Forsyth CC’s Pastry Chef, Cody Middleton, invited teen members to the club for three days to learn intricate pastry preparation. Their abilities wowed him and the gratitude from members was rewarding.
Last month I had to the opportunity to teach pastry to some of our members’ children during our three-day Teen Pastry Boot Camp. Not only did this generate a little extra revenue during the summer when we are slow, but it also gave Forsyth CC a competitive edge.
Other clubs around the country have taught classes, so the concept is not new, but we were the first in our part of North Carolina to do so. The camp also gave me an opportunity to teach, which is something that I truly enjoy doing.
While only about half of the seats were filled for this class, the reaction from our members was profound. It was surprising to me that the social media post of our first day of the class received more likes and comments than any other post before. We received comments from the parents whose children were attending the class, members who wanted to know when the next class would be so their children could attend, and members who wanted to sign up for an adult version of the class. I found this extremely gratifying, especially because our golf course is in the middle of a total renovation.
To my amazement, these kid’s had a profound and genuine interest in pastry and their eagerness showed in their products. They asked very complex questions and were always looking for do a little more.
We covered a wide range of the pastry world in three days, but the participants rose to the challenge. We covered everything from cookies and cakes to pâte à choux, simple chocolate pralines, and laminated doughs. I told the kids their croissants came out better than many baking students’ practical exams in college. I was genuinely shocked by how well the were able to make such a tricky product.
What was a little funny for me, as I’m sure it would be for many chefs, was when someone asked if I ever got tired of standing for so long. By now it is second nature to be on my feet, but their parents told me that they gained more respect for individuals in our field because they had never thought about this fact before.
On the last day of the class, we held a Pastry Showcase were we invited the participants’ families to come and see what their children had made. This was when the extra hours I spent designing and organizing the class and preparing the mise en place each day was truly validated.
It was so heartwarming to see the joy and pride in the participants faces as they took pictures and showed their family members all the different products they had made.
Even now I get pictures from some of the parents showing me the pastries and cakes their child made at home. It’s little things like this make all the effort well worth it. We had such a great time hosting these teens and, most importantly, the members were beyond happy with the experience. It gave them another reason to be proud to call Forsyth C.C. their club.