Working Life: Week 3
Day 9 – A Comedy of Errors
Almost comatose from exhaustion, having arrived after 2am back in my apartment in Paris due to lost suitcases, unshaven due to a complete absence of my luggage, wearing a mess covered uniform and with an unsatisfied hunger and thirst, I believe that I began the shift off on the wrong foot all together.
I managed to rescue the uniform situation, apologised profusely for my facial hair debacle and got along quickly with the work at hand. In my less than ideal state I still managed, if a little slower than normal, to achieve the same level of standard in most of my tasks in helping to prepare the huge list of products ready for the bar, the buffet, the room service and the amenities for the new guests.
As usual the Fraisier was on my cards and it was starting to become second nature for me…
And the personal obligation of producing countless litres of perfect crème patissier every day began to become a daily chore that didn’t seem to inspire greatness or pleasure.
The days started to meld together in my mind… too tired to differentiate between day and night, I would come home and collapse, waking early for the next shift.
Day 10 – The Tragedy of Circumstance
It seems that at least some people are appreciated in this hotel, as today we were gifted with a celebration of sorts. It seems that today, randomly, was chosen by the higher powers to be the monthly celebration of the staff that were born in this most wonderful of months.
And so at our lunch break, as usual at 11-12, we shared in a small piece of this massive slab of chocolate, cream and ganache.
We were also tasked with preparing plates for a private banquet, beautiful Mirabelle Millefeuille.
At every opportunity, and there were very few, I tried to watch the pastry cook at the pass who produced the desserts al a minute for the two Michelin starred Le Espadon.
Another day moved by quickly and after a good 9 hours in the kitchen I was finally able to head home.
Day 11 –Lessons from the Past
For some reason, unknown to those lowly workers such as myself, there was a bit more variety in the realms of our practice this week.
The chefs came to the floor to make a few extra dishes for the guests using a few of our usual elements in some new combinations and permutations.
Whilst the fun and excitement was going on I believe, as usual, I was making some crème patissier, although this time it was 6 litres of vanilla and 4 litres of coffee!
My days where thrilling in their monotony, stimulating in their conversation, and life-changing in their ability to mould me as a person… the sarcasm and indecency were starting to build.
I had as always been tasked to prepare the petit fours and mis-en-place including placing some redcurrants around the cheesecakes.
The days moved simultaneously rapidly and slowly.
Day 12 – Drama for Dramas Sake
I worked with some really amazing people, but unfortunately, our time together was limited. With work piling up, it was a matter of moving as fast as humanly possible.
One such Friday, the last day of the long week, after a mere four days after returning from a holiday in Greece, it felt as if I hadn’t even been in the sunshine at all.
With everyone on my back, I was not complaining when we finally made it to washing and sweeping the floors, ready to take off my apron, my chefs whites and my hat. I walked quickly out of the basement corridors into the grey skies and rain of Paris.