For some, a career in the kitchen is a choice. For Jordi Neudorf (Baker Apprenticeship 2021), it felt like destiny. “I’ve been baking with my mom my whole life,” says Neudorf. “Then, when I was in high school, one of my teachers pushed me to try the Skills Canada [career competition], which I did in Grades 11 and 12. That experience was really cool and made me realize that baking was a valid career option, and that was it for me.”
In 2018, Neudorf was one of the first students in the college’s inaugural class of the Baker Apprenticeship program, where she split her time between the college and working in professional kitchens. Her first stop was with a local cakeshop and then she went to work with Homestead Bakeshop in Fort Macleod, which has given her two different but complementary experiences.
In the Baker Apprenticeship program, “you learn the process and understand how to troubleshoot when things go wrong, so you can fix them next time,” she explains. “It’s also a full immersion into baking. You have to do bread, pastry and cakes, and then you also get to try sugar work or chocolate work that most people will never do in the real world, but it’s still really cool to make. Working here [at Homestead] has put me out of my comfort zone because they do go the extra mile here to make everything from scratch and they focus on making bread, which I don’t love making as much as other things, but now I can make a really good loaf.”
Neudorf passed her Red Seal exams in the spring and hopes to one day travel to get more experience before eventually opening her own bake shop. “The thing with baking is you never really have an unhappy customer, and I love that,” she says. “It’s fun, it’s creative, it makes people happy and it tastes good. And I’ve got a sweet tooth.”
Chocolate Hazelnut Cheesecake
1 1/2 c. hazelnuts, toasted and finely chopped
1 c. graham cracker crumbs
1/4 c. melted butter
4 8oz bricks cream cheese
1 2/3 c. sugar
4 tbsp. cornstarch
3/4 c. whipping cream
1 tbsp. vanilla
2 large eggs
1 1/2 c. Nutella or other chocolate hazelnut spread
3/4 c. milk chocolate
1/4 c. Nutella or other chocolate hazelnut spread
1/3 c. whipping cream
For the crust
1. Preheat the oven to 350F. Toast the hazelnuts in oven for about 20 to 30 minutes. While still warm, roll the hazelnuts in a towel to flake off the skin. Save a few of the prettiest ones to garnish with. Grind the rest in a food processor until fine.
2. Combine the graham cracker crumbs, chopped hazelnuts and melted butter together. Then press the mixture into the bottom of a nine-inch springform pan. Bake at 325F for 15 minutes.
For the cheesecake
1. Cream together the sugar, cornstarch and cream cheese until smooth. Slowly pour in the whipping cream, vanilla, and eggs, and mix until combined. Then add in the Nutella.
2. Line the sides of the pan with parchment, and then pour the cheesecake filling into the pan with the crust. Wrap the pan in two layers of tin foil and bake in a water bath (a second pan filled halfway up with water.)
3. Bake at 325F for about 1 1/2 to two hours or until done. It should look mostly set and have an internal temperature of 170F. Allow to cool completely at room temperature. Pour ganache over the top, and then refrigerate overnight.
For the ganache
1. Combine the chocolate and Nutella in a heat-proof bowl. Heat the cream on the stovetop until just simmering, ad pour over the chocolate. Let it sit for two minutes, and then stir until smooth.
2. Pour enough over the cheesecake to completely cover the top. Refrigerate the whole cheesecake overnight and garnish the next day with a chocolate drizzle and toasted hazelnuts. Enjoy!