baking school instagrammed

Last Friday, we shut down the kitchen at baking school, and I cleaned out my locker. On Monday, we wrote our final exam. This is how my iPhone recorded the year:

baking school | movita beaucoup

Remember September? When we all thought baking school was going to kill me? Remember those ridiculous lockers? We battled with them all year. It took a few weeks to master taking a run at ’em to get our gear wedged in. (Forget about getting it back out.) There were uniforms, kits and textbooks, wine tours and our first loaves of bread. At the end of the month I gave myself a 10% chance of graduating.

baking school | movita beaucoup

Everything was in quantity. Why make one if you can make a hundred? There were… challenges. I felt sick every morning for about three months. We were supported by gas ranges, 60-quart mixers, proofers, deck ovens and convection awesomeness.

baking school | movita beaucoup

There were holiday bake sales and seasonal treats. Exams and assessments. I finally stopped feeling sick in December. We became efficient. We learned about timing products, marketing and running a bakery outlet. We sold thousands of baked treats. Things that were hard in September began to feel easy. I gave myself at least a 25% chance of graduating by the time Christmas rolled around.

baking school | movita beaucoup

There was a lot of snacking, and I still managed to lose weight. We learned about all things culinary – not just baking. We started to laugh more in the kitchen. And cheer! We took courses in baking theory, communications, computers and small entrepreneurship.

baking school | movita beaucoup

Cakes. Lots of ’em. They almost made up for eight months without sleep.

baking school | movita beaucoup

There were bagels, biscotti, and breads shaped like animals. We mastered European and advanced breads, and had the expertise to question recipes and methods. We were able to think on our feet, spot mistakes, and adapt when necessary.

baking school | movita beaucoup

There were miraculous jelly rolls, swans, feats of dough rolling and an amazing school library.

baking school | movita beaucoup

There was mise en place every day, my legendary San Andreas Fault pie, sweet presentations and friends waiting at home.

baking school | movita beaucoup

There was team work. And celebrations. And a stormy morning which found us all but alone on the campus, so we shared breakfast and talked shop.

empty | movita beaucoup

Now the kitchen is quiet. I feel like I closed my eyes for but a moment, and now it’s all over. I think I will miss it all…

A few weeks ago, I made a product list for my portfolio. Here are the highlights:


Old Dough/Pâte Fermentée/Biga · French Loaves · Baguettes · Plié Breton · Pain de Campagne · Pain au Levain · Pain Rustique · Pain Pugliese · Pain d’Epi · Fougasse · Pullman Loaves & White Pan Bread · Rosemary Olive Oil · Kaiser · Whole Wheat · Raisin · Cheese · Cracked Wheat · Golden Flax · Rye · Stollen · Panettone · Italian Loaves · Ciabatta · Focaccia · Bhaturas · Tandoori Rotis · Naan · Parathas · Chapatis · Lavash


Swedish Yule Logs · Jelly Rolls/Sponge Cake · Genoise · New York Cheesecake · Chocolate Layer Cake · Black Forest Cake · Angel Food Cake · Pound Cake · Fruit Cake


Checkerboard Cookies · Speculaas · Biscotti · Sand Cookies · Sugar Cookies · Lebkuchen

Decorating Mediums

American Buttercream · French Buttercream · Royal Icing · Marzipan · Gum Arabic Glaze · Gum Paste/Pastillage · Fondant


English Muffins · Country Biscuits · Morning Glory Muffins · Cinnamon Buns · Pizza Dough · Bagels · Pretzels · Sweet Yeast Dough · Danish Dough · Choux Pastries · Gingerbread · Pies · Linzer Torte · Gluten Free Muffins, Breads and Cakes

So, I can bake some stuff. And many variations of that stuff. We head off to work terms next week – I’m betting it will feel like September all over again. I’ve got a few more baking school stories to share in the coming weeks, and some recipes waiting in the wings. In the meantime, why don’t you hit your own kitchen and make me a graduation cake? Because I’m, like, 90% sure it’s gunna happen.


  1. mellissa @ ibreatheimhungry on April 25, 2013 at 8:50 am

    I loved seeing all of the photos – a year in the life of Movita at baking school = awesome! 🙂 The one thing that stood out to me though is that you LOST WEIGHT while at baking school surrounded by all of that carby deliciousness. How is that possible? You must have the best metabolism EVAH! One more reason to be jealous! Working on my plans for BMC 2013 – there will be bacon. Meaning even you probably couldn’t eat this cake and lose weight! tee hee…

    • movita beaucoup on April 26, 2013 at 9:22 am

      1. BACON?!?!? Thank you.
      2. Any snacking at school was cancelled out by stress, standing for hours on end, and lifting heavy things. Thus, empty caloric intake achieved!

  2. Carol Anne @ Rock Salt on April 25, 2013 at 8:52 am

    Duuuuuude. You have done SO WELL! If you haven’t given yourself a pat on the back – physical or metaphorical – take a moment and do it right now. I SAID NOW.

    Really well done and congratulations. You are a hero.

  3. emma on April 25, 2013 at 8:53 am

    Julie Richardson IS Rachael Dyer! I knew it!

    Looks like a gorgeously delicious year, but I knew that, too. What’s going on in that photo with the roll thingy that is emitting what appear to be laser rays? Are you baking with the future? Also… why would a dancer need to lose weight? I’m just sayin.

    • movita beaucoup on April 26, 2013 at 9:25 am

      That jelly roll was part of an exam. We were all to make two rolls – one vanilla, one chocolate. We were all to make them at the same time. Snag: not enough mixers, and too few whip attachments. It was very stressful. Crap was flying around the kitchen, people were sweating and swearing. My first roll – vanilla – had a crack. The pressure was on for the chocolate. IT WAS FLAWLESS. And emitted laser beams as a result.

      • emma on April 26, 2013 at 9:38 am

        Does this alter caloric intake? Is this why you lost weight?

  4. glutenfreezen on April 25, 2013 at 9:15 am

    I loved seeing all of the photos, how fun! You may have doubted yourself, but of course, none of us ever doubted your ability to shine through school for a second.

    Can’t wait to hear more stories! 🙂

  5. chagrinnamontoast on April 25, 2013 at 9:22 am

    Amazing! Makes me want to go. I really love your turtle bread.

  6. Krysten S on April 25, 2013 at 9:59 am

    Awwww 🙁 this made me miss you more! :'(

    • movita beaucoup on April 26, 2013 at 9:26 am

      I don’t blame you for missing me. I’m awesome.

  7. bocafrau on April 25, 2013 at 10:17 am

    Amazing! I can’t believe it’s already over. It seems like you just started. Following your journey, especially on IG was so awesome. Good luck with whatever your future holds!!!!

    • movita beaucoup on April 28, 2013 at 10:29 am

      Thanks, friend! I’ve got lots of excitement on the horizon…

  8. Bonnie on April 25, 2013 at 10:20 am

    I just gained 5 pounds looking at the pictures. Everything looks so yummy, and I am not a foody. I do, however, appreciate the wonderful talent that you have. I’m 100% sure you will graduate. 🙂

    • movita beaucoup on April 28, 2013 at 10:30 am

      Thanks, Bonnie!! One day we’ll have to share a slice of cake together…

  9. fiercelyfresh on April 25, 2013 at 10:35 am

    Bravo and congratulations! Great photos. Now I’m off to feed a craving for cupcakes…

  10. Stacy on April 25, 2013 at 10:37 am

    Best post yet! I loved your school year in pictures and especially that one of your sweet kitties waiting patiently at home for you. I never ever had a doubt that you could do it. Never. Dancing a small kitchen jig for you, while rescuing failed mini berry Bundts by turning them into trifle. Because you inspire me.

  11. Ashley Bee on April 25, 2013 at 10:52 am

    You are living my secret dream 🙂 Though it dawned on me that, as a NOTAMORNINGPERSON I probably will never be a baker. Maybe a chef though… maaaybe… or, if I’m very lucky, a food writer of sorts 😉

    • movita beaucoup on May 8, 2013 at 10:44 am

      OR, you could do the late bake shift! Win win!!

  12. Willow on April 25, 2013 at 10:58 am

    What a year! Even with all the anxiety and uncertainty at the beginning, your story kind of makes me wish I were going through baking school. Congrats on making it this far!

  13. Juls on April 25, 2013 at 2:40 pm

    There is a big cherry blossom tree out the front of Leiths (the school I go to) and when we started our tutor indicated to the tree and said ‘This tree will be the metaphor for the next year, by the end of December the tree will be bare and all your previous confidence and convictions may very well have gone, by March, it starts to get more colour as you get rebuilded and your confidence is reshaped and you gather pace and by the end of Summer it is in full bloom as you are all as good as we can make you and ready to face the future’. At the time I just rolled my eyes and believed it all to be poetic bollocks, but it really has been proving true. It has been so good to me to see the parallels you have had along your own journey and I am so proud and so excited to see all you feel you have achieved, all the worries you have overcome and how your enthusiasm just grows and grows. Your pictures amaze me, your stories intrigue me and I can’t wait to hear what the next step might be for you.

  14. Meenakshi on April 25, 2013 at 3:05 pm

    LOVED this post, Movita! Baking school is quite a roller coaster ride. It’s so nice that you had communications and entrepreneurship incorporated into the course.Those cinnamon buns in a pan look gorgeous (are those what they are?)

  15. rosiebeaucoup on April 25, 2013 at 4:39 pm

    A wonderful photographic journal of a year in the life of Movita Beaucoup

    • movita beaucoup on April 28, 2013 at 10:31 am

      With lots more excitement to come, Rosie B.!!

  16. Renee on April 25, 2013 at 9:26 pm

    So proud of you! Your future is bright, lady.

  17. cravesadventure on April 25, 2013 at 10:31 pm

    So CRAVING Baked Goods!!!

  18. Kim Beaulieu on April 26, 2013 at 12:39 am

    When I grow up I wanna be you. Lucky for you it’s likely I’ll never grow up. You had a delicious school year woman. I don’t think accounting school would have had the same oomph.

  19. Eggton on April 26, 2013 at 1:42 am

    We did it!! I am so proud. Please send me a copy of our diploma for my records.

    • movita beaucoup on April 28, 2013 at 10:31 am

      Will do. Also, I’ll send a copy of our portfolio, as we worked pretty hard on it…

  20. Natashia@foodonpaper on April 26, 2013 at 6:52 am

    It looks like such an amazing experience!! All those photos of food just delicious.. can you recommend a good all-round bread/pastry book?

    • movita beaucoup on April 28, 2013 at 10:35 am

      We used On Baking (Labensky, Martel, Van Damme) as our main textbook – it’s on Amazon, but pricy. We also liked using Reinhart’s The Bread Baker’s Apprentice for our breads. My Amazon wishlist has about a million titles on it – I’ve got to start testing!!

      • Natashia@foodonpaper on April 28, 2013 at 10:37 pm

        Oh cool, I’ll go have a look at those.. I’m obsessed with cooking books! I have a wishlist on Book Depository that takes up three pages :/

  21. shannon on April 26, 2013 at 8:29 am

    Serious face: you did SO incredible this year at baking school. Most people couldn’t have done all of that in a relatively short amount of time. Honestly, most people would have called it quits in the first few weeks because it was so difficult and emotional and just flat-out rough. but you didn’t; no. you picked yourself right up out of that mixer and look at everything you accomplished!
    Of course i am baking you a cake for graduation. If i was the sort of person who could do these things without people thinking i was crazy, i’d bake your cake and fly it up to you personally. (someday this will actually happen, an i consider this fair warning.)

    • movita beaucoup on May 8, 2013 at 10:46 am

      Aaaaaand I’m not even afraid of big mixers anymore!!

  22. birchbarksoap on April 26, 2013 at 11:31 am

    Awesome, awesome, awesome, awesome. I hope that your placement isn’t sick-inducing at all – in fact, even that it’s fun! 🙂

    • movita beaucoup on April 28, 2013 at 10:36 am

      I’m betting it will be super fun! I’ll be at Dobbit Bakehouse in Musquodoboit. The owner graduated from my program a few years back!

  23. Sharon on April 26, 2013 at 3:32 pm

    The baking school diet plan. Genius! Beats juicing by a mile, and the instagram updates are much prettier. Bravo to you and all your classmates!

  24. ironwoodfarm on April 27, 2013 at 7:35 am

    I’m exhausted reading and viewing all that you have accomplished these past 8 months…and WAY too intimidated, now, to bake you a graduation cake. Did you make that beautiful bird with its nest?
    How about I take you out for celebratory sushi instead?

    Have fun with the work term (and try not to piss them off by taking too many pictures – it can really cut down on productivity…or maybe not?)

    • movita beaucoup on May 8, 2013 at 10:47 am

      SUSHI! Let’s get on it!!

      (And I haven’t taken a single photo at the bakery. I hope you’re happy.)

  25. spree on April 29, 2013 at 1:51 pm

    Oh Rachael, I love this collection of photos!! Brilliant picture story-telling! What an incredible adventure you’ve been on…and what wonders are in store for you! So proud, and so inspired by you! xo

  26. musingmar on April 30, 2013 at 12:07 pm

    What a year! It’s breathtaking to see it fly by in all your photos. I’m so happy for you that you had the courage to step up and embrace this adventure.l It’s much easier not to change, but rewarding when you do. I can hardly wait to see what you get up to next!

  27. themessybakerblog on May 1, 2013 at 3:03 pm

    Look at all of those glorious baked goods. You should be so proud. Congrats, you’re a pro!

  28. broma bakery on May 13, 2013 at 11:38 am

    I love your baking school instagrams! And congrats on everything!!

  29. wendy@chezchloe on June 8, 2013 at 9:03 pm

    Being a visual learner – this photo storytelling suits me perfectly. It’s pretty damn cool to feel this good about you, whom I’ve never met, completing this year so successfully. The build up, the fear of the unknown and the known, trials and tribulations, on and on… Big accolades and I so look forward to the next chapter 🙂
    You’ve done such a lovely job sharing this journey.
    cheers… xo wendy

  30. movita beaucoup on December 27, 2015 at 7:16 pm

    Comments on this post are now closed as it was published in April 2013.