Monday, August 22, 2011

How not to get yelled at by Chef: beat him to the punch...


11:30am  I'm having yeast issues.  oh wait, let me explain:

Elodie has been making Brioche for dessert.  For the Brioche, she uses fresh cake yeast instead of dry yeast.  I've never used the fresh yeast, but we only had enough dry yeast for 1 recipe of dough - and I needed to make 3 batches.  After 2 failed attempts at getting the yeast to bubble, my 3rd attempt finally took.  But again - just as I'm getting used to all the variables that are involved in making dough, something new has been tossed into the equation. Can't things be consistent? Ever?

I get my 30 doughs done in good time.  Things were moving pretty smoothly all day.

First Seating: it's always easier to plan for.  All the tarts that I assemble get fired and served within the same 30 minutes.

Second Seating: impossible to prepare for!  And anything that can go wrong does go wrong.  If the dough sits out too long, it softens and melts onto the cookie sheet... and sticks.  and the oven door opens and shuts so many times, that the temperature never stays consistent.  Some tarts get too golden - to the point of burning.  So I have to scrap those and fire new ones.

Chef comes to the back - wild-eyed, looking at the over-baked tart that is sitting on my cutting board.

But I'm already exasperated.  This is the 3rd week of making these onion tarts - why can't i get it right already?

Cue The Dramatic Monologue:
Me: Chef, I know as upset as you must be about these ruined tarts, I feel even worse! (There's now an audience of Chef, Krissy, Elodie, Joon & a couple of others)... I mean I put so much work into making the dough and rolling it out and all of the prep to get these in the oven.  And when we had the oven at 425, they weren't cooking fast enough, so we put the oven at 450 - and now they're burning.  And when I assemble the tarts too early, the dough gets stuck (I point at the previous "ruined" tart that we've already been snacking on)

... "So I'm incredibly frustrated by all this!  Why can't they just be consistent?"

Chef: Oh Sharon, Relax... Don't worry so much - it's OK.
Krissy leans in and gives me a consoling hug. 
Chef:  (continues)  If they burn, it's ok, the customer doesn't get it - we only send the good ones out, and your tarts are very good.
Me: But I hate waste... and (i'm stammering now)...
Chef: This is your first time working in a restaurant - you can't expect to know everything.
Me: It's been 3 weeks now of me doing the same thing.
Chef: your tarts are good.  you've been doing a good job.

Chef: your homework this weekend:  Meditate.  You need to meditate and take time to relax.

During this whole discussion, there's a tart in the oven.  It's now ready.  I pull it out:  perfection!  but there's no tart on order. 

There's just so much contradiction with Ludo... we need to have a "sense of emergency", and work fast - but then I'm concentrating so hard, trying to get everything right - and he tells me to calm down. 

Thank goodness he didn't yell at me.  He saw that my frustration was genuine - it's not like I'm slacking or not paying attention.  I'm just having a tough time with this balancing act.  I wish I could be more consistent. 

These 12 hour shifts are totally kicking my ass.  It's Monday morning and my hands are finally recovering - same with my arms.  That rolling pin makes for a serious workout. 

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