A return to upstate New York for my first time as a presenter to the students of the Culinary Institute of America (CIA) at Hyde Park. We arrived a few hours ahead of our presentation to meet with David Slonkosky and his staff who prepared the mis en place for our demo. We were impressed that to ensure we were covered for any problems, it was prepared in duplicate. We also visited the lecture hall to get an idea of how we were to present our demo and lecture, and were given a tour of the campus. My good friend, John Zearfoss, whom I first met over 25 years ago when he was a chef at The Trellis in Williamsburg, Va, is now creator and head instructor of the CIA's newest addition, the Culinary Sciences department, gave me a grand introduction. Before a filled auditorium of over 300 students, visitors, and instructors, we showed "The Baking Bible" video. We then made one of my favorite chocolate cakes from all of my books, The Chocolate Pavarotti with Wicked Good Ganache, which provided a platform for highlighting virtually all of my golden rules for baking. We then showed over a dozen slides of our numerous tests to illustrate their importance in researching and engineering recipes, as many of the students are interested in pursuing careers in the area of food science. Afterwards, to our delight, our book signing table seemed like it had a perpetual line of visitors. We were enchanted that one of our long time bloggers, Ed, drove 5 hours from Niagara Falls to attend the lecture and see us in person. I had invited my dear friend Betty Van Nostrand, who is indisputably the queen of cake decorating, and teaches at the CIA, to come to the lecture and we had a chance to catch up after the signing. Though it was getting later than anyone had anticipated, we weren't about to leave before visiting the very impressive Culinary Science Laboratory. On our way there we were treated to a view of a unique wall collage.
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