Sunday, 23 October 2011

So You Want to be a Pastry Chef

Ever wanted to know that exact in and outs of the pastry world? Have you ever thought to yourself, "I wish I could be a fly on the wall in a pastry shop." or "What goes through a pastry chef's mind?" Well ponder no further I will take you on an exclusive detailed look at the inside world of the Pastry Chef.

Your alarm goes off at the ungodly hour of 5:00am. Depending on whethere you have a clock radio or good old fashioned ringer the sound of Journey's "Wheel in the Sky" or an obnoxious beeping will be the first thing your ears hear. You roll out of bed and slip into your slippers, you're half awake so they are obviously are on the wrong foot but you neither notice nor care. Time is precious so you morning becomes an Olympic sport in multitasking. As your blueberry bagel toasts you get dressed and go to the bathroom. As you munch away at your cream cheese smothered breakfast the coffee machine is brewing your favourite drug and by the time you are packed and ready to go coffee is brewed and you are out the door by 5:50am.

You hop on your bike, if it's not raining, and zip through the streets of Charlottetown, in the middle of the road of couse because only crazy people are awake that early. Don't forget to say hi to the "city workers" cleaning up garbage on the sidewalks (pretty sure people working for the city at that hour are on parol).

Once you have arrived at school you fold into your chef whites, arm yourself with knives, measuring cups, kitchen toys, and camera and are in the kitchen by 6:20. After thoroughly scrubbing your hands and work station you recieve the morning to do list from Chef and from your team leader. With recipe in hand you dive into flour, sugar, butter, and eggs, and if you're lucky Dutch cocoa, hazelnuts and dark chocolate. In no time at all your station is filled with bowls, whisks, and spatulats, you measure vanilla, sift flour, and whip eggs. You become beguiled by your culinary masterpiece unfolding infront of you and as you put the finishing touches on your chocolate sponge torte, the Chef leans over your shoulder, observing and inspecting your work and in a thick, dripping Austrian accent says, "Oh my goodness. Wow! That looks good enough to eat. I am going to try it." Terrified you stare as Chef lifts a spoonful to his mouth. You hold your breath as he lets the textures and flavours spread around into every corner of his mouth. Finally his posture buckles under the sheer deliciousness of your creation and he says between smacking lips, "Very good! Awesome! Good job." Your spirit is levitated to pastry heaven and you are beaming with pride.

With your dessert a success you carefully wrap it and store it in the fridge, not without having a bite of it yourself of course, ready to bless others in the cafeteria. After cleaning your work station you slowly walk to the locker room, stripping off uniform as you go. What was a chef white is now a chef chocolate brown with splashes of raspberry. You trade in your chocolate covered uniform for a new super starch infused chef white, grab your note book and pastry bible and race up to theory class. You watch as the chefs make crepes, Italian butter cream, and caramel before your very eyes in the demo kitchen, the very things that you can look forward to making tomorrow.

With theory class over, it's back to the locker room to peel off your uniform and slip into your street clothes, or if you didn't bother to change that morning, your pajamas. Lunch is being served in the cafeteria and today's menu is lemon pepper haddock, island potatoes, mixed greens, and for dessert the very chocolate sponge you had made not an hour before. After lunch you drag your pastry bible to the library or home and prep your recipes for tomorrow.

As the hour creeps toward 9:00pm you crawl into your favourite pjs and flop into bed. As you fall into slumber your dreams are filled with dancing cup cakes, mouth watering caramel and rivers of butter. And before you know it your 5:00am alarm goes off and you start all over again.

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