Editorial Assistant Lauren Katz is enrolled in the part-time Pastry & Baking Arts program at New York City's Institute of Culinary Education. Follow her each week as she shares her sweet experiences! 

When I started school back in July, I honestly couldn't even picture what my last few classes would look like. I couldn't imagine walking into a kitchen, following a recipe, asking questions and exploring my culinary strengths and weaknesses with the confidence that I've developed. I felt so unsure of the relationships I'd develop with my classmates and instructors, and I definitely didn't think I would be capable to design, bake and decorate a two-tiered celebration cake all on my own. Now that the day is finally approaching, I've taken great pleasure in looking back at my growth along the way.


Gum paste bases for roses, cala lilies and mimosas

We've started making preliminary plans and accessories for our cakes. I submitted my first draft of what I hope my cake to look like, and I've spent most of my time in class working on gum paste roses. My cake is going to be draped in roses, so you can imagine I have a lot of work ahead of me.


My very rough sketch of what I hope my cake to look like

Out of all the unknowns that existed when I started school, I think the biggest was where I'd be completing my externship. Well, that day has finally arrived too, and I've happily accepted a placement in a test kitchen. I'll be testing both savory and sweet recipes and continuing to learn more about life as a chef. I'm excited for a new phase in my culinary journey, but I know how much I'm going to miss this chapter of my life.


My classmates and me posing with our chocolate sculptures. So happy!

So as I close the book on the Pastry School Diaries, I want to thank you all for reading and letting me share this experience with you. I hope you've learned something along the way, and that if you've ever considered going back to school (whether it's culinary school, business school or something completely different), my journey has pushed you just a little further to do so. On to the next sweet adventure!