Honestly, so much of this week as felt like people trying to find the slowest possible way to rip off a Band-Aid.
As I write this, work at the bakery is slowly becoming more dire. Our staff AND wholesale contracts are dwindling, and it won’t be long before I receive a call that- arguably- should have been weeks ago. A call saying I should stay home for the time being, and perhaps find other work.
I wouldn’t be alone, to be sure. An enormous chunk of the current record unemployment claims are culinary and service staff, trying to figure out where to go next.
Fortunately, whether we all realize it or not, our experience in the kitchen has drilled an assortment of hard and soft skills into our minds- and those who used to look down on “burger flippers” would be wise to hire us while they can.
Good evening, friends and neighbors! Only a short blog post this week because I spent much of the afternoon doing this months Live Bakealong, and, for reasons I’ll soon make clear, this week at the shop has been a bit more demanding than usual.
Long story made short, the bakery is hiring on more people- and I will be training and directing them. There are a couple large contracts coming down the line, and I will be leading the Pastry Prep team.
I am getting a team that I will need to train and organize. It’s exciting, and I’m thrilled. Now I just need to stop being terrified.
Not long ago, I decided I was going to go on a bit of an Eastern Philosophy bender and read all the texts I could get my hands on.
It may have been my state of mind at the time, or just a desire to spend more time reading interesting stuff and less time trawling social media.
In the past, I’d read and re-read several Buddhist texts- a couple sutras, the Dhammapada, and the Buddhacarita. I’ve also previously read (and love referring back to) the Tao Te Ching and Dogen’s “Tenzo Kyokun.”
In this latest push, however, I decided I was going to tackle some of the more well-known works: Sun Tzu’s “The Art of War”, and Yamamoto Tsunetomo’s “Hagakure.”
It was… a lot, and it got me thinking-
“Why do we look to books on war for lessons on life?”
Mentoring has become a bit of a catchphrase recently, hasn’t it?
A buzzword, thrown around by people in suits at “networking” events where attendance and business cards are expensive and the beer is cheap.
What do you think of when you hear that word? Most people probably think of someone they met who’s a bit farther along in their field and gives them their number for when they get in a tight spot.
In the kitchen, “mentor” means something fundamentally different. It’s the difference between learning a business and learning a craft.
It’s one huge reason the culinary industry is still around- and it’s not straightforward or easy.
Ok, so I’ve been sucking a bit at updating (except Instagram- that’s annoyingly addictive.) Sorry about that, but part of the reason why? I finally got a job out here.
The job is at a restaurant and caterer, where I was hired to be a “relief baker.” Since their banquet season is in full swing, however, and since I have pretty decent kitchen skills OUTSIDE of baking as well, my job has more or less been catering prep and cooking. All in all, not a bad gig.
The experience of having a non-baking job for the first time in a long time got me thinking. About now, many culinary schools are ending their winter semesters, and some of my colleagues may be graduating, throwing themselves and their fates into the industry.