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.