travel

Around the world in forty cakes…

Have you considered baking as a career? Perhaps cake making is more your thing? Do you also have a sense of adventure and fancy travelling around the world?

I spoke to Mark Cooper, Bakery and Patisserie lecturer at Trafford College who, despite struggling at school, went on to do all this and much more. Quite an inspiration. 

mark-baking

Mark and students at Trafford College

 

“I am really glad I chose a career in baking and cake making. It opened up a world of opportunities for me that I would never have dreamed of.

I had had a difficult life and, after leaving school with few qualifications, I didn’t know what to do and whether I could be good at anything. However, I studied an apprenticeship in a local bakery and patisserie and since then I have worked in some of the most luxurious five-star hotel and restaurants in the world.

It has not all been easy, I have had to work hard and be committed to achieve success.

Yes, this did mean working all hours on low pay at times, in pressurised atmospheres which meant a lack of sleep and I did missing family and friends – but it has all been worthwhile.

I have gained respected international qualifications, a lot of experience, confidence and working skills including management training. On top of all that I’ve made lots of friends from the many different countries I visited.

I’ve worked in St Moritz Switzerland and some very posh fine bakeries and confectioners in Germany and that is also where I got my Masters qualification in Baking and

chateaux-lake-louise-canada

Chateaux Lake Louise, Canada

Confectionary. As an Executive Pastry Chef I was responsible for running and managing patisserie sections. I was fortunate enough to work for Chateau Lake Louise in Canada, Sheraton Hotel and Towers in Dubai, Ritz Carlton in Indonesia. The most mind blowing experience for me was working for the Royal family of Qatar.

Each new opportunity has pushed me to become better and progress to the next level. I have been able to control my career and decide what direction I wanted to take. By the time I worked on the QE2 I was confident about creating menus and teaching junior staff. Since coming back to the UK I have worked in the retail sector for large cake and bakery companies in their product development department creating new cakes, breads and pastries.

It hasn’t all been about work! In the places where I have worked and with the colleagues I have met I have always been able to lead a great lifestyle. I became a ski teacher, learned how to ice-climb, and enjoyed some wonderful backpacking experiences with great

ritz-carlton-indonesia

Ritz Carlton, Indonesia

friends. I’ve become more adventurous with food, experienced many different cuisines and also learned different languages. However, this was all made possible through hard work, believing in myself and my commitment to experiencing as much in life as I could.

I am now passing on all my experience and knowledge as a lecturer of Bakery and Patisserie at Trafford college, where my students are taught the skills to be successful in an ever changing industry. I try to guide my students when deciding which area they want to specialise in i.e. pastry, bakery or cake decoration. I also advise them about the importance of maths and English and how these subjects can help them in their careers. I try to show them that pastry and bakery courses aren’t just about completing courses, gaining the skills and then going off into industry. I hope they learn that they can study in college and then university if they want to-in subjects like food nutrition, new product development, food entrepreneurship, bakery and confectionery manufacturing.

At college my students gain practical skills in the well equipped kitchens and also go out into industry-gaining valuable work experience in hotels, restaurants, retail, bakeries, dessert production sites. They will get the chance to take part in competitions, running shows and volunteering events. These are all key skills in becoming a success in the industry and I am more than happy to support in any way that I can.”

If you would like any further information regarding becoming a student with us at Trafford College, please feel free to contact Mark on the details below

Mobile: 07880618070

Telephone 0161 952 4643

Email: mark.cooper@trafford.ac.uk

Twitter: Trafford College @patisseriearts

mark-baking-header

Advertisements

Five reasons you should go travelling…

tent

When I was a child holidays abroad were something other families did whilst we spent wet weeks in Wales, often camping.My first trip out of Britain was to Jersey where, aged 21 I got a small taste of life beyond the shores of the UK.It did more than whet my appetite and I have in the years that followed been to many amazing places around the world.

Learning something new about myself and the world on my travels, I have fantastic memories of souks in Dubai, lunch in Monte Carlo, shopping in Nice and meeting Mary Poppins at Euro Disney.Taking the children with us on many trips abroad has also opened their minds to different cultures and instilled in them the urge to spread their own wings when they are older.

Dubai

The benefits of travelling are vast and the reasons numerous…here are my top five reasons you should go travelling today.

1. To connect with other cultures.

There is much to be said for getting down with the locals in another country.They will show you the true beauty of their culture, be it with traditional homemade dishes or giving you a heads up on the best place to get a bargain.Be prepared to have misconceptions blown out of the water as you see for yourself the reality of life in another country, it is often not what you would expect.

2. The sense of achievement.

The feeling of managing and planning a journey into the unknown is great, especially when it is a success.In all our travels we have yet to have a ( major ) mishap and a little forward thinking goes a long way.The confidence boost of getting to your destination without losing a child or your luggage alone is worth the effort.

3. To take a break.

They say a change is as good as a rest and never is this more true than when travelling.The time out is sure to charge weary batteries and force even the busiest person to slow down.

4. See something new.

There is a whole world out there waiting to be explored and never before has travel been so accessible.Flights are available to many far flung destinations and can be very reasonably priced, especially when booked in advance.Who knows, you may come back inspired to make a change or at the very least will see life in a different way.

5. To learn.

You are never too old to learn something new, from a different language to cooking an exotic dish. You can always learn about yourself too and what better classroom than on location in an interesting part of the world.

The bottom line is travelling is good.Young, old and everyone in between can benefit from a break in routine and a journey to somewhere new and exciting.

Where are you planning on visiting next? Me, well Italy has great pasta and I love a good lasagne so who knows…..

trunki

Photo credits:

http://www.flickr.com/photos/summonedbyfells/ https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Dubai_night_skyline.jpg and http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Trunki_1.jpg   via Creative commons

Does the Kindle spell the end for books in print?

books         kindle n books

As a dedicated bookworm, I recently faced a very difficult question, the choice between downloading a new book on my Kindle or purchasing the print edition instead.

Whilst pondering this serious matter I took to Twitter to see what my fellow bibliophiles thought I should do, and also their preference when it came to such decisions.I was pleasantly surprised by the response and the reassurance that whilst the Kindle does has a role to play, it will never take the place of printed books.

Here are a few of the points raised that will hopefully convince you too…

1. BOOK SIGNINGS… I have, on some occasions enjoyed a book so much that I have wanted to get my copy signed by the author themselves, in person. This involves attending a book signing which is an event that every serious bookworm should take part in, at least once in their lifetime. Aside from the obvious pleasure of meeting said author, I have found many a kindred spirit in the rainy queue outside a book shop and, after sharing hours of bookish banter we have then become firm friends.Obviously the Kindle fails on this one, the first and last time I asked an author to sign my digital copy ended badly, with a situation involving an angry crowd and me crawling on the floor hunting for the end off my stylus.

2. SPINE APPEAL… Books look great. The vast array of covers, size and style of printed books are an absolute feast for the eyes and my bookshelf takes pride of place at home.This doesn’t mean that all my books live on the designated shelves, they are scattered all over the place – from the coffee table to the kitchen side, each seeking to draw me in at any opportunity. The Kindle however is not quite as alluring, even with a smart case and matching cleaning cloth.Granted, it currently has over 100 books ready to be read and a shiny colour screen but it just does not tempt me in the same way a book does.Books, particularly new books smell good too…I have been asked to leave many a bookshop for sniffing my way around the fiction aisle whilst sighing contentedly.

3. WEIGHT ISSUES… This is a recurring problem amongst those of us that like to travel and read more than one book at a time.It was the only reason I recently bought a Kindle in fact, shortly after the overweight baggage debacle I created last time we went abroad.The same one that saw me sobbing in the airport as I debated whether to leave my clothes rather than any of the eight books I needed to read on our three day mini break…..

4. STORAGE… I am ashamed to admit that I have boxes in the garage crammed full of books, hundreds of books.Unable to fit any more in the house but unable to part with any of them, I have amassed a collection that would rival my local library and that has caused more than one domestic dispute, my hubby just does not understand why I need to keep a box full of Enid Blyton classics.This is not a problem for the Kindle.With storage capacity far beyond any garage, it wins hands down for space management and would make any minimalist happy.Print book lovers not so much…

In answer to my question, does the Kindle spell the end of books in print, I would have to conclude a resounding no.

Both can live in harmony, indeed my kindle is very happy on the bookshelf amongst my print classics and has always been a willing holiday companion when called upon.There will always be a demand for printed books and an audience ready to build a bigger garage if necessary.

Are you print loyal, Kindle crazy or enjoying the best of both worlds like me?

Thanks to http://www.flickr.com/photos/brewbooks/  and also http://www.flickr.com/photos/robie06/  via creative commons  for pictures used:)

Ummi Homeschools Me

Our journey through homeschooling...for the sake of our Beloved!

ultimatemindsettoday

A great WordPress.com site

Pencil Hub

For the Love of Stationery

unbolt me

the literary asylum

Thoughts, Tales, and Whatnot

the world as I see it through rose-tinted glasses

bookowly

bookowly

Captain's Log

Life On A Different Plane (The only way to get there is together.)

ashutosh buch

Random Stuff

Mo Ansar.com

The official website of Mohammed Ansar

Da Masked Avenger

Waiting to strike...

A Buick in the Land of Lexus

fresh hell trumps stale heaven

The Buttry Diary

Steve Buttry, Dearly Departed Husband, Father and Grandfather. Former Director of Student Media, LSU's Manship School of Mass Communication

twinswins

Life is two-riffic with twins!

Road to Brazil 2014

World Cup News, Opinion and Guide

Pride's Purge

an irreverent look at UK politics

ultimatemindsettoday

A great WordPress.com site