Well, hallelujah! This day has come and, as I sit contentedly writing in the dark, nearly gone. The angst that accompanied today was tremendous. I was prepared, had done all my homework the night before and Lord knows, I know my way around in a kitchen, but I was so so nervous. You see, this is a really big deal. This place is hardcore legit. People who leave here go on to amazing careers. All over the world. The kitchens are vast, equipment everywhere and you don't know where anything is, everything is unfamiliar and there are rules, rules, rules, responsibilities, duties, rotations of all kinds. And lots of very sharp knives. I was overwhelmed.
I got in early and started assembling my ingredients and got real good, real fast at weighing flour, sugar and butter in grams. Apparently, it's the most accurate way to weigh your ingredients. Especially for baking. My order of work was filled out in what seemed a reasonable timeline and I never once referred to it. I just am not a linear thinker. I'm a big-picture, visual type. Hectic and nerve-racking as today was, I made it through. My teacher, Richard, is great. He was always there when I needed something and showed me what I didn't know how to do then let me do it. That's my scene, right there. Monkey see, monkey do. 🐒
Little by little, when I'd need a bowl or a whisk or a whatever, I'd find it and felt a little more like I belonged in this unfamiliar place. That strung out feeling when I'm out of my zone really marks me. I need so much to feel a sense of belonging, where ever I am. Slowly but surely, I'm getting there.
When I was finished making my French Onion Tart, pastry and filling, Fork Biscuits and Heirloom Tomato Salad, I then had to present it to Richard and serve him a portion on an appropriate-sized plate with proper flatware laid out too. He told me my tart pastry was "perfect" and the look of the tart itself, see photo above, "was beautiful." His only comment was that it could have stood a little more salt. That floored me because when I was seasoning it, I tasted it once and it clearly needed more salt. I added more and thought, "OH BOY! I've done it now...too much salt." So, that is such a subjective thing, seasoning...I've got to get a handle on what's "properly salted" in this world's eyes.
Another thing I learned today is color means flavor and obviously black is burned. But, when my tart should have been done, according to the timer, the color of it was blah and just eggy-custard and wan-looking. Richard said to move it up in the oven so it would be closer to the element and watch it like a hawk to brown some. When it was set out at lunch time, so many of the other teachers said what lovely color it had. I was one proud tart-mama.
In the end, Richard graded me generously and complimented my organization and attention to detail and artistry in putting the tomato salad together. 🌟 Exhausted as I was and every nerve on its end, I was buzzin' and felt a slight shift in the Universe. You know how when you first try something and you complain, "it's so harrrrd!" In a whiny voice? Then, when you really get your arms around a thing you say, "You know, it's really quite hard..." but one eyebrow is raised and your tone is one of confidence. There's so much yet to learn and do, but tonight I can thankfully say, my confidence level, however fledgling, is rising.😉
Tomorrow is cheese lecture day! I can't wait! 🧀