Thursday, December 31, 2009

Cheque Please

I'm done with 2009! Cheque puh-leez....although, I think I have already paid for this year, the bags under my eyes can attest to that. I'm done.

What a year it has been. I am thankful for it as 2009 was a challenging but great year for me but it wasn't a fab year for a lot of those close to me. I am happy it is over. I am feeling slight anxiety for the new year to come as I am sure it will be even more challenging and I haven't yet set out any concrete goals for myself. 2009 was clear to off debt, leave the corporate world, fully immerse myself in the industry, clear skin, be happy, some travel, move out. So much happened this year....I need to top it. Every year should get better, right? Hmmm....anxiety.

I have some ideas of the things I would like to happen and the things I would like to do. A lot of it mainly career driven and somewhat selfish but hey, it's about putting yourself first right? Being happy so that you can project happiness to others. I have a lot of thinking to do between now and midnight so I will bid you Adieu and check in with you in 2010.

Thanks for a good one....Cheers.

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

petit four days off

I have four days off. So far I painted my nails, slept in, baked a little, did laundry and played with a puppy and my friends. Awww...the simple things in life are so nice sometimes. Two more days and then back to my reality.

Friday, December 18, 2009

Bitter Sweet

Today is the last day of my Chef. He resigned as Executive Pastry Chef to become a full time teacher at the college. He is and will continue to be a wonderful and inspiring chef. He will succeed as a teacher because other than being talented in the kitchen, he is also charismatic, charming and someone who genuinely cares about his students and the future of the pastry industry. I wish him the best of luck and will miss him dearly.

Dear Chef,

I am so very proud of you. What a difficult decision to make but I am confident that you made the right choice for yourself at this moment in your life. How lucky the college is to have a teacher and chef like you. Your students will benefit immensely from your skills and knowledge. You are a huge reason why I am doing what I love today. Thank you.

As a student of yours two and a half years ago I was inspired to take a passion to the next level. You didn’t have to, but you invited me to your workplace to see at what a professional kitchen looked like. I am greatful for that and the many conversations that we have had about the culinary industry, restaurants, food and pastries. Your mentoring and countless answers to all my questions helped me take a leap of faith. I owe that to you as well as giving me the opportunity to prove myself in your kitchen. I hope I make you proud.

Working under you has helped me to respect ingredients, simplicity and traditional methods while embracing new trends and techniques. I am happy that you have showed me a level of standard and consistency this early on in my career. These are things which I will take with me wherever I go and continuously work on to perfect.

I will miss your sudden outbursts into song (usually with your own lyrics), the pokes in the ribs and your macarons (I would still like a private lesson, thank you). I will also miss your frantic manner when you see inconsistencies or flaws in our department. As I rolled my eyes many times (sorry Chef), I also had a huge amount of respect for your need for us to continuously improve. We are a tight knit group because of you, a Pastry Family. I don’t think many exist in the industry.

I value our friendship and our professional relationship. I know we will be in touch and I hope to have the opportunity to work with you again. Maybe one day, many years down the road I can return the favour and you can work for me? LOL! :)

With that being said, je vous souhait le meilleur au monde, je vous aime beaucoup et je suis tres fiere de vous.

Vous me manquez déjà.

xoxo Sam

Friday, December 11, 2009


The last few weeks have been...well...hectic, crazy, fun, exhilarating, exhausting, exciting and...draining.

I've been working like mad. The holidays are a busy time, even more so if you work in the food industry. It's amazing how many parties and events I've been apart of yet have not attended. Work has seemed to monopolize all of my time and energy. I moved this week, apparently. I still have tons of things at my old place that are not even packed. I have no idea when I will be able to pack my shit. Oh man, not complaining....ok, maybe a little but this is the life that I have chosen and I DO love what I do.

Sixty plus hours a week and only one day off in over a month and a half is what's been going on. I think I've reached the point where I am not as productive. I find myself sometimes unfocused and slow. I do need to rest but how do I tell my employers that I cannot be there at their busiest time ever, when they really need me and I used to beg for hours during slow times? How? And come January, when it's slow I'll be scraping for nickels and dimes. - You just don't! Ten more days until a day off.

I've burnt out. That's done, but this is what keeps me going:
  • I love what I do
  • I adore a lot of the people I work with
  • the vibe in the kitchen
  • the madness and chaos that patrons do not see
  • hugs and kisses
  • the sense of pride when I create something delicious and beautiful
  • pride
  • being a part of a team that is going through the same intensity
  • the hope that I will learn something new
  • the hope that my effort and dedication will lead me to a better place
  • butter, sugar and chocolate - come on now!
  • useless yet amusing banter of cooks and chefs
I don't need to keep reminding myself of why I do what I do, I feel it in my heart every day that I wake up. No pain no gain, right? Well I definitely feel the pain.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

taking it off

I'm taking it off. One day next week.

I need a day off. It can't come quick enough. I'm tired but please, don't get me wrong, I am not complaining. I am loving waking up everyday and having to go to work. What a feeling. Even though some days at work are good, some are bad, some are challenging, all are rewarding to me.

I need a day off. Not really cuz I want one, but because I know I need one. I'm getting cranky a little bit...sorry to those who I've been cranky towards. You probably deserved it anyway but I would have normally bit my tongue.

I need a day off. Just one. If I have more than one I would probably go crazy and die of boredom. And I would suffer from baking withdrawal.

The last couple of weeks have been insane. So lovely! The old job is great as always, getting busier and busier. The new job is busy busy busy. If only I had more days in the week I would work full time at both places and enjoy one day off.

Saturday, November 14, 2009

A year ago...Today...What's next?

I woke up today with a sense of excitement. I love my life.

So much can happen in a blink of an eye, let alone a year.

Last year was my first day as a Pastry Cook. November 14, 2008. I started my new part time job that evening, after a full day at my office job. I was ecstatic. I remember not actually doing much that night. I think I made a batch of bran muffins and replenished the stock in the cafe. It wasn't much but it was a start. I was happy.

Today marks a year of me as a Pastry Cook. What's different today is that pastry is not a part time gig anymore. It is my career. Aside from working part time at the AGO, I am also working part time (with full time hours, might I add) at the Distillery District. It has been so for the past three weeks. I am having fun.

Today is also important because it is my last day of the last class that I need to get my Baking Certificate. I am officially done! Woo Hooo!! I am so proud of myself.

I couldn't have spent today in a more fitting manner. I went in to work at my new job for a couple of hours since they were in a bind. I then took off for school and completed my last day. I then returned to work to help prep for that evening and the next day's brunch service. There was a lot of work to do. Yes I was tired but it is amazing what you will cope with when you love something and when you enjoy what you are doing.

I am exhausted right now but I feel this overwhelming sense of accomplishment today. I can't sleep, I am wired and emotional. I wonder what I will be writing about on November 14, 2010??

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Down and Up-dates

It's November, I know. I haven't written in a very long time. Things have happened. Here's my update:

  • Quit my office job
  • Had high hopes for a very busy fall in the kitchen, as was suggested by my chef, but it wasn't as busy as everyone anticipated
  • Was working part time...meaning 1-2 shifts a week, sometimes 3
  • Cleaned my room, de-cluttered
  • Packed my cook books, getting ready to move
  • Had way too much time on my hands but it was ok since I needed a bit of a break, plus, my bff is back in town so we spent some good QT and catch-up (meaning video games, food and drinks)
  • Tried to save money and not spend too much
  • Started my last two classes for my Baking Certificate: Breakfast Breads and Cakes: Classical to Modern
  • Bored...getting lazy
  • Looked for another job
  • Did a stage in the Distillery District

  • Volunteered at a couple of cool industry events
  • Worked a few days here and there
  • Getting more bored...lazier
  • Took a trip out to Chicago to visit my bffjmyobfb
  • Started to work 6:30 am shifts for a week and a half
  • Parties! Parties! Parties!
  • Started working at the Distillery District

November 1st to today

  • Splitting my time between both jobs and school
  • Learning a shit load of things
  • Loving both jobs and school
  • Circadian rhythm is all screwed up, tired
  • Bags under my eyes, feet hurt
  • Face hurts from smiling too much
  • ....but happy and excited for all things to come!

Saturday, September 12, 2009


What the f*ck? Can someone please explain to me why our pot holders/oven mitts have sl*ts and ho*es in them? I'm sure it's not to hang them as the sl*ts are big enough that you can stick your whole arm through them. Seriously? Why?

Ok, I know they are there and I am usually pretty careful about positioning the ho*es so my hands are not exposed, but come on! When you are trying to flip 10 trays of cookies quickly so that they don't's bound to move. You're most likely not going to notice until you feel the sizzle in your brain that tells you it's too late "you are holding on to a hot tray with your bare thumb." It happens. It happened. Looking down I saw my fingers all neatly and safely tucked under the oven mitt as my thumb peeped through the ho*e, gripping on to the tray. Mother f*cker....that hurt.

I tried not to scream but man that hurt. In the kitchen world, these things are child's play. It's like what paper cuts are to an office worker, but trust me, the pain is much more severe.

Anyhow, as I flipped the last tray of cookies around, thinking of how I was going to run into the freezer and hold onto a pork chop to ease the pain, my forearm was seared by the oven rack. How nice. Can't blame that one on any sl*ts or ho*es.

Friday, August 7, 2009

Doing IT

"Regret for the things we did can be tempered by time; it is regret for the things that we did not do that is inconsolable" --S.H

Sunday, August 2, 2009

My Guilty Pleasure: Porn

FOOD PORN, that is.

I know I'm not alone here, and at least it doesn't harm anyone. I can take my materials in public without people thinking I'm a pervert as my eyes widen and my mouth salivates while flipping through my beautifully illustrated books on pastries and desserts. Every so often I will let out a sigh or giggle with excitement as I see a coloured picture of a gooey, warm, gorgeous tart. Y'all know what I'm saying?

On my bookshelf you will find countless cook books, magazines, dvds, and books on chefs, cooks and kitchens. Look under my bed and you will find a stash of Bon Appetite, Food & Wine, and articles on food.

I don't read romance novels however I am totally engrossed by non-fictional books on the lives of chefs, how kitchens are run and the history of food. Most of those books are so well written that each scene is illustrated only through words, no pictures, however I can vividly see what's going on and in some cases almost smell and taste what they are making.

I have so many cookbooks. Some of which I haven't even cracked open yet I continue to add to my collection. Some people buy handbags or sneakers....I buy cook books. The only problem I see here is that I never have time to cook recipes from most of them. I tend to stare at the pictures, read over ingredients, study the method and then daydream of someone who I would share this meal with and how happy it would make them.

Food makes me happy.

On that note, I need to get some.

Tuesday, July 28, 2009


Today I did what I kept saying I would do. I took action for a major change in my life. I have decided that I would commit to my passion and put in a fair effort towards what I really want to do.

Today I submitted my letter of resignation to my office job. Who knew that just seven sentences could bring peace in my mind. Who knew that the same seven sentences could bring an anxious excitement for the future. Who knew?

Why would one leave a decent paying job with benefits and perks for a job in an industry that is physically demanding, inviting a lifestyle that is far different from your nine to five. I have been talking about leaving this job for a while now, partially because I was unhappy there, and partially because my passion laid elsewhere. I suppose that even if I was happy at that job I would have left anyhow as passion, in life and love, steers one in making decisions that can be risky and put one in a vulnerable state.

I found my passion. It took a while but I found it and it feels right. I can't tell you how right it felt to hand in that letter today.

Friday, July 17, 2009

I miss it

I went from going full speed to 0. I haven't worked in the kitchen in a while. It has been 3 weeks now. It's been slow and my hours are cut.

At first it was ok, I needed a bit of a break as I was working way too much between the two jobs. I probably could have done with a week off. Now, it is devastating. I can be dramatic at times, sure, but it is. I miss the kitchen. I miss baking and plating and watching and waiting and listening. I miss the physicalness of the tasks and the heat in the kitchen. I miss the industrial size equipment and the huge boxes of butter and jugs of vanilla. I even miss the annoying buzz of the ovens.

What to do....hmmm....

My best friend is in town for a bit so I've been hanging out with her, that's a plus. I've also been able to cook more at home, that's kinda nice too. Sleep has been more consistent and I have been able to put on make up and get my nails done. I haven't had nail polish on since before November. I miss that, but I'd give up nail polish any day to bake. I'd also compromise sleep too.

I can't wait until things get busier.

In the mean time, here's a picture of a meal I made. Baked salmon with parsley and lemon, and broccoli and mushroom with garlic and butter. Yummmmy!

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Fostering Growth

(Photo courtesy of Chef Muriel)

I feel good. I just got home from working at an off site event that featured Ontario VQA wineries and local chefs that support local food. Our Executive Chef Anne Yarymowich, Pastry Chef Christophe Measson, Muriel and I were there. I was supposed to work in the restaurant but it was not scheduled to be very busy so I was asked if I wanted to join them at this event. It was that or a night off....I said yes - of course.

Other than being in the presence of unlimited food and wine, I was very happy to be in the presence of people whom I admire and who I believe appreciate me. Here I am being given the opportunity to experience different things in an industry which I love and these people are thanking me? Our evening ended with them saying how great it is that I am able to be exposed to all these different events and how they are happy that I came. I love this job! To me they are inspiring, they are motivating. Like I've said before, I make mistakes and will make many more. I am however not fearful to go through that process as I know that these people want me to learn and they foster growth in their teams.

What a world of difference from some other jobs.

Monday, June 15, 2009

Curvacious Learning Curves

I've got so much to learn. I am reminded of that everyday. It doesn't make me upset for the most part, it actually excites me. I do get frustrated however as I make mistakes but I am happy when I learn from them. The times I am most frustrated is when I know better, should have known better or make the same mistake twice. I don't want to talk about it, so don't ask!

I have been working more and more in the kitchen. In fact, I have been working close to 40 hours a week there on top of my full time job. I am tired but enthused. Am I 100%? I wish I was. Chef asked me that question and I said 'yes!" I soon realized that I wasn't as it was taking me a while to get focused.

In a job like this you need to be focused. You need to be efficient. You need to be quick and smart and good. I will be focused. I will be efficient. I will be quick and smart and good. I will be GREAT!

Working on the line of an open kitchen is slightly stressful. Diners can see you, some even stand there and watch you. If you make a mistake, you have to play it cool. I was plating a dessert and I was trying to make a straight line of sour cherry reduction from a squeeze bottle. I'm usually good at that stuff but this particular afternoon I was having some difficulty. (I was not 100%). My straight line of cherry reduction looked slightly shaky. As I kept obsessing and wiping the plate, attempting-obsessing-wiping....the executive Chef was watching me "it looks fine Sam" she said. I thought she was just trying to be nice but she explained to me what she thought. When things look too perfect they look manufactured, not hand made. In this kitchen we make all of our products. They are little works of art. They are artisanal and should look artisanal. I like that concept and I agree with it. (But sometimes I still find myself obsessing over little things that most may not notice. Maybe I do that in many aspects of my life.)

I work tomorrow night. I'm hoping to learn something new.

Saturday, June 6, 2009

Oui Chef

Chef Christophe is featured in the Dine.TO website.

What a great article about him. He only wanted his photo taken if his whole team was there which means that I am in the photo too!!!


Check out the link:

Thursday, May 28, 2009

I'm still not used to:

*the very unflattering checkered clown like pants that look the same even when you wear them backwards
*burnt finger tips
*batter on my elbows
*not licking my fingers
*not checking my emails every hour
*having dry hands from washing them ALL the time
*short nails and no nail polish
*not eating and tasting everything - mmmmm.....pastries!
*walking into a freezer - it's damn cold
*the amount of salt used in food
*the annoying noise of the oven timer buzzing every 7 minutes or so

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Taking notes....

Say what? Say what? Say what?

Ya ya ya....I'm studying. Well actually, taking notes from a text book I bought in January. I've held it off a little too long but I guess late is better than never. The text book is called 'Baking and Pastry - Mastering the Art and Craft' from The Culinary Institute of America. It was recommended to me by a pastry chef who teaches at the college.

I've spoken to many chefs who have told me that I do not necessarily need to take the professional courses to become a successful pastry chef. What I need is concrete experience in the kitchen. Makes sense...ya! However, I wanted to compliment my concrete experiences by learning some theory at the same time. I think it will make me feel more confident to have additional knowledge. I need that - confidence and additional knowledge!

After this text book, I have another one that I will attack. Oh man...

Friday, May 8, 2009

at your service...

Tonight I worked my first night at the restaurant. When Chef called me this afternoon I thought that I was needed to work an event at the banquet kitchen again.

I was a bit nervous and he could tell. The restaurant was full and there were a couple of parties going on. It was one of their busiest nights. The kitchen at the restaurant is an open concept where by all the guests seated around can see you and everything you do. Oh geez....I was kind of feeling a bit of stage fright. Again, being in a new environment I felt uncoordinated. Even though Chef showed me where everything was I still needed some time to get into the groove of things. That kitchen is a hell of a lot smaller than the production kitchen in which I work. The restaurant's pastry station is in the corner, big enough to take one step back and one to the side. That's it. I was responsible for five desserts and the cheese platter. I had some help but FRANKly, I think I did a good job! It was a nice feeling to have Chef trust me to be there. He also asked me to work tomorrow night. I cannot wait.

Thursday, April 30, 2009

April showers don't phase me. I love my Job!

My job in the kitchen that is...It's been a while since I've felt that.

It's been a hectic last couple of weeks. This morning I felt ill. No, I don't have a cold or the flu. I felt sick because I had to call the banquet chef to tell her that I could not make it for my shift due to a crisis in my other job. As I dialed the number, I felt the acid in my stomach creep up into my throat. You see, I had committed to a shift to help out for an event however, the office that I work at during the week had relocated and the move didn't go so smoothly. It was my fault. I should not have agreed to work this shift during moving week. Moves are always hectic and something unplanned almost always happens. I just couldn't resist this shift however. I really do love it. I had called my friend at 8 am to see if she would take my shift. I was desperate not to disappoint but she could not work. Damn it..... So I made the call to cancel and had to speak to my Chef as the Banquet Chef was not in just yet. "If I can, I will come in." That's how I ended it. That's all I had. The anxiety stayed with me all day long. As it turned out, I was 3 minutes late. I made it afterall.

I couldn't imagine a better Thursday night...Shucking oysters and making Kobe beef tartar. (And tasting it too, of course.) Although my body hurts, I feel really good. It's amazing what you can and will endure when you enjoy something. Working seven days a week is not so bad afterall...

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

I'm having Fun but I'm Pooped

For the most part I've been working 7 days a week for the last little bit. I have had a random day off once or twice, but honestly...I don't remember them so they don't count. Last week was a crazy one. I am still trying to catch up with some sleep. These days I catch 10 minute snoozes where ever I can. On the bus, in the waiting room at the doctor's office, in the lunch room and uhhh....sometimes at my desk.

On Thursday night I helped the banquet team with a huge event. It was so massive it was even called the 'Massive Party.' So I worked the full day at my office job then rushed over to the gallery to help out. I think everyone and anyone was working that night. It was a party for about 1800 guests. There was an open bar so needless to say, we had to have a significant amount of food for all these drunken folk. The menu consisted of appetizers, of course. There were mini grilled cheese sandwiches made with brioche and white cheddar; jerk chicken roti; spicy shrimp; mini bison burgers; frites with mayo and a spicy pear ketchup; mushroom risotto balls; mini buttermilk crepes with a horseradish sour cream and pickled beets; cuban sandwiches made with roasted pork, avocado and chipotle spread; churros con chocolate; shortbread and dulce de leche cookie sandwiches; and fruit skewers. Everything was so tasty! There were so many people, so much food and not enough wait staff. Apparently, people loved the food so much that they were waiting by the kitchen doors for it to come out. (Either that or they were super drunk and hungry. Maybe both)

I enjoy working banquets. The energy and rush is so much fun. I'm not quite sure what working in a restaurant during service is really like but I'm assuming it's that same sort of adrenaline kick. I love it when I can get in a zone and 4 hours pass by in a flash. There comes a point when your body and instincts take over and everyone around you seems to be going at full speed along with you yet things are running smoothly. I'm beginning to catch on to the lingo - it feels good to understand what's going on :)

I was told to take a break and walk around the party to see what was going on. It was quite a spectacular event. I almost didn't want to since I was having so much fun in the kitchen. Jeff the Chef took me out for a walk. He needed a break too so we went around the different exhibits and saw the chaos that 1800 drunk people can cause.

So that night ended at 2 am. I didn't get home until about a quarter to three and I of course was wired out of my mind.

Friday evening I helped my friend Juanita with 50 mini wedding cakes.

Juanita is a phenomenal cake designer so I was super honoured when she asked me to help her out. We met at George Brown College at a Basic Baking class. Our workstations were side by side however we had different partners. Although my partner was a riot, I would have wanted to work with her. I think we have similar standards when we create. It was a busy night. Who knew those beautiful little pieces of art would take us to 3 am? I can't wait until next time I work with Juanita.

Sunday, March 29, 2009

Bloody Blood Oranges

Mmmm....Blood Oranges. I think I have at least one once a week while working in the kitchen. They are so vibrant in colour. I love it when you can see the marbling of orange and red and purple. It looks like someone stabbed a knife into it's juicy rind and cut the fruit's vein and it started bleeding - hence the name Blood Orange.

One of the desserts we serve at the restaurant is a lemon chiboust with blood orange segments. I was segmenting blood oranges for this. To segment oranges you need a really really sharp knife. I was using a sharp knife when a couple of my colleagues handed me what they thought were better knives to use. They were right. The boning knife was super sharp, nice and thin. It sliced that bitter skin off like a hot knife through butter. It wasted no pulp whatsoever. It definitely helped me work quicker and made my life easier. Well, up until the point when I used the knife to flick off a tiny piece of pith that was still stuck on the orange and as I flicked, the knife nicked my fingers and I started to bleed. Waaahhh :( Ok ok. It really was not that big of a deal as you can see in the picture. It is basically like a deep paper cut. As I went to get a bandage, one of the cooks was working by the first aid drawer. He helped me get the bandage and that stupid finger condom that would not stay on. As he was doing that, he showed me all his battle wounds. I swear, the cuts and burns he had were kind of scary.

Anyhow, I survived. Of course no blood contaminated any of the fruit that was going to the restaurant. I cleaned the knife and my workstation. Ate the blood orange that I was working on while I cut myself. And continued on like nothing happened. I only hope that I don't get any cuts worse than that. Owweee!

Sunday, March 22, 2009


Today is Sunday, a beautiful one at that. I was just reflecting on some things I've learned either through experience or from what people have told me along the way. Thanks for the advice and tips, I've truly taken them to heart. Here's some of the things I've learned about working in the industry:
  • set up your work station so that you work fast and efficiently
  • work hard, fast and neat
  • always fold your rags neatly on the table
  • write down your mistakes and failures so that you learn from them
  • write down your successes so you remember how you did it correctly
  • stand up straight
  • don't waste
  • ask questions if you don't know
  • don't be shy - you must be assertive to work in this environment
  • speak up!
  • take care of your hands, they are your life
  • sometimes things don't always have to be perfect, sometimes it's part of it's charm
  • if there's an imperfection, I call it 'rustic'
  • help others
  • maintain consistency
  • practice, practice, practice
  • you don't really understand something until you have done it 100 times
  • don't over mix
  • after your shift, get your chef whites for your next shift ready so that you are prepared
  • put things back from where you found it
  • no guts, no glory
  • the days are long and the hours are never ending
  • network and do not burn your bridges
  • get out of the way
  • sacrifice
  • taste it
  • have fun, that's what it's all about
So that's just some of the things I've learned. I'll update the list along the way but for now I'm going to go and enjoy my Sunny Sunday.

ps: Here's a picture of the Pastry team I work with. They are all different characters and all very talented. I am lucky to work with them.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

tossing my cookies

I love making cookies, don't get me wrong. It's just that I would like to do other things as well.

On occasion I make scones from start to finish. Making scones are a delicate process. I only get to make them sometimes.

It seemed like for the most part however cookies were the only thing I was doing....chocolate chunk cookies, oatmeal pecan cookies and ginger molasses cookies.....make, scoop, shape, freeze, bake, serve.....every weekend.....It's time consuming. The batches of cookie dough fit in a large bucket. I usually have a couple of buckets to do.

I know I need to pay my dues. It's part of the process - I get it. I'll do the cookies but please let me do other things too! A chef once told me, 'you don't really understand something until you've done it a hundred times.' I really like that thought. I think about it almost every time I am in the kitchen learning new things. I think about it a lot when I am making cookies. Now, does 100 times mean 100 buckets of cookie dough? I've made thousands of cookies at this point, so I'm gonna count the cookies and not the buckets or else I'm screwed for a while.

So I finally spoke to Chef. I was hesitant at first because I did not want to complain nor seem ungrateful for the lessons bestowed unto me however I decided to say something because I needed him to know that I wanted more out of this experience. I am here to learn and develop my skills, not to pass the time or just make some extra cash.

I finally had a moment alone with him and the conversation lasted about a minute. I asked. He acknowledged, explained, apologized and said he'd make things happen. I trust him. I'm ready :) I can't wait for my next shift!

Tuesday, February 17, 2009


I walked into the fridge on Saturday. There was a bucket labeled 'FUCK DAT.' I nearly pissed my pants laughing.

Sunday, February 8, 2009

An unexpected Sunday

I initially had the day off but that's ok. I love my job as a pastry prep cook even if I make, scoop and shape hundreds of cookies a day.

There was a hustle and bustle in the kitchen. It's an energy that I feed off of. Today, there was a Slow Cooking Movement dinner taking place at the restaurant. I wasn't officially part of it but my chef invited me to 'come and see' after my shift. Three Chefs were invited to make both savory and sweet courses featuring local farmers' ingredients: grains (spelt) and eggs (duck). So sure enough after I completed all my tasks, cleaned up my workstation and did my last rounds to the cafés and members' lounge, I ran up to the restaurant to see what was going on. I ended up helping out (even if it was just to hold trays and count plates). I missed some pretty exciting-sounding plates but was able to try the desserts.

So as the night ended and I was changing out of my chef whites, we were informed to join the crew at the restaurant for some drinks. After the week I had, and having some plans fall through I would have been crazy not to take that offer.

There sat the Executive Chef, her Sous, the Pastry Chef (my boss) and a hand full of cooks and chefs eating left overs and sipping on what seemed to be an unlimited supply of wine. Conversations with this crowd as you would imagine tends to be about food, eating, drinking, restaurants and anything and everything associated with it. I was amazed to see what a close knit industry this was. I found it somewhat intimidating at first as everyone was speaking about this chef, that chef and where they were cooking and what they were cooking. It was however also very exciting to see movement and growth in the industry as well as support for peers and former workmates. These people are real people. I associate best with real people.

I love being in the presence of like minded folk. I love being in the presence of chefs and cooks. I love to listen to their stories and experiences. I love to imagine myself with their talent. I feel ok that I want to explore different restaurants all the time. I feel reassured that I am in the right least on this specific Sunday evening.

Sunday, February 1, 2009

Dough! Doh!

Today I had a day off so I baked.

I am taking a bread class this semester. There's just something about freshly baked bread - all warm and crusty and yummy. It's one thing to make the stuff in the baking labs - guidance is readily available when needed, there is access to industrial equipment, there is tonnes of room and the facilities to bake 100 loaves of bread at the same time. At home, I have my gorgeous Kitchen Aide and an oven. I also have other top of the line tools care of my days working at Williams Sonoma.

Two weeks ago in class we made an oatmeal bread. It was a really hearty tasting bread, slightly sweet and earthy. Probably one of my favorites to date. I therefore attempted to make it at home. I was quite pleased with the way it turned out at school for the exception that I think I scored the bread too deep and the instructor left it in the proof a little too long (she said so herself). It still tasted fab, but it looked slightly amusing...and although I thought it had character, I was not that amused. (see photo to the left) Today, on a precious day off, I planned to redeem myself. My homemade oatmeal bread rocked. I encountered another problem along the way though.....

As smart as I am, uhmm, I can on occasion make a silly decision. I put all four loaves in the oven at the same time. I don't think the air in the oven was circulating much with all that dough. I took the bread out too soon and needed to cook it much longer. How do I know if the inside is fully cooked? I don't think the toothpick in the cake trick would work. In any event, I put them back in for a while longer. Everything worked out in the end (see photo to the right).


Saturday, January 31, 2009

Muffin Tops

Just because I make muffins, doesn`t mean I need to sport a muffin top.

Monday, January 26, 2009

mise en place

I've decided that before I can create more adventures, I need to weigh things out and get everything in order.

So I'm 30 and loving it however, I need to get my 'mise en place.' I need to prep myself before I can successfully move forward in this industry. Last year, I made some goals. Entering the culinary world was one of them. Well here I am. As of November 14, 2008 I have been inducted into the culinary world. I was hired as a Pastry Prep Cook. It has been, one of my proudest moments (fromageux, je sais). I only work in the kitchen part time on the weekends for now and I am absolutely enjoying it!

I have already started my 'mise.' I am almost done my baking certificate and I own a Kitchen Aide...a red one for that matter (if nothing, at least I'll look good standing next to it - red is a good colour for me). Working in the pastry department, even if only part time is part of it too. I want to learn. I am keen and eager to learn from these talented chefs I work along side. I hate making mistakes. It frustrates me but I believe that some mistakes are meant to happen. They act as a guideline of what not to do, so long as you learn from them. I've already made some mistakes in the kitchen and you can be sure as hell that I will not do those things again! I want more experience baking.

Should I enroll in more professional patissier classes? Should I leave my cushie and uninspiring 9-5 job to do this full time? Or maybe I can work several part time pastry jobs? I figured if I blogged, I would be able to think out loud and track my progress.

I need to plan out my year. I need to set new goals. I need to put things in place. I need to get my mise on!