Moving Forward

It has been months!
I’ve been mulling over what to post or when to post but nothing seemed that entertaining. Well over the time I’ve gathered a handful of skills and pictures to tell you about.

1- I became the pastry chef at the Bier Markt.

Their desserts are all made from scratch so I got to learn so many new recipes. To start, I had made dozens and dozens of litres of anglais mix. Out of that mix I made brulees, vanilla anglais, and coffee anglais.
Additionally there was waffles, gluten free chocolate cake, and cinnamon donuts.

2- As the pastry chef my inIMG_20151107_101526put was used often for different items; like if there was a dessert platter, or what to do for dessert samples.

During certain times I was even asked to bring in my own recipe to complete things.

 

 

3- New Years Eve was fun!

There was a special menu for New Years and my job was to get the desserts ready. From the photos above you can see Earl Gray cupcakes, chocolate dipped strawberries, zabaglione, and corn bread. Of course the corn bread was for a roast beer dinner.

4- I’ve been practicing cake decorating.

Over the past few months I’ve been practicing some decorating. This cake above I did recently. Vanilla with strawberry mousse filling. I’ve done some cupcakes, but never a whole cake and feel quite proud how well it turned out.

5- I want to become a professional pastry chef.

While working at the Bier Markt I decided I want to pursue my career in this direction and have been looking out for jobs in just baking. Turns out it’s not so easy. I’d like to go back to school but it is going to be a bit impossible for the next while, so instead I am trying to learn at home, and hopefully take some classes on decorating.

Wish me luck!

 

Quick Update

Well I haven’t done much at home. As many of you know, moving out can be taxing on the funds so our money is going more to furnishing the apartment then actually buying any supplies for my cooking goals.

On the other hand I have accomplished one of my many goals. This one being becoming an apprentice. Last Tuesday I submitted my application to be an apprentice by working under the head chef at the Bier Markt, and I am completely thrilled. Hopefully I hear something soon about what I need to do.

Cooking Up A Job

Happy Moving Day!

I know it’s technically Canada Day, I can’t help but not feel too bothered. Today is just closed stores and loud fireworks for me while we head to Mississauga.

Any way, yes! I am cooking up a job! Sort of.

The past couple of weeks I have been sending my resume into job adverts that look interesting in helping me gain the experience I crave in cooking. I won’t go into much detail but I am hoping to be employed by the end of next week. My biggest desire would be to work somewhere I can gain Red Seal hours.

From now until an unknown date I do not have internet. It can wait but it sure makes finding the available jobs and their locations much easier.

Wish me luck. And hopefully the next time we meet I can tell you about my new culinary position.

The Wimpy’s Diner Experience

Till the day I received my job as a cook at Wimpy’s Diner, everything I did in the kitchen had been supervised. Now that might sound con straining, yet it was never like that. I went to culinary school to be looked over, to have my big mistakes corrected so that I could perfect my skills. Now finally in a restaurant as a cook I was free to put my teachings to use.

The first few days of my job were stressful for different reasons. The day I withdrew from school I began handing out my resume to every restaurant I could think of in Bowmanville. It was my ultimate goal that I would continue my education by working as a cook. Only a few hours after doing so I had an interview and schedule to start the next day with the understanding that I was being tested to see how I would work out.

With little sleep I returned to work to act on the breakfast shift. Using what I remembered from the breakfast class I had in my first year of school I dutifully worked, asked questions, and felt genuinely happy. It took a few days for me to ask my boss if I had the job and was humorously told that if I didn’t I wouldn’t have been asked to come back the second day.

And from there everything took off. Many things my chefs had taught me I brought out and used at work. Number one being that presentation was important, and would I want to eat it? Often I have had compliments from my kitchen mates and servers that the food looked delicious. I even have had compliments from guests through the server, and in person.

Other lessons have been hygiene and knowing how to keep the food in a risk free environment. Not that Wimpy’s has ever been dirty, but more of me personally keeping my shift safe. Meats cooked to the proper temperature, food stored at proper temperatures and recognizing when something has gone off when others haven’t.

Additionally, after telling my boss about the individual mousse cakes I had prepared in class, she asked me to bring some in to perhaps use in the restaurant. After bringing her three flavours (chocolate, white chocolate, and strawberry) she fell in love and asked me to prepare them for service.

These past seven months have been absolutely amazing at helping me develop my strengths in the kitchen. I am now more confident, better at planning ahead, and have been told by my general manager that she loves that I don’t panic. At school I often felt intimidated by other students as they listed off their experiences in the kitchen where I had none. Now I can fully understand what they meant and have my own stories to tell.

I feel extremely motivated to climb the ranks in my career. Currently I am not even an apprentice, but with my husband and I moving off to Mississauga I hope to get into a kitchen that will help further my skills, and eventually return to school to finish my culinary management diploma.

With boxes beginning to pile up, and items being pulled from the cupboard, there hasn’t been much opportunity to tackle any extensive recipes. My future goal is to continue following the Wilton cake decorating class and become adept with icing. I believe each talent I add to my list will help further my culinary career and bring me to my biggest goal; running my own restaurant.

Well thanks for reading my current status, once we are settled in Mississauga I am going to begin posting about my creations, and hopefully that of a kitchen I am working in. Wish me luck!

**Edit** I forgot to mention, though I left in my second year I did apply for my one year certificate. Least I got something until I return!

Executing A Lobster

Well I knew the time would come, but it seems to have come too soon. Next week in my lab we will all be taking on the task of killing a lobster.

I can’t say I am looking forward to it. When we dismantled the sheep and the pig they were already dead, I didn’t do the killing so it was easier to distance myself from the creature that still had a face. Now the crustacean will still be alive and we have a choice of two methods to do the deed.

One is to drop it into a pot of boiling water, the second is to use my knife at the back of its head. We’ve been told the knife method is the most humane so that is the way I’ll go about it but I am extremely nervous. I know as I place it on my cutting board it isn’t going to look at me tearfully and beg for its life, but it is still alive and I feel a little uncomfortable.

Welp, I guess it is something I am just going to have to get over. If I ever work in a nice kitchen that serves fresh lobster it is something I am going to have to get over, might as well learn it now in school where we are all fresh to the experience.

As for cooking lobster, this isn’t my first time.

Last term we were in groups for lab and lobster tail was one of the recipes a pair had to make. Chef said we wouldn’t actually be doing it, but the product came in so I requested to cook them as well as the recipe I was assigned. So my partner and I looked up a recipe and quickly made it along with fish and chips and it came out looking nice.


lobstertail lobstertail1


I’d fanned open the tails and since we didn’t have any little cups we had poured melted butter over the meat. We also learned that we should’ve opened the tail wider so the potential customer could see what they’ve purchased for meat even better. I’m not a fan but the rest of the class seemed to enjoy picking it apart.

Well anyways, I am counting down to lobster day, wish me luck!

Turkey: Hate or Love it?

It might sound like an odd question considering our ovens are jammed with these fat birds at Thanksgiving and Christmas, but hear me out.

I do a lot of thinking on the Go bus. I spend many hours on it and you can only see the same house so many times before you regularly zone out. Today while I was thinking about what I’d write I started thinking about turkey. We eat it at Thanksgiving and at the end of the meal say, “Oof. I don’t want to see turkey again till Christmas.” Or people complain that they have so many turkey dinners to attend to because of family.

Now my thought is if you love something you want to eat it as many times as possible. For me it’s chocolate, for my husband McDonalds. And eat it we do. So why do we, North America, claim to love turkey so much if all we end up doing is complaining about it at the end of the meal?

Is it the bird itself we do not enjoy, the tradition we’ve brought upon our own families, or perhaps we hate ourselves for packing it in like we do the turkey ?

Well there is my food thought of Wednesday. I personally enjoy turkey but can’t imagine eating it any other time other than the occasional hot sandwich at family restaurants.

Dressing Up Food For Halloween

Has anyone else noticed those little cookbooks that come out around the start of October? They’re usually bright and coloured with pictures of Halloween symbols and images of food donned with Halloween decor. As a kid I loved them. I would get one every year or so and look at all the pictures of food I wanted to make.
Occasionally I did try a few. Simple things like a cupcake or a cookie batter that is shaped into something creepy. I had never tried anything very intimidating, like the cake pops decorated into mummies and witches.

Recently I looked through the books and wasn’t that impressed. It had nothing to do with poor recipes, but they just didn’t seem as special or tough anymore.

Before starting school I didn’t even try them because they seemed like they would be impossible for me to make, now I know they may take time for me to perfect but they aren’t something impossible. The whole purpose of the books is so anyone can follow along and make their own version of the recipe. Just about anything can be turned into something spooky, like perhaps making tortilla chips with herbs and vegetables to colour them black and orange and then adding guacamole for a dip.

Well I hope you have a great Halloween and make an excellent dish to eat!

Dining Out Constantly

This summer we finally celebrated our honeymoon and went to Disney World for a week with a free meal plan. I’ve never been on a vacation so long without a kitchen, and by kitchen I mean a propane cooker at a campsite. So I was pretty enthused about being able to try new foods everyday with our table service meals

Since my husband likes buffets I made reservations for a few. 1900 Park Fare, Hollywood & Vine, and Akershush. To my surprise, the first two I was displeased with and thankful we had the free meal plan. Both buffets seemed very similar. At Park Fare the string beans had way too much salt in it, and Hollywood the option of desserts were basically vanilla and the size of a sample cup. I felt the fee you’re paying for is that Park Fare is character dining, and Hollywood is available because you couldn’t get into the Brown Derby.

Now Akershush was pretty good for what I had. You order an entree and help yourself to appetizers. Since it was Norwegian cuisine I tried different types of cheese, salads and meats, but very little since I was excited for my meal; Traditional Kjøttkake. When the meal came I tried a bit of everything first. Norwegian meatball, mash potatoes, vegetables and lingonberry sauce. On its own the sauce wasn’t my thing, but mixing a bit with the potatoes was actually quite tasty.

For the rest of our table service meals we had plain sit down and order meals. We checked out Tony’s and The Plaza Restaurant. Both were excellent but my favourite had to be the Plaza. Great food, excellent milkshakes, and a nice view apart from the huge fence currently obstructing some of the view. For our quick service meals we checked a couple of places but regularly ate at our resort for breakfast or lunch.

Now even with all the good food available I really started to miss home food after a few days. It can be tiring dining out every meal with children screaming or people having extremely loud conversations next to you. And sometimes you want to say, “I want chicken pot pie, stuffing and mash potatoes.” But you can’t since they have chicken and fries.

So it makes me wonder, even if a restaurant makes really good food could I stand to eat there every night? Could you?