Saturday, November 26, 2011

Is it a dream, or a nightmare?

Lake Chocolate
 All summer and through the fall, our mantra at work has been, "Just make it through October."  October has always been our busiest month at the farm.  No one is allowed to ask for time off, and whining is definitely frowned upon.  In the bake shop, we've been four people short for most of the summer and early fall, and spent most of this fall training new people.  We've started having trouble remembering our staff's names, simply because we've gone through so many!
  But we made it through October, and it hasn't slowed down.  Sure, there was that one day with 29 guests, but they let in "outside diners," folks who don't stay at the hotel--usually employees--come in and eat without giving us notice.
  We're really happy the sales team is so good that we have secure employment in these troubled times, don't get me wrong! We're very thankful for our fabulous jobs.  We're just tired!  We want vacation!  We just want to stop working so darn much!
Bonbons, bonbons everywhere!

Well, it's starting to happen.  We have one more new team member starting Monday.  We are finally going to be fully staffed, though that actually means more staff than we've ever had in the bake shop.  Yesterday, I actually had two people doing what is usually my job!  I had time to spend all day in the chocolate room, something I desperately needed to do.  And Krissy was able to just make bread, something she hasn't been able to do in a long time.  This morning, she and I will have time to sit and schedule and plan for the next week.  Occupancy is low, but at the end of this next week, something very exciting happens.  Francois Payard, a very famous pastry chef, is leading the cooking school, and I'm going to be his personal assistant!  Woooohooo!  I'm terrified/delighted!
  So, I need to prepare now, by making enough turndown chocolates for the next week and a half.  No one else on my team knows how to make them, and I simply haven't had the time to teach them.  Our new team member learned to make chocolates in Switzerland, and I'm so looking forward to her help, but she has a lot to learn first about us and the farm before I can lock her in the chocolate room!  Just kidding, Liz!  I'll let you out for bathroom breaks!  
  Yesterday, I filled the tempering machine to the brim and let her rip!  I made four flavors of chocolate bonbons:  Kahlua, red wine, caramel apple and rosemary-lemon.  Today, I'm going to temper some milk chocolate and make Bailey's, peanut butter and marshmallow.  And if I have time, I'm going to temper some white chocolate and try to duplicate that amazing texture in the peppermint Hershey's kisses.  How do they keep the candy cane bits crunchy in the warm chocolate?  I will attempt to find out!
  But all night long, I dreamt of the chocolate room.  It was a disaster when I finished all those chocolates, and dark chocolate does not clean up easily.  The machine was the worst; much hot water and dish soap was used, and many, many towels.  So I relived that mess most of the night!  Dream in chocolate?  Oh, yes.  Yes, I do, and it's not quite as pleasant as one might think.  Milk and white chocolate are so much easier to clean up after.  They're just not quite as delicious!
  But now, it's out of the jammies and into my work clothes.  Everyone have a wonderful T-Day weekend!  Stay out of traffic jams and fights over big screen t.v.s!  Hug your family members and enjoy this beautiful late-fall weather!


Theresa said...


I was tired and worn out by the time I got to the end of your post. It has been a long haul for you and everyone at the farm. I am SO GLAD that there is help on the ay. Who would have thought in this economy these jobs would have ben so hard to fill!
Wishing you many many long dreamless nights of sleep with lots of days spent in leisurely pursuits.

LA said...

How exciting! I know you are looking forward to cooking school! You are smart to get your chocolates done now so that you can enjoy the experience.

Roxie said...

Oh bravo, you hero! I am SO impressed! You totally rock, and you will totally shine in pastry class!

Tina J said...

I am so glad you are now fully staffed! Maybe we will see a little more of you now!