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Alice in Videoland Part Two

April 16th, 2012 by Cocolat

If you haven’t seen the preview of my video course, check it out at http://www.craftsy.com/class/Decadent-Chocolate-Cakes/64.
The beauty of a video course, and what makes it different from food TV, is that there is no rush to fit into a five-minute morning news slot or even a half-hour program. I get an opportunity to actually teach, as though I had a live class. I can explain all of the “ifs” “ands” or “buts,” discuss options, talk about what to do if something goes wrong, or what may happen if you don’t do it my way! I can give options and really get into things. It’s not purely about entertainment, although it is beautiful to watch. What more could I have wished for?
Maybe you’ve always wanted to perfect a show-off special occasion cake, master chocolate ruffles, or learn a little more about working with chocolate. Maybe you know an aspirational baker or cook who doesn’t have access to or funds for a cooking course?  This one is a bargain. It can be watched over and over again, and it’s interactive: students can chat with me, ask questions, and interact with others taking the same class.  I’m having my morning coffee these days while answering student questions.  And I’m learning from the questions too!  The Craftsy platform is pretty cool. I’m pretty psyched. 
Confession:   A couple of the recipes in the course are simpler to make than they look, which means that you can produce a gorgeous torte with perfect marbled glaze, or a whimsical chocolate centerpiece with far less effort than anyone will guess when they look at your results!

Alice In Videoland

April 13th, 2012 by Cocolat

Chatting with a serious documentary filmmaker decades before there was SO much food on TV, I expressed the opinion that the processes involved with chocolate and dessert making would look good on film.  She didn’t really get it! I explained how visual it all was: luxurious chocolate glaze flowing over a cake, up-close brush stokes marbleizing that glaze with milk chocolate so it looks like Italian or French art paper, deckle-edge ruffles of pure chocolate pealing off of a sheet pan, even the technique of beating and folding egg whites properly, lovingly, expertly, into a chocolaty batter. I thought it could be instructional andexquisitely beautiful. She looked dubious. I kid you not.

Decades later we have endless food TV—so what else is new?

Recently my publisher proposed that I teach video classes to support the launch of Sinfully Easy Delicious Desserts (out next month, btw). We discussed the recipes during a very enthusiastic conference call with the lifestyle editor at craftsy.com, who would be our partner in this video adventure. In the back of my mind, I was vaguely disappointed. I was finally doing video, but with the wrong content! I love my new book, but Sang An’s photography is already amazing, and the whole point of Sinfully Easy is that no one needs video to succeed with the recipes!

Then a miracle happened. The Craftsy team “remembered” that their audience of passionate crafters and DIY-ers loves ambitious projects and are eager to learn technique. They want to learn skills, not just recipes. Sinfully Easy was too damn —easy (yay!)—and thus not ideal for video. Would I consider scrapping the original plan and coming up with a list of more challenging desserts?

It took me three minutes to get a new menu on paper.

The course launched last week and you can see a little preview of it here: http://www.craftsy.com/class/Decadent-Chocolate-Cakes/64