shuna lydon

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« / the shadow of light | Main | Paris {silliness} »

09 November 2006


This is brilliant, Shuna. I have never considered baking my forte, but now that I have a dependable oven and guidance/inspiration from your blog I feel I am ready to begin exploring -- just in time for cold weather! And thanks for your enrhusiastic recommendation of a toaster oven. I'm in the market and didn't quite know where to go,


This is fascinating, Shuna. There's so much to your world that is not part of mine. This is part of the reason I love writing so much -- we can share each other's passions.

Great entry!

Brown butter pastry cream? I must try this.


Thanks for the inspiration. I miss you and all your adolescent influence. The markets are just not the same without you and all the farms we so proudly patronize and espouse the virtues of.

"In the pleasure business" sound so ... tawdry. :-)

I envy your patisserie prowess. I've never been much of a dessert maker, tho heaven knows I can consume my weight in sweets. But you inspire me, as always.

what a wonderful journey that post was...thank you...thank you. I shall now be introducing you to peeps as the pleasure chef. and when they ask me what that means I will say, "because she makes the world delicious!"

Shuna, one of my favorite work experiences was working for two short years for a Pastry Chef who now has his own shop in the Castro District of SF.

He taught me how to make bread and so much more. I love to watching his attention to detail from across the kitchen. I still cannot believe I used to make batches of croissants from scratch, ciabatta, panetone at Christmas, hot crossed buns at Easter and 250 baguettes daily for restaurant service.

What you say about bread and microwaves and the refrigerator is true and I am always telling that to people. What I did not know was the reason. So thanks for this post! All my education about bread was on the job, nothing formal.

Now that my family of two has returned to the Bay Area, I am experimenting with a sourdough starter at home. Of course, I am blogging about my progress.

I have followed your Poulet posts from the beginning and I thought you were consulting for them but it seems to have lasted quite a while. Are you just coming up with recipes for them and when that's done you'll move on? As an ex-pastry chef I want to know more!

Oops, so sorry about that. I know it seems like a blatent ad for my other blog, but WordPress remembered my URL from a previous visit.

The blog that has my sourdough posts is on this comment.

Please forgive!


I'm so going to go home and accidently break my toaster oven and that that beast. Wow.


Sitting here wishing I lived in SF and could take one of your classes, and that I had the time to bake....

Just wanted to say again how much I love your blog...

excellent post. xoxo

Thank you for the interesting insight into the twin sections of the pastry profession. I could always feel a sense of tension when pastry chefs from the different sections meet. Each seemed to think that the other had it easier!

Ah, pure poetry. I after a year at the bakery I understand so much better, your words. I enjoy you so much. You truly are an artist.

I have been trying to create "patisserie" style desserts for a resort in Goa, India this week as a chef consultant. It is a real challenge to create the right texture and consistancy in baked goods and confections to stand up to the demands of a new patisserie case. I like the poetic way you describe how your sweet creations adapt to their new surroundings. I am also trying to keep my precious sugary children in their new homes safe from the big bullies and the harsh new environments. Like Shuna my first transition from restaurant pastry chef to patisserie pastry chef was also at Citizen Cake. It was a great learning experience.
The popular palate in India has not been exposed to bittersweet chocolate (or real chocolate at all for that matter, ever try "dark mass" instead of "dark chocolate"?) Also the trend of savory elements in dessert or a pinch of salt in desserts is a strange concept here. When I gave some Scharffenberger and Valrhona bittersweet chocolate samples to some chefs and culinary students in India, they thought it was a substitute for diabetics. The "dark chocolate" (really "dark mass" made without any cocoa butter, just a little cocoa powder, vegetable oil, lots of sugar, vanillin, and lots of artificial stabalizers, colors, and flavors) tastes more sweet than regular milk chocolate.. ... anyhow I am trying to introduce these flavors and concepts, you know... fresh local, seasonal, artisian, pure, instead of artificial, canned, factory made mixes, etc. It is a challange for sure.
Thanks for the inspiration Shuna. I have introduced eggbeater to some of my Indian students, so they can see that I am not the only insane one!

I have also seen plenty of hard work laminating dough and creating starters and proofing, kneading, steaming...etc. go down the drain, all by the work of a little box of electromagnetic waves of radiation.. the Microwave.

I agree with you Roger. I had a tough time selling my simple dark chocolate brownies in Bangalore. But, things are improving slowly and steadily. With more people traveling they are saying no to the dry as dust squares of brown slabs passed off as brownies!

Interestingly bitterness is not considered as a favorable taste sensation in India. Great efforts are usually taken to mask it. People are slowly realizing that it can beautifully cut through the cloying sweetness and complement the taste.

What an incredible wealth of comments! thank you for validations and insights.

Lee-- I wanted to answer your question. It's a little complicated my "consulting" at Poulet. But I continue to be there on a "light"basis = not a ton of commitment. Because it works for me and them to be so close and things are easy in a way.

What I have found is that all consulting jobs are different. It depends what the business 1. wants 2. needs and the most important: 3. is receptive to.

Some change takes longer than others.

I think I mostly just love that I have a simple place to bake a few days a week. And then I do the harder work in a quiet, stealth sort of way.

I hope this, somewhat, answers your question.

Having tasted all of the aforementioned baked goods, I can vouch for their status in the upper echelon.

You couldn't possibly give up the lemon-yogurt cake recipe, could you? I was just searching for a lemon cake recipe two weeks ago and wasn't really pleased with anything. Thanks!

Hello Julie,

I may in fact give up the lemon yogurt cake recipe, as I feel I am on my way to perfecting it. But the holidaze and my classes will slow me down here a bit. If I haven't posted it by mid December, light a little fire under me... !

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