I have to tell myself this every so often these days. Just because I have a slightly different method of incorporating the gelatin into a fruit mousse, or mixing pâte à choux, or folding together a biscuit doesn’t mean I’m wrong. And yet, when I get corrected, I feel my confidence take a bit of a dive. I was lucky enough before to be working in a pastry shop where I had been involved in establishing many of the systems and methods, so it’s a bit of a shock coming into a kitchen where they have their systems in place already and I need to bend a little to conform.
But there are confidence boosters, as well. I like knowing that, if necessary, I could probably fill in for someone in the downstairs kitchen (where the croissants, breads, and cookies happen). Speaking of cookies, if anyone ever asks me to, I could make their cookies 10 times better than they are now. (Tip #1: no more slicing and baking! I now understand why all French cookies are so hard.) Best of all, someone called me “Chef” today. I was helping one of the stages to make biscuit, and when the batter was mixed, she said, “Merci, Chef.” She is the only other woman working in the pâtisserie (except for the woman who makes the salads and sandwiches, and the salesgirls), and I feel like I should set a good example. For all I know, I could be the only woman pâtissière she’s ever worked with. I want to show her that professional cooking isn’t just for boys. So when she called me “Chef,” it was really validating.
Now I just need to learn to be less deflated by constructive suggestions (unsolicited advice has always been a pet peeve of mine) and remember that there are people looking up to me. It’s all about confidence.