My First Weekend as Dessert Lady

by Chris on May 12, 2008

Wow! It has been a world wind weeks-end. Thursday was my first night as the dessert lady at a local midtown restaurant. (That’s what I heard all weekend – Hey, is that the dessert lady? That must be the dessert lady. etc) As it was quite eventful learning the in’s and outs of a commercial kitchen, I love my little nook (and I do mean little) behind the “line”. Both Thursday and Friday were not as productive as I would have hoped. Then, knowing there was a Mother’s Day Gospel brunch on Sunday that was advertised on one of the local radio stations, one of the owners sprung a zinger on me in casual conversation late Friday evening.

Ready to wow them Sunday?
Ha! Hope so! I am a little frustrated with my mishaps, but I am working them out. I don’t have the end results I would have hoped, if truth be told.
No prob. You’ll get it and wow everyone like you did us. Nothing like making your debut on a day we have total reservations for 200 people!
Excuse me?
Tomorrow…reservations. We will have about 200 people. 4PM is our last reservation.
Oh! Okay. Well, I can give you what I have. But, remember it’s just me. My last 200-person gig took me a little over a week to do on my own, but I will do the best I can.

Yikes!

I got it done, though. I ended up presenting a chocolate torte, key lime cheesecake, sweet potato pecan pie, nut tart, hazelnut mousse, fruit filled phyllo cups, chocolate orange bon bons, two ¼ sheet cakes I bought from the store and doctored up after a small panic Sunday morning, 8 lbs. of chocolate covered strawberries, and …. in honor of the girl who helped me so, pound cake, garnished with a dollop of cream and a striped mint.

I know you’re thinking – why so many? I don’t know. Really, I originally began working Thursday on the menu we agreed upon – 7 items that would last them the week – for the regular dinner service. Then the kitchen mishaps occurred again, and again, and again. So, I kept trying something new, something edible.

Over all, I believed people were pleased with the desserts. I know there were issues with the dining service, and there were words between not-so-happy cooks as they were in the weeds to the “n“th degree, but those issues had nothing to do with me. I admit, to totally got a warm and fuzzy feeling when one of the customers, who sat near the desserts, looked at me and said, “You must be the pastry chef”. Knowing I am not a “chef”, I replied, “I am.” He was very complimentary of the display, which made me very happy. I am excited about things to come, but in the meantime, things I have learned –

1. I need to have a chat with the owner of what he needs to invest in, as there isa lot lacking, if he wants a smooth sail. Let’s start with a grater/zester. And maybe some pans. oh! Maybe even a mixer that is not my personal one.
2. Have phone on hip and good friend’s on speed dial.
3. Have a handful of go-to-recipes at an arm’s reach.
4. Removable tart pan bottoms slice fingers – even 4 fingers.
5. When sliced fingers happen, and band-aids are no where to be found, paper towel and latex gloves work fabulously.
6. When nice, friendly, and gracious to the dishwashers, you can get anything.
7. When the feeling as though you’re operating in a sauna occurs, a dip into the walk in freezer is helpful. And,
8. Regardless of “icky age-difference factor”, and after the ugh feeling I have since gaining all this weight this year, it is still flattering when you get hit on by a 23 year old cook.

Have a great day!

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