A Day in the Life
And just like that, it’s the middle of March. Double digits count as the middle, right? I don’t know where the time is going, but clearly I’m not too good at documenting it. Every time I see one of those “how to be a better blogger” posts, it includes one crucial rule: consistency is key. Here I figured my blog never took off b/c I don’t have a sassy signature. I think I’ll try that out on today’s post, so heads up for that.
Some of my favorite blog posts to read are the typical “day in the life” of the blogger. What can I say, I’m nosy. I never thought my life was interesting enough to write a post like that, but then two things occurred to me: 1) half the posts I write aren’t interesting for my readers; 2) this is my blog so I can write whatever I please, DGAF/YOLO/sorrynotsorry.
If you’ve always wanted to know what goes on in the kitchen of a pastry chef, you’re in luck. I mean, I share the kitchen w/ my boss, the pastry chef, so I kinda know what’s going on.
My shift is technically 7am-3pm, but when the trains decided halfway through January to screw over everyone in the vicinity of Boston, I started leaving earlier to avoid being late. The habit stuck w/ me, so I end up getting to the restaurant right around 6am. I change into my kitchen pants and jacket in the locker room and then open the doors to the basement kitchen, which includes unlocking the freezers and walk-ins. Pastry has our own kitchen, which is bomb dot com. Seriously, not having to compete for space and tools w/ the prep cooks all day is pretty awesome. So I’m in our area by 6:10, most likely preheating the oven to get the crème brulees baking. Brulees get baked anywhere from 3-5 times in my work week, depending on how busy we are. We’re in the middle of restuaurant week, so our la carte items aren’t selling as much as usual, which means we can lay off the brulee an extra day or two.
After getting the brulees in the oven, it’s time for inventory. Being an incredibly organized and efficient person, I love that we do daily inventory to monitor what we have, what we need to keep an eye on, what is a priority to make for service tonight. That being said, I don’t love taking inventory every morning. The restaurant has two floors, both which need their pastry station accounted for. Then there’s the pastry kitchen and the reach-in refrigerator and ice cream freezer in the prep kitchen....in the basement. Basically, it’s a lot of space to cover. We keep it neat in our kitchen and fridges, but the stations upstairs can quickly become a sticky, crumb covered chaos.
After inventory, it’s time to “shop” for all the equipment we’ll need for the day. Since the basement is so large, you have to walk through the prep kitchen, turn a corner, down a hallway, turn another corner and walk down another hallway to get to the dry storage rooms. To prevent running back and forth all day, we try to make the prep list for the day and then go “shopping” for what we need by filling up a giant handcart and bringing everything into our kitchen. I’m really terrible w/ having the foresight to assess what I need for my first project, let alone five items down on my list, so I’m constantly running to the back. It helps balance out all the food I eat from being in a kitchen all day, so I’m okay w/ it.
After inventory and shopping, it’s usually time to check the brulees; betcha forgot about those babies, baking away, didn’t ya? It’s okay, I might have forgot them my first few days, too. That’s what timers are for. After they're out of the oven, I'll start on the prep list. It changes every day, depending on what we’re selling the most of, how many parties we have, if we’re in the middle of changing the menu, etc. It’s pretty great, since there’s constantly something new going on, yet there’s always the familiar routine of certain items that would never come off the menu, like the profiteroles, crème brulee, or coconut cake. I am a creature of habit, so I love having certain projects to do regularly throughout the week. Repetition breeds contempt? Not for this lady. I love doing things over and over and over again until I’ve mastered them. Then I love doing them b/c I'm so good at them and can stand back and admire my work afterwards.
My typical prep list for the day might have me spin ice cream, assemble cakes, roll out dough, bake cookies/bread pudding/cheesecake/etc. All this while rocking out to the “Wicked” Pandora station, which has morphed into the best mix of musicals and Disney songs thanks to our thumbs up and down preferences, so I’m typically belting out “Let it Go” and “I Just Can’t Wait to be King” and “Popular.” Until you’ve swirled chocolate cream in between layers of moist devil’s food cake while singing “Under the Sea” and snacking on chocolate cake scraps, you haven’t truly been happy at work.