5 faux pas pastry/culinary questions

May 13, 2012 § 3 Comments

I haven’t been in this industry long enough to be called a pastry queen, but like many others we suffer the day to day long hours slaving in restaurants earning just about peanuts. Getting by enough to feed ourselves or a short holiday treat but attaining priceless skills and experience. I often get really annoyed when my friends asked me questions that are hard to answer. Understanding that they have no idea what the back of house crew life is, I quietly and patiently reply, well sometimes. Other time, I just ignore.

So here is a list, yes a darn list of no-no or what to expect when asking these questions to your culinary friends.

1. When is your first official day?
There is no such thing as a first official day, unless you are in an organizations like hotels, or food chains , or grocery store. The day you step foot in for an interview might be your first day, or a trial to test your abilities, they could tell you to come back or yell “get out” pronto.

2. When is your last day?
Same goes. If you mess up a plate and your chef is under immense pressure, don’t even try to apologize. A cook once told me, there is an exit door at the back and another through the dining room. A plate can be flying towards your direction, so just do them a favour and save the drama, walk out on your own. Also, on a bad day, you can be terribly exhausted with the work load and pressure, you might walk out and realize hey, I can do better.

3. When is your day off?
Definitely, not the same day as yours. Your holidays are our busiest moments. We don’t celebrate until service is over. Cupid might strike you on Valentine’s day but the arrow comes straight towards us and over our heads. Our days off are your working days. The irony of this industry is like oil and water.

4. So you are a chef, when can you cook for me?
Most of us cook for passion, the pay is low, hours are long and often cooking is a way to show appreciation to others. Thus, don’t ask, just go to their work place to show support and try the food.

5. Have you tried this/that restaurant?
Sometimes, we like our friendly competitors very much but most of the time, we aren’t available to try other delicious food! Unless, one works in a company which lavishingly bring you to other places to eat. I remember staging at a place and it was wake up, head to work, get off work, head home, run errands maybe or catch up with sleep.

Like any other job, balance is essential. Find time for family and friends, take a trip to somewhere new, try a new or old hobby, sleep in (do it more often) and reward yourself. For others who know professional cooks or bakers, be more understanding please? For being in a heated environment for hours, getting paid peanuts and getting a text after a 10 hours shift “why haven’t you replied me?!” is quite, exasperating.

Please feel free to write in any more questions or comments about the f&b industry.

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§ 3 Responses to 5 faux pas pastry/culinary questions

  • midnitechef says:

    My first job was a busperson in the local hotel where I grew up. Not a starred restaurant for sure, more of a seniors hang out (and I’m not talking about high school). Dealing with grumpy customers with a smile is hard. Working during the holidays, not lounging with friends and family, is hard. Passion for food, that is the driving force. While all I prepared were side toasts and salads, I could see everything that happened back behind the kitchen doors. It’s usually insane chaos, or maybe that’s only in less organized kitchens, nevertheless it’s busy and HOT.

    Kudos to y’all who make the world a delicious place!

    • bakeanything says:

      Hey Heather,

      Thank you for putting your words here. I appreciate it very much. I figured a group of us people deserve to be known as it is very frustrating behind the line, despite the fun and laughters that happens occasionally.

      We still have a voice nevertheless. It’s not a glamourous job and there is no need for any grandeur from others. Just respect. (:

      • midnitechef says:

        And working under a chef means taking what ever they throw at you, literally and figuratively 😉 I truely admire those people, such as yourself, and my aunts and cousins who are in the same field. I’ve made my own culinary space in my kitchen at home to sell breads and cookies. Just spent Friday night and all day Saturday baking for Mother’s Day! But it’s what I want to do in my off time from the 9-5 job because it’s rewarding for my soul 🙂

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