Monday Must Have: Kitchen Inspiration

My first sugar showpiece in culinary school.

Creativity. I love it. I need it. I crave it.

I enjoy what I do for a living because I have this outlet where I can create something that is a part of me, for others to enjoy.

One of the things I loved about culinary school was the constant learning of new skills and techniques and it seemed like the creativity just happened being in such a conducive environment. I remember the first day of my Confectionery & Showpiece class, where the chef demonstrated a FANTASTIC sugar showpiece (which I wished I had taken a picture of to share with you). When she finished, she had us pick out three colors of cooked sugar and said, "OK, now it's your turn to make a showpiece in the next couple of hours."

I had picked three colors that didn't really seem like they would work together and the perfectionist in me began to panic. As I worked, practicing the techniques that the chef had demonstrated, I began to gain confidence in learning another new skill. Although we had a choice in the colors, we still needed to incorporate the hedge rose flowers and the pulled sugar technique in our project.

The above picture was my very first sugar showpiece and although it's not anywhere near what you might see on a Food Network show, I was very pleased with how it turned out and when I look at this picture, it brings back memories of the excitement and the challenge of learning something new and allowing my creativity to shine through. Overall, this picture represents a time when I thought something was impossible and how with a little direction, practice and creativity it became possible.

But every once in awhile, there are times where the creativity doesn't seem to flow and I need a little extra help to get those creative juices flowing. At times like these, I turn to those things or people around me to get going again.

Things or people that INSPIRE me:

Cooking Magazines
Collected Recipes
Created Recipes
Favorite Food Blogs
Other Pastry Chefs
My Mentor Chef D.
Seasonal or Local Produce/Ingredients
Bakeware/Cookware/Kitchen Gadgets
Culinary Classes
Places I've Lived/Visited

What INSPIRES you in the kitchen?