Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Labels

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 caf├ęs 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 place...at 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).

Doh!