Wednesday, May 03, 2006

Next Up

I've been writing a post, but it's not a happy shiny one, and I haven't decided whether I want to put all that out there on the internets. My head continues to spin, in some ways, because I'm still dealing with a dry drunk, so we have festivals of denial, self-justification, rationalization, accusations, etc., when we try to get together, but, of course, it's all My Fault--if only I would make the decision to work things out, then we could make a go of it somehow. Ah, fuck it, I don't feel like writing about this tonight.

In other news, my boss, Jefe, is trying to convince me to compete for a spot on the team that would represent the US at the Coupe de Monde. It would involved videotaping myself making croissants; if, as a result of that video, I was invited to compete at the regional level, I would do that locally, where I would have eight hours to make three products; the regional winners compete at the national level for a spot on the team; the team itself practices for a year or so before the competition. Of course, I don't have any expectation that I could actually get to the top levels of this, so it's not like I have to really worry about the costs involved (which would be considerable). But competing at the regionals could be interesting, and my boss seems to think I could do it.

Yesterday, for example, another local pastry chef came in, bearing croissants for Jefe to examine. This other chef also went to the school I attended, albeit eight or nine years ago and he has his own shop, but Jefe isn't so impressed with him (even though this other guy apparently thinks they don't even need to bother holding the competition, as he's clearly going to win it). After the other guy left, I noodged and asked what was wrong with the other guy's croissants. Jefe grabbed one and showed how the dough was too stiff and didn't have enough surfaces showing to get through regionals, then grabbed one of mine and pointed out that it had four surfaces, the dough wasn't too stiff, etc. (By surfaces he means basically how many twirls in your croissant; I can't really explain it w/o pictures.)

So we talked some more--where would I practice, I asked. Well, I could make something each day in the bakery (and the bakery could sell the products), and then come in on Sunday when no one's around and do everything. (That means giving up one of my days off for the forseeable future.) I contemplated a ricotta filling that could be used in a pastry, and he thought it sounded good. He loves my croissants. Etc.

The real question is whether I can (a) move all my worldly possessions, (b) deal with the drama that is what's left of my marriage, (c) put together some kind of business plan, not to mention a plan for what I do next, and (d) put in the time necessary to do a good job in such a competition. Something would have to give on that list--and I really hate to give up all my free time, because my sanity depends on having some. On the other hand, Jefe went to France and beat the French, and he could (and would) teach me a lot. Something (else) to think about, eh?

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