The Understudy Pastry Chef Goes On

Two months ago, I started in a new position as a pasty cook at an upscale hotel.  While a mere two months may seem like an inconsequential period of time, it is said that God created the world in a jam-packed six days and Santa Claus visits all of those houses in one wild night.  So, perhaps the meaning of time is relative.   For example – the two hours I spent compiling my paperwork to go to culinary school was a very different two hours than the time I spent watching re-runs of Petticoat Junction.


Since my arrival at the new job, there has not been a single Petticoat Junction minute – The hotel was taken over by new ownership, all employees (including myself) re-interviewed and reapplied for their jobs, the Executive Chef quit, the Pasty Chef quit, I was re-offered the job I had just begun, I was pulled into a manager’s meeting, I now regularly attend manager’s meeting, and somehow, someone put in charge of the pastry department.   Between breaths, I’m repainting the apartment.


It was only last week that a line cook came into the bake-shop and simply said, “Oh yeah, the pasty chef is quitting.  Also, the other pastry cook called in sick.”  I said, “Good morning to you too,” slowly got over the shock, and started to work.   I was the understudy and the kitchen still had a show to preform.   I guess I was going to play a supporting character for a while.


Time has become this unbridled and wild thing.  Each nanosecond is packed with a new recipe, a new name to remember, a list of ingredients to order, a meeting to attend, a hotel guest to serve, a banquet to plate, and a wedding cake to design.  Meanwhile, the entire kitchen – chef-less –  is swimming in a stock-pot of chaos and uncertainty.  From the sous chef to the dishwasher, everyone has a twinge of crazy in their eyes as we pass each other through the kitchen.  We also know that we’re all in this together – even if the ship goes down.


Despite the fact that I’m considerinh bringing a cot to work and the sous chef has begun joking that I’m taking a half-day when I leave the premise after a solid 10 hours, the prospects are exciting.  A new dessert menu is on the horizon and it appears that I may be designing it.   Plus, every weekend is full with two or three wedding cakes that I get to add to my repertoire.  For the first time, I really feel in charge of my own spoon.





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2 responses to “The Understudy Pastry Chef Goes On

  1. jermel strose

    Hi my name is jermel and I’m in trying to get into culinary school for years but I simply can’t afford it so I was looking to see if anyone is Welling to hiring unpaid understudy or intern so I can learn more about the pastry arts

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