Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Fran Costigan's Baking Boot Camp at Natural Gourmet Institute

I have to share the incredible 5 days and 40 hours of vegan baking boot camp at the Natural Gourmet Institute in NYC taught by the queen of vegan baking Fran Costigan. I had been eyeing this class for a couple of months and checked their calendar daily to make sure space was still available. The class is small and intimate allowing only 14 students, quite a few of which come from other countries, in fact two were chocolatiers from India and another from Finland, my gut was telling me to quickly enroll before I lost my chance. The class is only offered once this year and the timing couldn’t have been more perfect. As it turned out I was the last student, being number 14 to enroll. Talk about sweat at nearly cutting it too close. This is a reminder to myself that in the future I need to react and go for it.

Fran Costigan is a firecracker! She’s energetic and a perfectionist, thorough and informative and I especially love her ethical and wholesome approach to vegan baking. Everything is organic, natural and not loaded with sugar but especially delicious. Sure you don’t have to use organic or all natural for everything but it does present a superior quality and taste.

Days were started with demos and a smoothie or hot chocolate, lectures, followed by lots of hands on baking. We made all kinds of puddings including Indian and bread, cookies, drop cookies, fillings, creams, gel desserts, brownies, tarts, frostings without vegan butter or shortening, whip creams, streusel, cream pies, cupcakes, truffles, name it we did it. At the end of the day everything is beautifully plated on a long table and that’s when we sample them all, like 12 desserts everyday. By the end of day 5 there must have been about 100 dessert recipes tried and tasted, and 4 extra pounds later my head is swimming in sweet bliss. What especially made this class special were the other women sharing this experience along side me - the chemistry and energy couldn't have been better - we got along so well.

I left my professional camera at home because I didn’t want to be distracted taking photos but here is one cake made by my group.  This one is Chocolate Cake to Live for layered with fresh raspberry and coconut whip cream and another layer of chocolate cream frosting with chocolate ganache spilling over on top!!! OH YEH!!!!!!


  1. it is not just Fran all the classes in the Natural Gourmet use Mostly Organic foods. Also if they cant get organic they go to their local green market to support all the local farmers in the tri-state. I've taking the chef training program there and loved it. Also i worked many Public classes and i would say 95% percent of the classes were great. Check out when for when Peter B. Does a Bread Class.

  2. That's what i love about the school and why I have attended many of the classes there. I've also taken Peter's seitan workshop.


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