Friday, April 9, 2010


If you follow this blog, you'll recognize this scene from this winter.  The last time, it was snowing, the mountains were bare, but it was just about this gray.  I didn't quite capture the "smoke" drifting across the mountain, but the green is getting pretty intense.  The mountains are all turning about fifty shades of chartreuse.  I'd say this is my favorite time of year in the Smokies, but that would be shortchanging the others, which I also love.
   The other day, I said I'd be coming back to blackberries and greens, but the rain was pouring down buckets when Jeff, the gardener came in, and we decided Saturday would be better for picking greens.  Then, I had a long meeting with my two bosses, and instead of cooking berries, I cooked numbers.
I had to completely redo my pricing structure of all the products I make.  When I went to culinary school, I learned to make all types of lovely pastries and creams and doughs.  I learned to work cleanly and alter basic recipes and design beautiful platings.  I learned flavor contrasts and textural differences.  It was lovely.
  Could it have been the language barrier?  Did I miss it when the chefs told us how much time we'd spend in front of a computer?  When you think of chefs, do YOU picture us at a desk, crunching numbers?  How about a bunch of us sitting around in our chef's coats, looking ready to cook, instead trapped in a long, boring meeting?  Well, that's part of the job, too.  Fortunately, while some of us are in meetings, or slaving over a hot laptop, some of us are busy making treats.

After the meeting, I went to get a cup of cocoa--it might be spring but it was cold in my kitchen!--and Krissy showed me ham and cheese croissants she was proofing to bake for lunch.  Katrina had just pulled a polka dotted cheesecake out of the oven, and Krissy had some lovely bread finishing.

I was able to blaze through the price restructuring, thanks to the cocoa and croissant, and was on to the 170 pounds of granola the gift shop ordered.  That's 4 batches of the stuff, but I could only get 3 batches done yesterday, by making two 1 1/2 times batches.  Trust me, it's a lot of granola.  And by the end of the day, I simply hate the smell.  Today, I will bag and jar it up and send it off.  People from all over the country will be eating my granola, which is kind of cool.
Katrina and Krissy are responsible for the beautiful breads and pastries shown above and served all day at the farm.  They do an amazing job, cranking out goodies from too early in the morning until way too late in the afternoon.  Krissy was the bread baker when I started at the farm, and has learned so much about bread since I've known her.  If I ask her a simple question about sourdough, she immediately goes right over my head!  I have no idea what she's talking about!  But I know her bread is amazing and gorgeous.  Katrina was our extern from the CIA a few years ago, and when she graduated, I begged her to come back.  She now makes all the lunch desserts, and invents new ones every season.  I miss working with them both, but get to go over to their kitchen and visit whenever I need some coffee or a missing ingredient.


Tina said...

I can almost smell the bready-goodness through the computer screen! Yum!!!!!

LA said...

This seems to be true in every "job" we have: there is always something we don't like to do that is necessary for doing what we love to do!