It’s All Energy- Personal, Physical, Financial, and Deciding Where It All Goes

If there is one rule I’ve learned that has radically transformed my life, it’s the Ten Words that form the heart of my book “Blood, Sweat, and Butter-“

You Always Have Time For The Things You Make Time For.”

The collary and counterpart to this best expressed with the phrase, “Where attention goes, energy flows.”

That doesn’t just mean your personal energy… and your bank account will tell you it’s not just some freaky woo-woo stuff. The sooner you learn about where you are putting your time, your attention, your money- in other words, your energy, the sooner you start making wiser decisions about it.

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Baking 101: The First Lecture

If you were to teach a semester of classes on something you do for a living, what would Day 1 consist of?

For the last year or so, especially as I’ve started doing Live Bake-along videos on Facebook, I’ve played with the idea that the next step in my culinary career might be teaching- and if the last two years of training and mentoring apprentices at the bakery has shown me anything, it’s that I’m apparently not bad at it.

The other day while chatting on my lunch break, my manager mentioned that she had taught baking at a community college for a semester as adjunct faculty. While she didn’t necessarily enjoy it (my manager confesses that she does not have the patience for teaching,) the $4000/semester paycheck made it quite a lucrative side hustle for one six-hour class a week in addition to a full-time income baking professionally.

After she brought it up, I found myself wondering what I would say on the first day to a class of new, inexperienced students. You can consider this a companion to my open letters to new culinary students and graduates.

Here we go:

An empty college lecture hall
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Less Tasks, More Missions

Good afternoon, friends and neighbors!

I’m a big believer in the power of routine. It encourages good habits when you have a daily mindset of “A, followed by B, followed by C…” In my case, my mornings consist of:

  1. Wake up.
  2. Eat breakfast- a bowl of cereal, some protein and a cup of vegetable juice on work days, a more involved breakfast on weekends (say, a loaded omelette.)
  3. Meditation practice, minimum 15 minutes.
  4. Shower, dress, depart for work.

I go through the steps, everything I want to get done gets done, and I’m on my way.

Routines are, however, by their nature a structure. Structures are, by custom, rigid and also encourage rigid thinking. Every now and then, it’s good to “shake it up” and learn to “go with the flow” again.

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Snapshots of the Bakeshop III- The Night Shift

Good evening, friends and neighbors.

The last time I wrote a “Snapshots,” I was working the morning bake shift. Since then, I’ve taken over the completely opposite end of the day- evening pastry prep.

I’ve gone from managing the oven and getting the bakery off to a good start each day to watching it slowly empty out, till I shut everything down as the last man left.

If you’re wondering what a bakery looks like as the day dies down, here we go.

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The Heart of Life- 5 Lessons from the Kitchen to Take Anywhere

Good evening, friends and neighbors.

The bakery was going through a spat of high turnover. New hires were either leaving, vanishing, or simply showing themselves not up to handling the work. It was becoming disheartening, frustrating… and more than a little exhausting. “Many hands make light work” kinda relies on there being “many hands.”

In the seven months I had been working for the bakery, I’ve had to train six people in my station as the morning baker and “ovenlord.” The work is not especially difficult- the specifics of it can be written down or memorized quickly, and the skills involved can be mastered with practice.

When our production manager started wondering aloud how they could train employees to make them better, and more quickly- I suggested they all learn my position first. While the specific knowledge and skills of the morning bake are easy to learn (I actually wrote a teaching aide/cheat sheet to help people who got lost), the most challenging thing for a new person on the shift to learn is something they can take anywhere in the kitchen- or in life: time management.

clear glass with red sand grainer

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