Saturday, October 15, 2011


Today was fairly uneventful, pretty much more of the same. Lots of little boxes. Lots of "vite, vite, vite!" Lots of feelings of inadequacy and frustration. Just a normal day at the office. So instead I figured I would give you a clear breakdown of my fellow employees in case there was any confusion. 

Monsieur / Boss boss / Big Boss /Mr. Boss / Boss Man / The Asshole

This is the owner and head honcho of my patisserie. Short in stature but like most small dogs he yaps a lot and has quite the attitude. He has small beady eyes and at times I wonder if he can actually see all that well but then I realize that he's most likely just looking past me because I am just an intern. He is most terrifying when he smiles because it is so awkward and out of place and we all fear the bizarre. 

Madame / Lady Boss / Succubus / The Harpy / Queen Bitch (a.k.a Queen of Spade for you Hearts fans out there)

This is the other owner of the shop. They are a married team, like those man and woman partners who give people a false sense of security by their relationship love and then turn out to be psycho killers. Madame is always scary and though her sweet little girl voice may seem innocent there is always a sense of urgency, disappointment, and overall anger behind it. Her eyes are piercing and I find that if I look directly into them I am entranced and terrified all at once. She also speaks french in such a way that it is completely incomprehensible to me. 

Walt Disney

Alberique / First Mate / Second in Command

Alberique is the go to guy when there is a question about anything. Much less intimidating than either of the bosses he seems to be only other person who knows what is actually going on. He only stands an inch or so above me and probably weighs half as much. Like most French men his twig like resemblance does not give him any less of a presence. He is fast at everything he does and even when I am moving as fast as humanly possible it still isn't fast enough for him. He never seems to eat and just when I think I hate him he flashes a glimmer of something that makes me think he may actually like me and I decide he isn't too bad after all. 


Robin was the first person who trained me and the only person who actually ever let me do anything. He was also short but much stockier than Alberique. He was, unfortunately, covered in moles and it appeared that his shower had broken. He was very abrasive and intense. While Alberique is speedy you wouldn't be aware of it unless you were paying close attention. Robin, however, had the grace of a hippopotamus and the temper of one as well. After working there for five years he decided to quit or was fired because of unreconcilable differences with the two bosses. I only experience one magical week in his presence. 

Gaetan / Assistant #2

Gaetan is short and round. He has a gigantic forehead, well his whole head is pumpkin like actually. His facial features are nestled close in the bottom center of his noggin and couple that with his floppy ears and he looks like a mix between a Golem and Dobby the House Elf. His personalit is much more like the later mythical creature. Quiet and sweet he is the only person I genuinely like in the kitchen for no real reason at all. We don't really ever speak but he is such a gentle human in the mass of chaos that I cannot help but like him. He also offered me mille feuille extras for breakfast one morning just as my tummy was about to rumble. 

Eddy / Assistant #1 (TERMINATED)

On my first day at the patisserie I labeled Eddy as "the fuck up" because it seemed that he could never do anything right. I still to this day am not sure if it was because he actually couldn't do anything right or because the boss had some secret vendetta against him. Eddy was sweet enough but was severely lacking in confidence. He was quiet and seemed very depressed. In fact, he reminded me a bit of myself except they gave him a lot more responsibility. In the long run he cracked under the pressure and messed up one thing too many resulting in the thunderous firing my boss gave him in front of the entire crew. My ears are still recovering. 

Mike / French Guiana / Intern?

Mike is a question mark. Is he an intern? I don't really know. He certainly seems to ride a mighty high horse if he is. He also has stepped in as Eddy's replacement but there really weren't many other choices for that position. Do I like him? Not so sure. I don't appreciate it when he asks me things I obviously know in a patronizing way. Yes, Mike, I know how to clean a wall. Thanks! I may not speak french but that doesn't mean I'm stupid. I am also fairly certain that he thinks I'm strange because in my first conversation with him I tried to explain Jim Jones and his "don't drink the kool-aid" cult in both elementary french and english. Let's just say I don't think it came across how I meant it to. 

Min / My Friend / Fellow Intern (TERMINATED)

Min was one of the only people who actually tried to get to know me. It may have been a messy blend of french and shitty french but still we struck up some sense of comradarie. She also would make fun of people in the shop via sign language to ensure that I understood. I was sad to see her go but apparently she did not feel it was right to stay past 8 hours of work. Oh, gotta love the French and their sense of self entitlement to a normal days work. 

Cecilia / The American / Pennsylvania / Fellow Intern 

Though I was suspicious of her at first for her lack of patriotism and failure to reveal herself as a fellow American, I now find her presence calming because I can actually ask her questions in my native tongue and she will reply with words I comprehend. She shares my feelings about the bosses and their insanity. She shares my feelings about the kitchen being too small and some of the practices within it being bizarre and unnecessary. She has curly curly hair and wears it in a bun on top of her head underneath a disposable hair net making her look like Marge from The Simpsons. She has somehow charmed her way into Alberique's heart and he refers to her as "ma cherie" and allows her to make exciting things like gimauve (marshmallow), and financiers (weak ass muffin cake things). 

Malick / The Dishwasher 

Malick is the dishwasher and sometimes I feel like he absolutely hates me. I try to respect him and his job and do things in a way that will make his work as easy as possible. Is this where you want me to put the trays? I'm on it! Oh, the dirty rags don't go there? Roger. I give him a smile and sometimes laugh at myself in front of him but I never even see a peak of ivory white from his teeth or hear a glimmer of a chuckle from his throat. He smiles at other people. He laughs in the kitchen. What can I do to get him to like me? I also feel like I'm always in his way and I am so terrified that he will think I disrespect him because he's a dishwasher when really I totally appreciate how hard he works and see him as the grease that makes our sloppy machine of a kitchen work. 

Irina / The Romanian / The Savory Side Of Things / My English Speaking Savior

Irina works upstairs and is pretty much her own boss. Sure she has to answer to Madame and Alberique but she is trusted to her own thing and manage her own day. On good days I get to spend most of my day upstairs in english speaking heaven with her. While peeling veal sweetbreads and cutting kilos of carrots may not be the education I was looking to receive at my internship, at least she isn't scary, we can understand each other, and she actually seems to like and be interested in my life and thoughts and happiness. 

Hirimo / Hiro / The New Guy / Thanks For Making Me Look Good

Hirimo is the new intern and from the looks of things I am way better than him. Sweet and charming but slow as hell I cannot see why they trust him with more than they do me. Perhaps the speed with which I pack tiny boxes with crap has blown them away and so they see it more efficient to put me to such tasks while Hirimo spends hours zesting three limes. He speaks less french than I do but is so darn sweet that they all seem to absolutely adore him. I can't hold it against him, though, because he is the only person in the kitchen who I get to tell what to do! Plus I can't help but believe that next to him they have to see how superior and awesome I am. Sure my french is terrible but its better than his. Sure I may not have the speed of Alberique but I'm trying and am definitely faster than Hirimo. 

Alexis / Alexi / Front Of The House 

Alexis, pronounced "Alexi," works in the front of the house and so I don't get to see too much of him. He speaks english but does not really speak to me in english all that much and when he does I get the feeling that he's making fun of me. Then again when he's  speaking french while I'm around I get the feeling that he's making fun of me. He has a love for American basketball (really, of all the sports to chose from you like basketball? Sure Michael Jordan was awesome, and super sexy, but other than that I find the game somewhat boring and even Michael ended up sucking in the end), and speaks english to all the American customers who come in for pastries. He smokes like a stereotypical Parisian (at least two in a lunch break) and seems friendly but there is something I just don't trust about him. 

So these are the people I work with. I am sure that there will be more and less of them as I go through my odyssey in this inferno of a patisserie. 

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