a clearer picture of what happens during the day; it's a blast.

Don't think that you need copious amounts of experience or some kind of previous training to attend. You already have something in common with everyone else that's there - enjoying delicious treats, whether baking or eating them.

So go do it! You'll love it.

Thank you, thank you to Rohini for the photos! You're a gem!

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