Friday, October 28, 2011


Today was a fairly busy day at the patisserie for me. Since I have been there long enough I now know how to do enough bullshit jobs that they don't have to wait until they have time to explain what I should do next. So after the morning tart topping and shop opening Alberique gave me a list of things to do.

The first was to cut feuilletage (puff pastry) to later roll into savory bits of goodness. As usual this was supposed to be done, "Tres vite!," but for some reason the pressure of it was more than I was used to. Alberique gave me 30 minutes to complete the task of cutting all the feuilletage, spreading the filling on them, rolling them up, brushing them with yolk, then rolling them in either mixed grains or almond powder. Let's not forget that I was in the unfortunate main thoroughfare of our kitchen and so was constantly moved from this side to that side and back and forth. I was getting frustrated, and Alberique's constant "plus vite! Vite! VITE!" did not help my mood. 

So when my half an hour was up and I was just finishing the filling on my last few pieces of feuilletage, I was just waiting for Alberique to come and say, "Beaucoup vite!" And in response to this I had a few scenarios planned out. 1) Yelling at him in english just to get my feelings out and while the actual words would be beyond him I'm sure the feeling would be conveyed. 2) Angrily untying my apron, ripping of my hat, and stating "That's it. Je fini!" 3). Throwing my rolls on the floor, slapping Alberique across the face, and storming out. So as Alberique came up to me I was saying to myself, "Go ahead. Make my day." But to my surprise none of the three scenarios were needed. Instead Alberique said, "Tres bien!" And told me to finish the rest with olive tapenade and then do a, b, and c. 

Perhaps he could sense my boiling point about to erupt. Maybe I really as just doing a good job. Either way he diffused the situation quickly without being fully aware of the potential consequences. The rest of the day was uneventful and I would have even gotten out early if it hadn't been for chef coming down and demanding that I go out and buy 2 kilos of clementines and then peeling them upon my return. Luckily I'm a pro at that now so I still got out on time. 

One interesting thing that I did discover today was during my break while gossiping with Cecilia, the other American. Apparently the bosses, Lady Boss and Big Boss, are planning on getting rid of Julien, the new guy. I am frankly appalled by this. Julien is not only nice and lets me do things, but he also seems to be doing a really good job. He has his act together, works hard, works quickly, and seems to know what he's doing. Plus he's been coming out like a champ considering that they through him into a difficult situation. He now is in charge of all the pastry people and is my go to guy for jobs. He's like a second Alberique only much sweeter and taller. 

Why exactly they are gossiping about firing him I don't really know, But apparently he isn't quite cutting it in their eyes. What are they thinking? I guess he forgot to make two creams one day but aren't we all human? And aren't mistakes a part of the human experience? Apparently not at my patisserie. And really, what are they going to do without him. Poor Alberique is spread thin enough as it is, and you know it has to be true if I'm feeling sympathy for the ass who mocks me to my face. So really, what is their deal?

Overall, I think they think very highly of themselves. Sure they may have more than enough reason for this considering how successful their patisserie is, that there is a line out the door every day, and that they obviously make very delicious, high end goods. But really, at some point you have to let reality check in and realize that people are going to mess up and especially when things are new or different. Get off your high horse and come mingle with us common folk. It may not be as pretty but at least it's real. 

And that really is all I need to know. The fact that these people cannot let go of the fact that not everyone is perfect, the fat that they treat interns as horribly as they do just because they can, the fact that talking and laughing and smiling are all signs that you aren't working hard enough, are all reasons for me not to want to be there, and all perfect examples of exactly what I don't want to be like them when I have my own shop. So who's on their high horse now?

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