The REAL Food Adventure Begins

24 06 2008

I went to work today!  For the first time in 6 months, I dragged myself out of bed at 5 am, put on my scrubs (half the price of ChefWear and at least as durable) and chef’s jacket, wrangled my hair into pigtails and tied on my bandanna.  I ate some cereal, got on the métro, and arrived, ready to work, just before 6:30 am.

I didn’t sleep very well last night – the cocktail of nerves and excitement with a twist of Velib-induced stress and a splash of muggy summer night really hit me hard.

But this morning I managed to channel that nervous energy and was feeling chipper.  I met with Le Patron (the owner/boss), and his 2nd in command.  After fumbling my way through a couple batches of biscuit, I started to get my sea legs back (or in this case, I guess my pastry hands).  Second and I started making mousses and assembling entremets.

At 12:30, everyone stops for lunch.  We are told to be back at 1:30.  A full hour for lunch!  This is unheard of in the food industry in the States.  Gotta love the all-important French lunch hour.  On my way downstairs (yes, the kitchen I’m working in is upstairs, unlike the ovens), I run into Le Patron, who tells me I can choose anything I want from the case for lunch and the girls at the counter will even heat it up for me.  Excellent.  I choose a slice of tomato quiche and it hits the spot.  I get to chatting with some of my new co-workers, who can’t get over how young I look.  (They themselves range in age from 17 to 23, I imagine, so it’s pretty flattering.)

When lunch break is over, my first task is to write “Joyeux Anniversaire” on a cake, using melted chocolate.  I run into Le Patron again on the stairs, and he asks if I was the one who wrote that, and says that it looks really good.  Hooray!  I spend the next hour or so piping mousse into rings, and then it’s time to clean up and go home for the day.

So here I am, tired but feeling good.  I had almost forgotten how great that shower feels after a day in the pâtisserie.  Now I’m on the couch with my feet up, and it’s about time for a hard-earned apéritif.

Santé!

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