The Spread: Gygi Culinary Arts Center

Gygi Culinary Arts Center

Preparing to teach Gygi’s hands-on kouign amann class, instructor Richard Port cuts two cubes of butter to create a 7-by-7-inch square. He places the butter in a 10-inch square of dough, then folds the dough over the butter. He rolls the dough out, folds the mixture, stretches the dough, and then lets it relax before repeating the fold twice more. “I knead it until it’s a nice smooth dough,” he says. It appears his labors are worth the effort—kouign amann is a heavenly dessert whose name means “butter cake.” From Brittany, France, the pastry is a denser version of a croissant, and is layered in buttery, flaky dough and a generous amount of sugar, according to Heather Smith, culinary director and great granddaughter of the founder of Orson Gygi Company.

When students arrive at the class, tools and supplies are ready at their stations. They don a Gygi apron, then roll the kouign amann dough a fourth time. “My students always make the dough by hand, so they know how it is supposed to feel,” says Port. “The fourth time, we roll the dough in sugar, instead of flour, and add a little La Fleur de Sel, an imported French finishing salt.” Students then cut the dough into 12 squares, bring each corner to the center and press them into sections of a large muffin tin that’s been buttered and sugared. They let the mixture rise before baking. “Once the hot air hits it, it creates steam and lifts it,” Port says. The finished kouign amann is a deep golden brown. To access it, “You have to turn the muffin tin upside down, because there is so much sugar, they would adhere to the tin if you let them cool,” adds Port. The finished kouign amann boasts a delicate crunchy top above a many-layered center.

Students take home their apron, six finished kouignoù amann, plus a ball of dough they have rolled twice. They receive a coupon for 10% off of Gygi products.

Gygi evolved from a restaurant supply store into a one-stop specialty shopping experience for anyone looking for anything for a kitchen. Port, who instructs the kouign amann class, specializes in nostalgic cookery—homemade candy canes, butter mints and sourdough breads. “If you didn’t grab these recipes from your grandmother, you can revisit them in our classes,” says Smith. With high-end appliances, top-of-the-line cookware, and experienced chefs who have a passion for cooking and teaching, Gygi’s goal “is to provide a truly enjoyable, entertaining, and educational experience for everyone who steps foot into our Culinary Arts Center,” Smith says.

Gygi Culinary Arts Center
3500 S. 300 West, SLC

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