Friday, April 30, 2010

Two Rights Can Make a Wrong

They say that two wrongs don't make a right. Well, conversely, two rights can make a wrong. Which is why I am no longer working at Coco Paloma Desserts. We both came to the conclusion that she needed an assistant with much more experience than a recent culinary school graduate. A great bakery and an eager worker may sound like a great fit, but you can't always assume it's a perfect match. You might love the taste of lemons and chocolate individually, but that doesn't mean you'll enjoy chocolate-dipped lemons.

It's odd to feel good about losing a job, but I think it was the best outcome for the both of us. I gave it my best effort (I even practiced at home), but we both understood that a few weeks of practice won't gain me years of experience. Since it would pretty much be just the two of us working on cakes, I felt pressured to achieve perfection immediately but that isn't a realistic expectation for a beginner.

I have no regrets about my short time at Coco Paloma Desserts. It was good to experience another person's techniques and work flow, plus I got a bit of training and practice in as well. I also learned that the saying "quitters never win" isn't always true. I think that in this situation parting ways will be a win for the both of us. She can find a more experienced assistant who can jump right in and help ease her workload and I can find a bakery that has time to allow me to develop my skills as a cake decorator.

So now I'm ready for the next step in my cake adventure...what will it be?!?  As always, I'll keep you posted.

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Starting Out is No Piece of Cake

Phew! I survived my first week of work...barely.

My first week at Coco Paloma Desserts has been intense and a little rough. The first week of any job is always a little challenging because it takes a little time to learn the routine and adapt to a new environment. Well, it's ten times harder to do when it's your first job in a career you've only been immersed in for maybe nine months. Take that situation and add in the pressure of working in a small bakery where you are expected to take off running because it's just you and the owner. Add those together and you have a recipe for some serious stress.

It was even harder because it was an unusually stressful week for Paloma as well. She had a very busy week with some challenging orders and had to train me too, so it wasn't exactly a picnic for either of us. I felt terrible that I wasn't much help since I didn't know the routine, where anything was and was slow in a rushed environment. I hate feeling helpless and useless, but in such a harried week I just didn't have time to absorb and process the onslaught of information coming at me.

Next week is supposed to be a little slower, so hopefully things will get a little easier and more pleasant. This was definitely the hardest first week I've ever had and next month is supposed to be crazy busy. I'm hoping I can get really good at all of this before then, but all I can do is my best. No pressure!

Monday, April 12, 2010

Yummy Cum Laude

I am officially a culinary school graduate (see goofy-looking photo above)! Graduation day went smoothly and the buffet we created turned out fantastic.  For the buffet, I made chocolate financiers and lemon wafer cookies — two of my favorites from class. Chocolate financiers are a bit like a lightly sweetened brownie made with almond flour (gives it a nutty flavor), sprinkled with cocoa nibs (adds a slight bitter chocolate taste) and drizzled with chocolate. Lemon wafer cookies have a lot of lemon zest in them so they have a fantastic strong lemon flavor (but not sour) and then covered with a sweet splash of citrus glaze.

So what am I going to do now that I've graduated? Well, I've managed to get a job as an assistant at Coco Paloma Desserts. Coco Paloma makes some amazing and beautiful cakes, so I am excited to be a part of such creations. I start on Wednesday, April 14 and I'm both excited and a little nervous. It's a little daunting starting a new career, but I will jump into it with eagerness and ambition — a surefire formula for success.

Friday, April 2, 2010

It is Good to Love the Unknown

With just four days left until culinary school graduation, I am filled with excitement and just a hint of trepidation. I don't yet know what the future holds for me, but I am giddy with anticipation to discover my new path. I hope my first job in my new career is a good, strong stepping stone filled with great experiences and good people. There is a quote that says "It is good to love the unknown" and I must say that I agree. Some people fear uncertainty, and yes, it can be a little scary. However, you should try to view the unknown not as an obstacle, but as part of life's adventure and full of possibility.

This week, our class has begun to focus on planning for the future. We've prepped our resumes, discussed goals and job hunting, held mock interviews and learned a little about the business of entrepreneurship. I've been applying for jobs, sending out resumes and even scheduled a few interviews. I am eager to jump into my new career, so I'm hoping the job hunting process won't last too long.

I still can't believe that I'm already at this point. This time last year, I was sitting at a desk designing yet another edition of the newspaper and feeling a bit uninspired. Now I'm about to graduate from culinary school, I get excited about cakes design ideas and have grown extremely fond of working with fondant. Life is funny sometimes, but I'm always up for a good laugh.

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