Friday, 18 September 2009

Stage - la rentrée

Back in Paris (well actually, its been almost 2 weeks now) which also means back to the rest of my stage. I wasn't able to find out what shift I would be on until the week before flying back and even then, it was a bit of a monumental task. The phone numbers that I had been given did not put me through to the lab but rather the shop out front where a rather flustered vendeuse finally answered my call. As she kept telling me, she was working all on her own and after a few attempts, put me on hold on what felt like an eternity before I finally got to speak to someone about my shift. It confirmed my suspicions and so here I am, back to morning shifts at Vaugirard which means 4:30am wake-up calls :(

I was a little scared that maybe I wouldn't be used to the early starts since I have been off for 6 weeks (as opposed to the 4 everyone else had off, I took extra cos of my bro's wedding) but my first couple of days were pretty good, especially since I was suffering from a slight bout of insomnia which meant getting maybe 4 hours tops of sleep......, first week back - I have pretty mixed feelings about it all. My first 2 days back were OK and felt good, most of the work I had to do involved mise-en-place which was straightforward and I got it all done without too much hassle. Thursday came and I got roped into a bit of proper production work, making some of the components for one of the cakes called Désiré. I should've been really enjoying the whole experience as this is what I really wanted to get into but instead, I forgot a few fundamentals that had been drummed into us at school (no messy piping bag, poke empty bag into tip before refilling) which left me a little mortified and I spent the rest of the time going backwards, working even slower and frozen by an overwhelming feeling of fear and not being good enough. Unfortunately, things went from bad to worse on Friday when I screwed up a batch of crème au citron and had to make it all over again. The weird thing was that the chef who used to be in charge ("Arsey guy" cos nobody likes working with him, I don't think he's that bad though) saw that I had made it wrong and just told me to remember to do it correctly the next time. The chef who is now in charge ("Formally nice guy" cos its been a bit Jekyll and Hyde dealing with him this week) was not having any of it though and the 2 of them were having a grand old debate about it in the middle of the lab while I looked on and tried to figure out what on earth the final outcome was. In the end, a second batch had to be made and no mistakes this time - the only bummer being that "formally nice guy" kept on telling me to hurry up......wasn't particularly bothered about it but was a bit pissed when he spent the rest of the day busting my balls for other stuff just cos he could....

Luckily, Saturday was pretty quiet (well, except the bombardment of millefeuilles which needed to be sliced and shipped out to the shop) and uneventful so managed to end the week on a semi-high note :)

Another week left in the production lab before heading off to finition for 3 weeks. I had wanted to spend as much time in production but now I am unsure and think that I might not be cut out for it? As expected, my French has taken a bit of a battering over the last 6 weeks from not speaking it which means using it in the workplace is a bit of a challenge. I'm suffering from the 10-second delay comprehension syndrome (usually first thing in the morning at 6am) and at times, no comprehension at all. I think its a mixture of lack of confidence and also my French not being good enough. Its going to take a lot of work to get it to the next level which is comfortable conversation/banter level. As I only have 6 weeks left, I'm unsure whether to invest any more time into it. For the moment, my feelings are that things are a bit of a struggle and I hope they get better soon....

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