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Mel's New Bakery


melmck
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good times, bad times, you know I've had my share...

this bakery life is very hard. all you folks out there that think, gee it would be so fun to have my own bakery...think hard on this. I've been in the business 20 years already,am quite used to the daily stuff and am finding it harder and far more stressful than I ever imagined. and to all the peeps that say"you knew what you were getting in to" it is actually impossible to know until you have walked a mile in the proverbial shoes.

there is so much illness going around right now, all the employees are getting sick. so far I have eluded the bug, I think my body is always running on adrenaline these days, and say's"oh no you didn't!!" to viruses and germs.

I got Christmas day off, which was lovely, and have decided to close on New Years Day. I just don't think it will be worth it and I am going to snatch up the opportunity to rest.

So what do I do, to handle all off the stress, etc.? I just keep plugging along, moving forward and try to do my best each day. Make my customers happy. Make the employees happy. Make the ghost happy etc...

I go to the hot tubs when I can, and I do believe a massage will soon be in my future..

Melissa McKinney

Chef/Owner Criollo Bakery

mel@criollobakery.com

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Melissa, it sounds as if you've amazing strides in the months since you've opened. I hope that 2005 is very successful year for the bakery.

"Some people see a sheet of seaweed and want to be wrapped in it. I want to see it around a piece of fish."-- William Grimes

"People are bastard-coated bastards, with bastard filling." - Dr. Cox on Scrubs

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...this bakery life is very hard.... there is so much illness going around right now, all the employees are getting sick. so far I have eluded the bug, I think my body is always running on adrenaline these days, and say's"oh no you didn't!!" to viruses and germs.

In a previous life when I was a an office supervisor - I unashamedly made a big deal about germs - would simply not allow people to speak up close & personal with me - and why is it especially when someone is sick they want to whisper and brea-hhh-th all over your face??! But I digress, I lavished communal work areas with lysol spray, I used an air cleaner in my cube, I recommended everyone use lysterine regularly.

I kept those clorox wipes in my desk and wiped faxes, phones & copiers down daily - and it worked too. A little dot of antibiotic ointment just inside each nostril.

I know this may sound weird or something but I don't have a very efficient immune system and this kept me and most of my people from getting sick when it started to circulate through the department.

They have that 'Airborne' stuff now too - developed by a former school teacher to prevent the spread of 'stuff.'

Especially since you deal constantly with the public ('past' and present) and you're often running on fumes, Mel, consider being aggressive with preventative measures.

signed,

Mother Hen :rolleyes:

Edited by K8memphis (log)
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O.k.........I have to admit a bit of quirkiness in this area too. My husband and I frequent the same local diner every weekend for breakfast. Every weekend the owner shakes hands with everyone there (thanking them, which is nice, but...) spreading god knows what among all of us. We both go nuts when the guy wants to shake your hand while you in the mist of eating. We want to jump up from our seats and wash our toast holding bare hands.

Anyone have a good, yet very polite cure for this? We pretend to get engrossed in conversation and not notice the poor guy, that just doesn't feel right.

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...Anyone have a good, yet very polite cure for this? We pretend to get engrossed in conversation and not notice the poor guy, that just doesn't feel right.

I say something like, "Oh, I'm fighting off a cold and I don't want to spread anything." And I'd be squinching my face like I was disappointed all the while squeezing my own hands together so there would be no opportunity presented. At that same moment, your husband could cough into his hands or you could say, "We are fighting off a cold..." Just keep mentioning health concerns passively and in an effort to 'protect' him. He'll catch on. And say hello with your facial expression and a friendly nod but drop your hands - keep them in your lap.

Or maybe something like, "Oh, good to see you btw we've been asked to help recruit volunteers for the TB sanitorium where we just got off duty" :laugh:

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Wendy, couldn't you just keep some antibacterial hand wash in your purse to use after he has passed your table? It doesn't require water.

Don't wait for extraordinary opportunities. Seize common occasions and make them great. Orison Swett Marden

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I think it the antibacterial stuff CanadianBakin' mentions is called Purell - I bought some when they had a little promotional bottle attached to a larger one. Keep the little bottle (like a sample size) with me all the time. Comes in handy! It just disappears into your hands, no sticky-ness after you rub it in.

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I can vouch for what Mel's relating to us about the "dream of owning a bakery" v. "reality." I used to think I wanted to own a bakery since I absolutely love to bake (especially breads). I had that idealistic view of what it would be like---get up early, bake wonderful breads, sell wonderful breads to happy customers... Then reality struck---last summer I ventured out to bake in a local artisan bakery that opened last year. I filled in for the owner/baker who took two days off a week (but still came in everyday). She has my same love of baking but I learned that I don't want her life. She works constantly and is endlessly stressed about the business, employees, not making ends meet, her lack of time with her family, etc, etc. I just can't see her doing this for a long period of time---I don't think her body will hold out. I still fill in for her when I can and enjoy it from afar but have decided that owning a bakery, for me with kids, would not be a good choice. I wouldn't want to do that to my kids.

However, I'm glad that others make that choice to take it on because I wouldn't want to see that art lost. I love bakeries and am so thankful that people put in the time and work that's required.

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there are many people out there who don't want my life and say so, on a regular basis. yes, this was my choice. will it be endless? who knows? all I can do is keep moving forward. Will my body crap out? probably not, it's been doing this for 20 years. Will my brain crap out? probably...insert your own sarcastic comment here:________________________

the whole thing brings me to a point- when you are pastry cheffing, you work your way up, through small places, through hotels, catering, fine dining establishments(hopefully the hip, happening ones) maybe you are lucky enough to travel, have a great education/stages/apprenticeships but unless you do competitions or work for the most famous places in the world, you hit the glass ceiling. Then you decide, OK do I want to keep moving laterally or continue to take pay cuts just because of the way the market is, quit this game, or OPEN MY OWN BAKERY?????

Melissa McKinney

Chef/Owner Criollo Bakery

mel@criollobakery.com

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  • 2 weeks later...

here's a topic that is sure to elicit chuckles... bakers who don't want to work early in the morning!! what the hell is up with that?? and they are all in their 20's!!! this should be the prime of their energy, stamina, ability. I have one employee who has real 'issue' with it. and the early shift is only 5AM for crying out loud! not like it's 2 or 3 or 4. sheesh!! I just interviewed someone else who seemed perfect, then said, "oh, I don't want to get up early. I am not into that!" so why be a baker/pastry chef????are you people not aware that that's when we start???? early morning??? unless you work late night factory jobs or dinner-only restaurants, you ain't gonna find it...crikey!!!...

Melissa McKinney

Chef/Owner Criollo Bakery

mel@criollobakery.com

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Laugh at me all you want, but I can't do early shifts. I can't be responsible for early am employment over any stretch of time. Lord knows I've tried over 40 years to be an early riser but it's just not programable in my biology. I can turn off an alarm then talk to you and not even know I've done it. BUT on the other hand I can start at a reasonable hour and work endlessly without complaining.

Is there no way you can juggle your scheduling? Change around a few tasks........... If you can't think of away, just ask someone like me. I can always find a way to rework schedules/timing so I don't have to wake before the birds.

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Yeah, it takes a sort of special mentality to dig that whole 4/5am start time.

As a pastry chef, I never really start before 8/9am.

But one place I worked was so small that I had to start early as hell and be pretty much getting out of there before 8am and that's how I started getting into that rise before dawn.

I was pretty enamoured with it for awhile but getting pretty sick of it now.

But, one would think that "Bakers" would know that that's pretty much the lay of the land,eh?

2317/5000

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People have different physiological scenarios. We all have what are called "circadian rhythms;" different times of day when we are at high or low energy levels. This is why some people are morning people, while others are capable of little more than a grunt until noon.

Personally I am nocturnal. During periods of extended vacation/illness/unemployment, when there are no external stimuli to keep my schedule regulated, I invariably gravitate to a noon-4AM cycle. That is to say, I wake up happy and well-rested at noon and I can run flat-out until about 4AM, then sleep until noon.

My current job requires me to be up at 7AM, and I work from 8-5; but the only reason I do that is to have time with my family in the evenings. I am dopey as hell in the mornings, and while I function at a pretty good level, it's all based on adrenaline and routine. I start to be fully functional in the late afternoon, near the end of my shift, and hit my highest level of alertness and function round about midnight. That's when I have to go to sleep. :angry: I haven't been really well-rested for about 4, 5 years now.

Traditional cooks' hours, aside from the family angle, are not an issue for me. Graveyard shift ditto, I'll do that until the cows come home. Starting at 5AM, on the other hand, would be a huge struggle. I guess that's why I trained as a cook rather than a baker.

“Who loves a garden, loves a greenhouse too.” - William Cowper, The Task, Book Three

 

"Not knowing the scope of your own ignorance is part of the human condition...The first rule of the Dunning-Kruger club is you don’t know you’re a member of the Dunning-Kruger club.” - psychologist David Dunning

 

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I forgot to say, and chromedome, you just reminded me of it,, that since I got blown out of my PC gig, and am only working in the bakery, no 2nd gig, I'm more tired then usual.

My adrenal glands have atrophied in only a week.

Pisses me off!!!

edited to add...

After giving it some more thought, would anyone else agree that 20 some year olds, especially guys, would find the hours probably cramping their style?

As in social life, girls, etc.?

Having to go to bed at 8/9/10 to get to work at 4/5am seriously screws that up.

Edited by tan319 (log)

2317/5000

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interestingly enough- that's one of their issues- social life. I guess I always viewed paying my bills as more important, (and establishing a career as well) but if you can find a way to have it all, rock on wit yo bad self! Party on.

Scheduling our lives/work is one of our daily challenges .

Yes there is science behind our body chemistry- my husband, the physics major, will point out fact/fiction/flaws/misconception til the cows come home. "Well, that's not entirely true...blah blah blah.." studies show that studies show that studies show, etc. I'm teasing a little here, he is my fact man and I love it!

my solution to all is good coffee, coffee, and more coffee.

Melissa McKinney

Chef/Owner Criollo Bakery

mel@criollobakery.com

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Yeah, man.....I have had so many weird ass hours as a baker/PC it ain't even funny.

I also gravitate to the Noon-4am thing naturally.......if I have time off, I always revert to that

schedule eventually.

But UN-naturally, my job calls for me to get up at 3:30 am and I'm done by about 1 pm or 2 if I'm lucky. I'm STILL not used to getting up that early and never will be. But I do, and I'm pretty good at getting to bed by 8pm........actually, I usually fall asleep by then whether I mean to or not!

Good thing I don't need to worry about my social life.....it's already over......I'm married. :raz::raz::raz::raz:

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If you shuffle that 2:00 am shift to midnight- I'm fine, I can work all night, just can't get up in the morning...........cause I can't get to sleep at night.

My spouse starts at 4:30 a.m. but that's like a natural time for him to wake. He's always telling me that half the day is gone before I wake. But then at least I can stay awake for Monday night football.........so I get to poke back at him. Nothing fun starts at 4:30 am on your day off and when your friends want to do something you can't stay awake late enough to be any fun.

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Nothing fun starts at 4:30 am on your day off and when your friends want to do something you can't stay awake late enough to be any fun.

Tell me about it... At the rate I'm burning through movies from Netflix, there won't be anything new to watch in about 3 months. Go out to dinner? Sorry, got to be in bed by 5:00 (well, more like 3:00 now) :sad:

I actaully volunteered for the time shift so I could work on stuff for our new pastry shop - which is supposed to open today, after about a month delay. I'll post photos as soon as I can get them. Wait till you see what kind of pastry shop several million bucks can build!

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