Sunday, November 28, 2010

Block 7: Week 2 - Cakes

We started our first real week of baking on the cake station. We made yellow cake and chocolate cake and decorated them, cheese cake, carrot cake, pineapple upside down cake, and jelly rolls.

Chef Larsen has a very strange marking system. Basically you have to make each item at least twice during the week. The first time you make it, the best mark you can get is a 7 out of 10. The next time, you can get an 8 or a 9 (to get a 10, it has to be outstanding, so I don't think he actually gives out 10s). But if you get a 6 the first time, the best you can get the second time is a 7, and the third time can improve to an 8 or 9. He doesn't provide any guidance on how to complete your tasks throughout the week, as long as you get each item made at least twice, or more, if you need/want to improve your marks. The main problem with the system is that he doesn't offer any feedback on how to improve, and the marks are somewhat arbitrary as he doesn't always even see the products before they get sold in the market.

On Tuesday, I volunteered at a dinner at UBC. There were so many students involved that transportation was provided in a tour trolley. It was very strange. And cold. There were two parties - one upstairs was a sit-down plated three-course dinner, and the larger party downstairs was just passed canapes. I got to work the upstairs party, which was good practice for Block 8. We set the table up, served drinks, served the food, cleared the table, and served coffee and tea. The food was amazing - lobster bisque, beef tenderloin, and lemon tarts. Once we were done upstairs, we headed downstairs to help with that party. The tour bus ride home was pretty entertaining, with the two guys in my class who were also there singing the whole way home. We also went out for a drink afterwards. The night ended a bit emotionally, but all worked itself out the next day at school.

This weekend, I had my first performance review at work. I was nervous - I've never had a performance review for a cooking job, so I didn't really know what to expect. It was mostly just a conversation with my chef and sous chef, and they didn't really have anything negative to say, which was good. The main things I need to work on are my sense of urgency (I'm a bit too laid back I guess) and asking more questions. I was pretty struck by how similar the review was to previous reviews I had at my actuarial job - I put myself in a totally different experience and I'm still the same person deep down. Interesting.

Next week - yeast station.

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