Day 74: Things Get Real

Today marks the final stages of my culinary school experience: Working in the school’s restaurant, L’Ecole. And it’s a little bit scary to think about it for two reasons: a) being on the line can be like riding a roller coaster and b) working in the restaurant means I’m nearing graduation.

The pastry kitchen

The pastry kitchen

But today I start in the pastry kitchen, which has a different feel than any other station. I’m not sure why, but I guess chefs are less inclined to be snippy with so many sweet things around.

Whenever I start a new level, I’m always nervous. You don’t know where anything is, you don’t know the new instructor, and you don’t know how much you’ll be yelled at. So basically, your first day feels like you’re running around like a headless chicken. But when you’re on pastry, you have extra time since no diner orders dessert first (what a perfect world it would be if that were acceptable). So things are calmer inside pastry. But as I looked outside my little sweet-smelling sanctuary, I saw a lot of headless chickens running around. It looks like total mayhem from inside candy land, and I’m a little nervous to move up the line.

The view from the pastry kitchen

The view from the pastry kitchen

When 1:00 rolled around, we finally started to get in some orders. And I felt like a little kid on Christmas morning.

The ticket machine

The ticket machine

There’s a receipt machine in the pastry kitchen that prints out “tickets” or orders, and every time I heard a ticket being printed something inside me made me want to jump up and down, and scream “WE HAVE A TICKET!” My enthusiasm was on par with this scene:

And then when I calmed down, I plated this:

Poppyseed cake topped with a quennelle of whipped cream, a schmear of lemon curd, and a baked apple

Poppyseed cake topped with a quennelle of whipped cream, a schmear of lemon curd, and a baked apple

TIP OF THE DAY: Like the way that dollop of whipped cream looks atop the cake? You can spiff up your desserts too. Dunk a tablespoon in hot water and drag it across a bowl of whipped cream. When you’re edging the end of the bowl, twist your wrist as if starting an engine so you can finish the spherical shape.


2 responses to “Day 74: Things Get Real

  1. You know what’s interesting? We didn’t think it’d sell well because Americans don’t usually eat poppy-seed desserts. But it’s very common in Eastern European cooking. But it sold really well!

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