Upskilling her patisserie knowledge is the right chemistry for Francesca
After working as a chef for nine years in London and Rome, Francesca Papo started work in Melbourne and realised that the hospitality business works differently here. Our smaller venues mean that chefs are required to have skills in mains and desserts. So, in order to progress her career, Francesca needed to up-skill her knowledge in patisserie.
Currently studying the Certificate IV in Patisserie, Francesca hopes to complete the course by June 2021, although COVID-19 has created some challenges.
Francesca's favourite aspect of the program has been learning the reasons why a recipe has to be followed a certain way, with each element having its function. "Savoury dishes are often cooked to taste and recipes are more of a guideline. In patisserie, there is much more chemistry involved, and changing a recipe might not be a good idea," she says.
A bake-off competition has been a highlight. During restrictions, Francesca found herself with spare time and was cooking a lot. "When I saw that William Angliss Institute had organised a baking competition I was excited for the new challenge," said Francesca. "Making a cake that resembled another food is not the easiest thing to do, especially when I decided not to use fondant."
After some consideration, Francesca opted for a mushroom and sketched it out. "I had fun and I was really happy with my result," she said. "There were other beautiful cakes, especially the hotpot cake, which won the competition."
Following her course and armed with new patisserie skills, Francesca hopes to work as a pastry chef for a few years and her ideal job is to be the head chef of a restaurant. "Coming back to school has made me reconsider things, including the possibility of a teaching job in the future," she says. "My knowledge in the kitchen practical has meant that for the first time I am studying food cost, leading and managing people and how to run a business."
Francesca's advice for those starting out? "Come to class prepared, read the lesson in advance and practice at home," she says. "Teachers and advisors are here to help. Enjoy your time at WAI!"