Friday, 31 July 2009

Tuiles galore!

Have been a bit slack with the blog posts, ごまん (yep, the dorama watching is still alive and well!) Its actually been a week now since I finished week 4 of my stage. A bit of a mixed bag during the week - a few days on afternoon shift, a bit of a bummer as that meant only 1 day off rather than my usual 2. There was an upside which was a much shorter working day, we finished before 7pm on both days rather than the usual 10pm - I have a funny feeling that I will be in for a rude awakening after the holidays! The afternoon shift was mega-quiet with just me, the chef and another stagiaire manning the kitchen. It was pretty chilled and I also got the opportunity to do some proper production the form of tuiles, aka. tiles, aka. those sugary wafery things that one sometimes find on top of fancy desserts, aka. fiddly and messy things to make and bake! The 1st kind I had to make were a circular praline type with hazelnuts on top, the type that involves a load of scraping and can get seriously messy. After a few go's, I finally got the hang of it which was a nice feeling one point, the chef asked me to clean up which I acknowledged and then he said, "Toute suite". I was thinking what the bloody rush was and then my "French" brain finally caught up with me 10 seconds later that the big boss was coming into the lab so manic cleaning then......I managed to catch sight of my manky apron and managed to towel down just in time to say Bonjour to him, what a close shave! :)
The 2nd kind of tuile was another sticky number this time infused with flaked almonds, no shaping involved here (the chef was  in charge of that), just had to pipe blobs of stuff onto trays.....sounds easy but actually pretty hard to get everything regular and also hard to manage to the outflow of almonds, char! As I said, fiddly to do but was kinda half proud of myself that I got to do the stuff - the other stagiaire who has been working there longer than me only got to decorate fruit cake and tidy away silpats! I guess I also have the chef to thank for allowing me and trusting me not to screw up the stuff - word has it that he will be in charge of the morning shift after the holliers which will be good as he is way more organised than his predecessor and also a good teacher.

My last couple of days of work was back to morning shift and at the other shop doing "finition". Thursday was a real shock to the system as the whole crew from the production shop had gatecrashed so space was at an even bigger premium and us stagiares were relegated to the very bottom level of the basement, among the chambre froid and freezers. Since it was the last week before the holidays, the amount of cakes being made had decreased considerably and as there were so many other people around, we were left with making Ispahan. Another minor milestone for me here as I was unofficially put in charge of the stagiaires and also of the all-important rose buttercream! My last few days making Ispahan with the other stagiaires confirmed what I had been thinking all along, unless you can show that you can work hard and well, you are unlikely to be given the opportunities of doing more complex things. We were also roped into a massive clean-out of the lab, not exactly a whole lot of fun but one of those things that needed to be done.

So what do I think of my stage so far? OK and I definitely felt a bit of improvement after this last week. I only hope that I won't forget what I've learnt so far on my break and fingers crossed, I will get the opportunity to do a few more other things for the remaining 2 months. I think my French will also have to improve vastly before being able to be fully "accepted" by my French colleagues, I have enough to communicate in a work environment so the only way is up , huh? Roll on the holliers :)  

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