NTCC Culinary Arts: Friends & Family Spring 2014

NTCC Culinary Arts: Friends & Family Spring 2014

By Tiffany Young

I always mention my mom Chef Bren Young in my posts. She is a culinary arts instructor at Northeast Texas Community College in Pittsburg, Texas.

Last week, I finally got to see her at work and in action! She invited me to the school’s Friends and Family Night, where the students show off what they learned and then the ones graduating or getting their certificates get recognized in front of everyone.

Mom wanted to make sure I saw the behind the scenes, so she asked me to come a couple hours early. I’ll say the students must have been trained well, since there wasn’t a ton of running around left to the very end. Everything went off without a hitch and the desserts and food all tasted great!

My favorite things were the risotto balls and white chocolate bread pudding. However, the churros and the tiramisu were also great!

The sliders looked delicious, but unfortunately I don’t eat them. I felt really bad telling the students no to anything without meat since they don’t all know I’m pescetarian.

It’s inspiring to see my mom at a job that she loves, knowing that she went back for her culinary degree well into her 50s, when most people give up on trying new things, especially new careers. I know that the students respect her and they’re lucky to have such a great instructor. Her coworkers Chef Kat and Chef Reeves seem great to work with and I know they make a great team!

If you ever get the chance to go to one of their buffets, do! Or if you know of anyone in the Northeast Texas area interested in culinary arts, send them to They’ll learn a lot and have a great chance at an even greater career!

Happy Mother’s Day, Mom!

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Congrats to Chef Bren Young!

Bren Young with coworkers congrats

By Tiffany Young

It was such a big weekend, I’m going to have to break this into a couple of posts! But for starters, I must congratulate my mom, Chef Bren Young, for her second place medal in the Adult multitiered novelty intermediate cake. Last year she took third in the beginner’s division. This year she moved up a division and was shocked when she found more than 20 other contestants in her division with some really spectacular cakes. I can honestly say I think she was very surprised to hear her name announced. My mom became a chef in her early 50s. Became a pastry chef instructor just a few years ago. And made her first fondant cake just last year. Recently she has begun selling her cakes for birthday parties, specializing in novelty cakes for children, such as sock monkeys and some pirate I’ve never heard of, but who is popular with the young’ens. Her years of art classes and selling crafts have been great preparation for decorating cakes and each one gets better and better! Way to go! I can’t wait to see what you come up with next year!

A sweet Thanksgiving

By Tiffany Young


About a week ago I stopped eating bread, leading up to Thanksgiving. Everyone kept asking, “But why are you giving up bread?” You’ll see from the pictures below why it is necessary to cut back before visiting my parents for Thanksgiving.

My mom and I were a little bored after a few days of sitting on the couch, so we decided to frost a cake. After all, you can only watch so much TV in a long weekend (my brother would disagree, however). We took a break from watching “Breaking Bad” and made some butter cream frosting. The pictures and video below are the results of our hard work. The video has my mom saying we’re finished in 20 minutes, but really that was just to get a rise out of my  brother since we had said we’d only be 20 minutes and he watched at least one-and-a-half Star Trek shows during the time it took us to complete the cake.

Let me know if you have any questions about how to frost a cake and I’ll get my mom to share some tips!

Happy Thanksgiving!

Cupcake Wars Audition!

In September, my mom got a call from a casting director of Cupcake Wars asking her to make an audition tape for Season 8. She was a little overwhelmed and kept saying “I’m not ready, I’m not ready!” But I told her, “Yes, you are!” So, I drove six hours to Texarkana to help her with her video and here it is. If she gets on the show, I will be her assistant. We are hoping to hear back from them any day now. I have been practicing my baking skills just in case, because if we get on we will have to make a lot of cupcakes really fast! Enjoy!

Cupcake Wars Audition

Gaining 5 pounds in a weekend

Every time I visit my hometown of Texarkana I gain five pounds. I blame it on my mom’s cooking! Or maybe it’s that we watch a lot of TV AND my mom’s cooking. Either way, it happens. Last weekend, I went home to see my parents, since my dad had a hernia operation (which went really well).

My mom made homemade spaghetti filled with veggies, peach pie and quesadillas. Yum Yum!

Like I’ve mentioned before, she is a pastry chef instructor, so the lattice work was all done expertly at home—I’ll have to make a video of it the next time I go home to show everyone how easy she makes it look!

Anyway, I just wanted to show off some of the meals we ate and how cute her kitchen staples are, with chalkboard labels.

Have a great weekend!

Put Another Candle on My Birthday Cake

So, I turned another year older last week. Some people dread that day as they get older, but I take it with pride—I got to live another year? Beats the alternative! As we’ve noted, my parents came to Austin to celebrate with me.

The delicious birthday cake my mom made me.

We went to dinner at Technique Restaurant, the local culinary school’s training kitchen (review to come soon). When we got there they pointed us to a table and in the center what did we find? A beautiful pink cake!

My mom is a pastry chef instructor at North East Texas Community College in Mount Pleasant, where she teaches students all about baking breads, cakes and other desserts. So she surprised me with a homemade cake. And what I mean by homemade is not what most people mean when their mom makes them a cake!

This view shows the pretty buttercream ruffles.

This layered cake included vanilla, red velvet and then another layer of vanilla with red raspberry filling and buttercream frosting between each. Butter cream frosting also coated the outside in a beautiful design that reminds me of a pink, satiny dress.

Our waiter told us everyone in the back admired the cake as it was cut and we sent him with a piece of cake of his own. As we walked out of Technique two women stopped us to tell us how gorgeous the cake looked.

Everyone enjoyed the cake, me included, and I’m still eating leftovers!