When I started Le Cordon Bleu in 2012, my goal was to learn the recipes and skills to allow me to develop a line of new gluten free French pastry products and introduce them to the market. The head of the Patisserie program, Chef Andre created an independent study for me during my second term. I had the great the advantage of conducting the gluten free experiments in the school's test kitchen rather than in my own tiny kitchen at home. Chef Andre learned about gluten free baking from my research and the results that I present to him on a weekly basis. He is a highly renowned pastry chef in Australia, but unless you or someone you know is gluten intolerant, there isn't much of a draw to it for most people. My passion about the subject sparked his interest to explore this new category of baking. I emphasized that more and more Australians continue to be diagnosed with celiac or other gluten intolerant dietary conditions. As a representative of one of the finest culinary institutes in the world, it is crucial that students-the future industry leaders- are aware of the types of allergies and limitations that affect hundreds of thousands of Australians and consumers world-wide.
Three mornings a week before class, Head Pastry Chef Andre presented me with a patisserie topic to cover on a weekly basis, and my challenge was to modify the recipes he chose into gluten free versions.
Chef Andre and some of the other pastry chefs provided me with feedback on my weekly progress and judged whether the final products are suited to meet to the LCB standards. My research and recipes were published in the school's curriculum.
Le Cordon Bleu Sydney honored me with the role of guest speaker at the 2015 graduation. I spoke to the graduates about how I began the makings of Blends by Orly during an independent study that I pioneered while I studied there in 2012.
The most meaningful part of my evening was when Chef Andre told me that until hearing this speech, he didn't understand how much of an impact this study had on my personal growth and my professional trajectory. I believe a teacher's greatest satisfaction comes from seeing how he inspires his students and makes a real difference in their lives. He told me that to this day, they have never had another student as passionate about the gluten free topic as I was.