Friday, November 11, 2005

Today's Exercise

Today was an interesting exercise--not my favorite kind of exercise, but interesting for all that. On my way to handball yesterday I checked the mail, and I found the letter informing me that I was not selected for the internship. This was not good news, as you might imagine. So I saw Chef Mary Lou (I forget what I dubbed her when we had her for gum paste flowers) in the locker room the way I usually do, along about 5:30 am, and I said yes, please do keep me in mind as an alternate, if you need that, and then we just talked about the whole thing a little. The thing about which I was worried is that the chefs don't think I'm sufficiently good at this--I prefer to be a member of the reality-based community, and if these guys think I'm foolish for wanting to do this, then I want to hear it rather than not. It would not be a pleasant conversation, but it would be useful information to have before I wasted any more time or money.

Anyway, Chef ML reassured me quite strongly--she told me the chefs think very highly of me, that there were a lot of strong candidates, etc. And, really, I do know how those things go. I'm sure I had a lot of strong support from Chef Bob (and I'll get back to him in a minute), and she said that Chefs Tom and Fred like my work, too, so I felt much, much better. I also know that the chefs take into consideration what they think a person should be doing next, given what the person's long-term goals are, and it's entirely possible that, when push came to shove, they thought I was better off doing something else next, rather than spending six more months with the program, essentially. So Chef ML said I should meet with the chefs, especially if there was one I wanted to meet with in particular; Chef Bob had just walked in the door and I nodded toward him and said I'd badger him next week. Without missing a beat, he said that I'm not badgering him at all, and, when he was wandering through our classroom later in the morning I asked if I could meet with him next week, and he said absolutely, pick a day.

So my exercise for today was to remain cheerful and helpful and so on, despite being sorely disappointed, and I managed to do that reasonably well, I think. I even volunteered for a stint Monday night at a charity thing (I'll stand around in my uniform, describing our pastries as people sample them), even though I'll get home late and the alarm will still ring at 4 am on Tuesday. I'd waited to see if anyone else would volunteer, but no one had, so I figured it wouldn't hurt.

We kind of had a free day today, so my partner and I made chocolate espresso tarts, I sent the pieces for the mille feuille (or howeverthefuck you spell it) home with her because her mom's in town this weekend, I tried to use the leftover puff pastry bits to make a candy (with chocolate, pecans, and hazelnut praline), but I need to work on the chocolate/hazelnut praline ratio, and we made ladyfingers with another new recipe from the chef. People made some interesting things--caramelized oranges, for example, were quite tasty. Monday we have Chef Bob for a week of advanced breads, and I'm looking forward to it. I do love breads. I have to find some bagel recipes so we can try one. I've got some pictures, too (although I cleverly deleted the only picture I had of the tarte tatin, and I sent that to work today with C):
The chocolate espresso tart:

The raspberry mousse that I'm not sharing:

The inside of the raspberry mousse:

The strawberry rhubarb with pistachio mousse (but without the crust and almond cream):


All of these, plus some leftover vacherin, a little chocolate bombe, a little chocolate hazelnut and banana pearl, all of the raspberry silk (with icky white chocolate mousse), and all of the black forest cake are now residing in one or another freezer or refrigerator. If I don't dispense with some of this soon, I don't know what will happen.

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