Friday, January 06, 2006

So Nu?

In the past four days, I have worked for about 36 hours. I have had a total of 80 minutes for lunch breaks. I have had a hand in mixing or portioning (via machine) five kinds of muffins (chocolate, lemon poppyseed, cranberry pecan, blueberry, and bran); I mixed up oatmeal raisin cookies and portioned those and some chocolate chip cookies; I made a bunch of chocolate and vanilla shortbread cookies, and dipped part of each one in chocolate; I've had something to do with sweet dough several times (coffee cakes, cinnamon rolls, etc.); I sliced and bagged several trays of buns; I mixed and portioned (by hand--literally--we pick the batter up with a hand and squeeze it into the pan) banana bread; I added some stuff to the German chocolate cake filling; I lugged a 50-pound sack of cake flour up the stairs today (on my shoulder); and each day I've had a hand in the dough for the plain, almond, chocolate, and ham & cheese croissants. I've at least rolled and turned the dough each day, and Tuesday and today I cut them and egg-washed them and so on (with a lot of help from Johnny, who's the really nice Hispanic guy who's teaching me how to do the laminated doughs). I'm sure I'm forgetting a half-dozen things, too. I'm also going to get Johnny to teach me Spanish--he apologized today for how bad his English is, and I pointed out that it's better than my Spanish. I've tried very hard to help whomever rather than just stand around, and I hope people are noticing that.

I don't know whether I'd do everything the way it's being done at this place--I might use more butter and less shortening, for example, if I thought I could afford to do that, but that remains to be seen--but the products are good, they're made by hand, and they use a lot more "good" ingredients (real fresh eggs, fresh buttermilk, butter) than many places. Though I haven't done anything with the breads (except help the boss put some in the oven yesterday), they really seem to know their shit when it comes to bread. In short, I'm already learning a lot, and I absolutely love this place.

So: last night. Last night the place where C and I got married was having a "King's Day" celebration, with Chef Fred from my pastry school serving the king cake (if you find the bean, you're crowned king/queen). I twisted C's arm (okay, not that much) into going down there for dinner. I asked our server if Chef Fred was still there, and he went to check and came back and said that it wasn't Fred, it was someone named Bob? Well, of course it was Chef Bob who hooked me up with this job, so I told the server to tell the chef that a graduate was out there and to come say hi and so on. He did come out, and I got a big hug, and I told him how ecstatic I am with the job. He was really happy for me, and we had a nice little chat before he had to go cut king's cake; he said he'd come back to the bakery to visit. (He stopped in on Wednesday and left a note but didn't come into the back, much to the dismay of my boss and of me, for that matter.) It was just really cool to see him and to be able to tell him how well this is working out so far.

Next week I work Tuesday through Saturday (so no handball on Saturday, which sucks, especially since I haven't played in about three weeks, maybe longer). I don't know what I'll be earning yet, though; the boss headed out around 3 today to do some car-pooling or something, and he seemed to be in a rush, so I didn't want to stop him for that question. I'll catch him next week some time.


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