Monday, August 22, 2011

Up. Down. Up.

My learning curve tends to have bumps and dips along the way.  Like a roller coaster.

My 3rd week at LudoBites started off good.  Went terribly wrong.  Then picked up again. 

This is all behind the scenes, of course.  Everything that goes out to the front of the house looks like a well-oiled machine. 


A great day!  no dough disasters, no baking disasters, no panic... I almost did all the Onion Tarts myself... just a little help during the rushes. 

However Chef wasn't happy with the size of the tarts.  He wanted them wider.  The pasta maker is only so wide... that means back to the rolling pin. 

Chef: Tomorrow you start later - come in at 1 so you can stay later at night.

(I'm on the schedule from 12-8, but usually come in at 11:30, and stay past 9... these days are long)


I started at 1pm, as instructed.  The kitchen was now full and kinda crowded, my "happy zen place" was gone.  I like starting when no one is there... I'm relaxed and the dough reflects it.

But starting in a crowded kitchen, I wasn't as relaxed - and the dough came out tough... it was over-kneaded... I tried to let it rest... hoping that it would be easier to work with a little later... maybe the kitchen was too hot? 

Chef: If the pasta machine only makes the dough that wide (pointing to the strip i just rolled out) use the rolling pin.

I grab the pin & start rolling the dough, and I take him a sample.

The new size of the dough atop the breadboard the tart is served on.

Chef: Yes.  This is the size I want you to roll the dough out - every time.  Memorize this size.  Take a photo if you need, or use the board as your guide - but I want them all to be this size! 
Me: yes, chef... (and I snapped this picture).

Problem:  The dough is nearly impossible to work with.  It kept shrinking.

Chef is making me nervous again and time is ticking by.  We're getting closer to 5pm - which is when we're supposed to clean up and get ready for the dinner service. 

How many tart doughs are ready? about 15. 
How many do I need?  closer to 30. 

And I can't make another recipe of the dough because the KitchenAid is being used for the desserts. 

I was stressed. 
At least I wasn't alone.
The mean girl has turned a new leaf - she's helping me. 

Joon (who's responsible for my output - since I work at his station) is also there trying to roll out the dough with us - to get me to 30. 
Elodie finally frees up the KitchenAid and makes another batch of dough, and starts kneading - to get me something that's more workable. 

Chef: Are you going to be ready? How many do you have?
Me: About 22, chef... But we'll make it happen. 
Chef gives me a doubtful/worried look.  But I haven't stopped, and I'm not giving up.  I have no idea how many finished doughs we had in the end, but we didn't run out.  We had about 5 leftover to start with on Thursday, and half a ball of dough that Elodie made to divide and roll out. 

Chef was on fire today... "Expressing himself" loudly with just about everyone.  He wasn't really yelling at me since he saw how stressed I was.  He saw it on my face. Was it any consolation to me that the seasoned veterans who have worked with Ludo before also get yelled at?  Kinda.  But I don't like hearing anyone getting yelled at...

Joon:  tomorrow, roll out the dough with the pasta machine to level 4, then do the rest by hand.


They don't make KitchenAids in this color anymore...
11:30 - I like starting early, when no one else is there. I also brought my beautiful sea-foam green KitchenAid that I gave to my cousins (as I can't take it with me to Spain). 
I started making the dough - and now there's a second mixer - just in case...
The dough came out fine, I used Joon's advice & did the pasta maker/rolling pin combo. 

Thursday was a good day.  Chef was pleased with the tarts.  Since he made little to no comment during the day, I knew I was doing well... otherwise, it would have been nothing but criticism.  Things went smoothly for everyone, in fact. 

But then there was Friday...

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