Jelly Beans, Cookies and Battle Scars
This is dedicated to Stan, who asked me for the name of my blog at the beginning of our shift together on Monday, and then proceeded to tell me how upset he was (while alternating asking me if I loved him and dreamed of him at night) that he wasn’t mentioned at all. Thank you for keeping a lighthearted atmosphere in the kitchen even during the coupe de feu, for speaking French with an American accent, for being so happy when I tell you your English is good, and for encouraging me even though I know I mess up sometimes. For telling me to stop enchanting the boys in cuisine, but then telling me which servers were single and asking me what I thought of each of them. 😛 I look forward to working with you over the next three months!
I was really dreading getting out of bed on Monday. I just didn’t want to. Don't get me wrong, I wanted to go be in the kitchen... but I also wanted to stay in bed for an extra hour or ten. However, it ended up being one of my favorite days in the kitchen so far—I spoke English, I performed better than my coworkers expected, I learned to plate a new dessert, and I was able to smile and enjoy myself through the service. Of course, I messed up sometimes and could have done other things better, but just two weeks into my internship, this is not a bad start.
Tuesday seemed to perfectly exemplify my stage in life—half of the time things went really well and I was feeling great about my life, and then the other half it seemed like I was falling behind or short of what was required and felt myself sinking into a pit of self flagellation and panic. In the end though, what I’m learning about life in the kitchen is that with long, sometimes grueling shifts that have so many things going on, it is possible to have extreme highs and lows within one day—and then regardless of what happened on a certain day, the next day is a fresh start.
Wednesday, Capucine whisked into the kitchen just before service and said “Chef, I have something to eat with you.” He was clearly confused, but I wanted to die of laughter because I knew what the ‘something’ was. Somehow she had gotten ahold of a box of Bertie Botts Every Flavored Beans—the mystery jelly beans modeled off of Harry Potter—and wanted to share them with Chef and the rest of the team. Chef poured the box onto one of our nice dishes for service, and the image of the randomly colored beans in that michelin-level-serving dish is one I will never forget. Chef went first—grabbing at random—and put it in his mouth. Of course, he managed to pick the vomit flavored bean. After that misfortune, he encouraged the rest of us to eat one, so there we stood in a little huddle in the pastry kitchen, eating jelly beans just before service like a bunch of kids. As we discovered the flavors and laughed at the misfortune of those who got the disgusting flavors, someone mentioned that this had to be featured in my blog, and started teasing Capucine for bringing the jelly beans for the sole purpose of making it into the blog. Well Capu, if that was your goal, you succeeded 😉
Thursday I made cookies. I know I know, it seems so mundane that it shouldn't even be mentioned in my blog. But American Style Chocolate Chip Cookies are for some reason undiscovered territory for the French, and so it was exciting for everyone to watch a real American make real American cookies. I felt a little like an exotic bird. As usual, I was worried the cookies wouldn't turn out well or that nobody would like them, but not only did they go well, all the cookies disappeared within minutes, leading Chef to decide to use my recipe for the hotel. It may not be much, but three weeks in and being able to provide even something as small as a cookie recipe is huge for me. Of course, I only made a trial batch, so not everyone got to try the cookies...which led to the people who did try them to be super nice to me, and everyone *cough*most of the boys in cuisine*cough* to be all pouty at me for not saving some for them. Sorry boys. I swear to god they are like a small herd of puppies sometimes. Also, Diego asked me if they would be better than Subway's cookies before I started baking. T_T Is that our measure for American cookies now?! SUBWAY?! I hope I can produce a cookie that is better than the mass produced, probably half preservative cookies that a fast food chain gives out.
On Friday I think I graduated to the next level of intern. For the past several days I have been trusted with the same tasks every time I am at work, but on Friday I quickly finished one of my typical tasks before moving on to preparing some of the creams that we use in our desserts. I've moved up the hierarchy from simple dealing with the finished result and putting it into containers to making (with assistance) the recipes! It really is the little things in life 😛
Also on Friday, in the middle of a rather calm service, I went to prepare some boxes of mignardises and then put the tray of chocolates back in the fridge. Chef was standing next to the fridge, and he kindly held the door open for me. Then as I knelt down to carefully put the tray back, he reached over me to grab my pen off the counter....and proceeded to color all over my arm. I laughed, thinking he would stop, but as he continued and I continued to precariously hold my tray of chocolates, he laughed and said "Depeche toi Maddie!" ("Hurry up!"). I managed to get my tray safely in the fridge, but I ended up with an arm full of blue ink that I didn't have time to scrub off until I got home (and even then after a solid scrubbing and a shower it stayed with me for another day).
Thanks for reading, and stay tuned for more stories (and hopefully soon recipes!) from in and out of the kitchen!
**Originally posted on my personal blog, Unmasked Adventures