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Mel's New Bakery


melmck
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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!

Oh right! I meant to ask you about that! I was in Vegas for New Year's weekend and went running over to Bellagio to see the new shop (because it was advertised in the MGM/Mirage magazine)... only to find that it was still "under wraps." Very disappointed :sad:

Anything you can tell us about the shop? Will it be sit-down/takeaway? Just pastries or pastries/chocolates/ice creams? Tell, tell, tell.... ahem, sorry, calming down.

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If you do post about the new Bellagio Pastry shop, make sure it's in a new thread....it'll get

lost in this one. Neil, I hope you know how completely spoiled you are. Hee hee....if most of

the owners I've worked for in the past had a couple million dollars...it would have gone up their

nose or something....they never would have thought (gasp) to invest it back into the business!

They'd be drivin' their new Jag around and I'd be sayin' "Hey! D'ya think you could replace

my duct-taped RobotCoupe???"

Hey Mel!

How's business so far this month? I've experienced the typical huge January drop off. People aren't even buying my "health muffins". Bastards! Drop those resolutions already! You know you're going to.

At least it was a good time to schedule my hand surgery. :smile:

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January blooooows. It is painful and I am kicking everyone off the clock early. Saturday is still strong. All you dieters and pre-tax money savers, you'll be back by Valentine's Day!!!! bwahh ha ha you will be mine....

We feel your pain here in Northwestern Montana. Gangbuster Christmas then, WHAM! It's like everybody is hibernating, awaiting the coming of spring (alas, not until May up here). I can't blame them for hibernating - it's going down to minus 25 tonight. But still, you'd think somebody would want some fine baked goods.

We're having an "Islands Festival" this week, promoting eight days of "Carribbean specialties," like callaloo soup, Jamacian jerk chicken hot pockets and Meyer lemon and key lime desserts. It just started today. Like most shops, we're going to promote the heck out of Valentine's Day, but also will push Super Bowl Sunday and even Presidents' Day (how about "Lincoln Log" cakes, based on a classic buche?).

We'll hang in there if you hang in there!

Cheers,

Steve Smith

Glacier Country

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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!

Oh right! I meant to ask you about that! I was in Vegas for New Year's weekend and went running over to Bellagio to see the new shop (because it was advertised in the MGM/Mirage magazine)... only to find that it was still "under wraps." Very disappointed :sad:

Anything you can tell us about the shop? Will it be sit-down/takeaway? Just pastries or pastries/chocolates/ice creams? Tell, tell, tell.... ahem, sorry, calming down.

The shop officially opened today. There are a few tables for sit-down, but mostly takeaway. There's a full line of breakfast pastries/croissants/etc., many types of individual dessert pastries (I was "mister fruit tart" today), ice cream, chocolates, sandwiches, and crepes. Everything is made in-house from scratch.

Of course I don't want to hijack Mel's thread, so I'll start a new one next week when I've got photos.

O.k......I admit, if it wasn't for my spouse........I'd jump thru fire to work in a great kitchen like that Neil. Ohhhhhhhh photos, love to see them!

We're still hiring! :biggrin:

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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!!!

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!!!...

Funny you mention that... last month, I was offered PC of the hottest new place in town... dream job, new kitchen, notoriety, staff, etc. I turned him (the Exec Chef) down: he wanted me there til 10:30 or 11 p.m. (coming in around 2 in the afternoon). I'm used to the morning thing (not super early, usually I like to get in around 7 am), and it works just fine, because I have a family and have to get dinner on the table, monitor homework etc. for my kids. If I were younger with no kids, then for sure I'd do the late night thing (on second thought... then again, well, it WOULD have cut into my social schedule :biggrin: )

I actually told the guy he had "to find someone in their twenties!" His reply was that they weren't experienced enough... :blink:

I like to cook with wine. Sometimes I even add it to the food.

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Wow, simdelish, the hours run too late, that's too bad, sounds like a good gig.

I was just in Miami, investigating some prospects, nobody really even starts to go out before 8, very strange.

Melmck, it IS weird about the whole social life thing, you would think that 20 year olds would be looking at restaurant life for social scenes.

Oh, btw, sincerely hating the whole january"hey, that's great, cut my hours by 10 hours or so a week, that's really helping, especially since those people at that other job I used to have cut my hours by 100 or 150 a month" bakery blues.

I'm so out of the whole hourly pay scene, truely sick and tired of getting screwed by seasons and ups and downs.

2317/5000

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Tan, about the whole 20 years old thing living in the social scene, doesnt really work.

Take it from me, if your dedicated at 20 in this business you never really had a social scene. Since i was 15 years old I myself have been working 2-3 jobs at a time pushin from 60-95 hours a week. It gets to the point for work is life.

You Start to enjoy it though the farther you get along, passing all prospects the same age of you by with loads more knowledge, skill, and maturity.

I am also vey nocturnal (more or less insomniac) I only sleep like every 19-20 hours compared to the normal 15. And when i sleep i try to get 8-10 hours. I rarely fall asleep before 4 oclock in the morning, i always try to beat the sun.

Not too long ago i took a job with a friend pastry chef at a bakery to gain as much knowledge from him as possible. But i had to be at work at 3 in the morning, and im not use to going to sleep until 5. This caused major problems, I didnt sleep the first day and pushed through it. The secound day I was 4 hours late for work (the first and last time i was ever late for work, anywhere). I stayed on for a few more days before i realized that i couldn't learn very much or do a very good job if my sleep patterns would not follow suit.

Now that I'm in charge I pretty much work all the time and sleep whenever possible, ha. I guess you really have to have a love for the food and people around you to be in this business.

And I do very much, and always will.

Dean Anthony Anderson

"If all you have to eat is an egg, you had better know how to cook it properly" ~ Herve This

Pastry Chef: One If By Land Two If By Sea

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No quarrels with what you're saying, cg.

My point was more based around the restaurant view, in fact pretty much saying hat a bakery won't afford a younger person the same freedoms.

Someone like Neil (nightscotsman), whose "social" day would begin around 12 noon, would be less likely to be rocking into a bar to hang with some friends at 1 pm ( don't mean to assume, Neil, maybe you're a party animal!) than a person who gets off at 11pm and needs to blow off some steam or even talk shop with their chef, etc.Networking is important to just about anyone in the field.

When I started off as an apprentice, a career changer very not used to the hours, with all of my friends finishing their evening when mine was just beginning, I ended up having to start my "day" at 11:30 pm, just so I could say something other than "oui, chef" or "caliente, maricone", to someone, know what I mean?

Totally into the dedication you speak of, just for most people, all work no play usually spells not long for that job.

2317/5000

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Totally into the dedication you speak of, just for most people, all work no play usually spells not long for that job.

I think that's true Ted.

I think we all start with that dedication, but the reality of the profound unhappiness having such a limited life style makes you wake up. The only people I know who haven't "woke up" and gotten a life are so depressed it's sad.

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I think we all start with that dedication, but the reality of the profound unhappiness having such a limited life style makes you wake up. The only people I know who haven't "woke up" and gotten a life are so depressed it's sad.

Pastry Chef Burnout? Yep. Been there twice. Not only is it hard on oneself, but it's harder on those around you. I learned the hard way that one must have balance in their lives. For me,

it was a matter of learning to say "no" and not feel horribly guilty about it......

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Oh, yeah! Neil is a huge party animal! :rolleyes: But he did stay awake long enough to make it through dinner with Fred and I when we came to visit last summer. It will have to be lunch next time, huh? :biggrin:

Pamela Wilkinson

www.portlandfood.org

Life is a rush into the unknown. You can duck down and hope nothing hits you, or you can stand tall, show it your teeth and say "Dish it up, Baby, and don't skimp on the jalapeños."

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Oh, yeah! Neil is a huge party animal! :rolleyes: But he did stay awake long enough to make it through dinner with Fred and I when we came to visit last summer. It will have to be lunch next time, huh? :biggrin:

Yep - since I now go to bed at 3:00 pm and get up at Midnight so I can start work at 2:00 am. And starting this week, the restaurant dessert team will be working six day weeks with one day off for a "weekend". The overtime pay is great, but we REALLY need some help. Ted! dude! Vegas is calling!

Actually the weird hours haven't been a big hardship for me. I've always been a bit of a loner, so the lack of social life is not unfamiliar. And I haven't hung out in bars since I was in my 20s.

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Actually the weird hours haven't been a big hardship for me. I've always been a bit of a loner, so the lack of social life is not unfamiliar. And I haven't hung out in bars since I was in my 20s.

That's what I'm talking about.

In your 20's (I was in my 30's but I was a musician AKA 'Kidult') that's what it's about. Generally.

Man!

3:00 PM, huh?

I dig that you're one of those people who like to be up for an hour or two before work.

I am too, most of the time.

Like to watch some news, catch some internet, etc.

BTW, Vegas is very interesting to me, currently not to my family( the missus), unfortunately.

I do like the restaurant scene a little more than the bakery scene, although your situation seems pretty darned boss!!!

2317/5000

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I'm pretty much a loner like Neil too. My life is very unusual. I have the luxury of knowing 50% of the people that walk through the restaurants front door, so i socialize particularly while working. Once I'm off I can't stand the sight of people. So i don't mind working a little more. I always tell myself there is so much out there to see and learn, and the harder I work the better chance I will have to move later on to another place and take in a new experience. Through experience I have noticed knowledge is power. I don't care who you are or what you do, the more you understand what you are doing the greater your life will turn out, and for me I continue to feel less resistance and stress, even if i pull a 20 hour shift. The shift flew by because i knew what i was doing at all times and knocked the work out, one thing after another.

So in a way the excitement I get from life is what accomplish in it. And if that means I am not getting wasted with my friends at a bar all ngiht, thats fine with me. I don't need to take a girl home everynight, or do the party scene with my friends all the time to be happy. It's just who I am, i still havent met a similar person and thats fine. My friends still like me and they don't get upset when I chose work over play.

Dean Anthony Anderson

"If all you have to eat is an egg, you had better know how to cook it properly" ~ Herve This

Pastry Chef: One If By Land Two If By Sea

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cg and I are clearly on the same page. now for my next can of worms...how does working like a freak of nature affect your marriage/partnership??? an issue I am struggling with currently. I have no time now for anyone, anything except bakery related biz. Haven't seen my friends for a year unless they come in. when I see my family, they too have to come in, I am a zombie. bluuhbluhbluh is about all I can express.

I had another customer come in who has been reading this here blog, and she was very cool and we had a good chat. I said that sometimes I feel like I may be coming off as negative. I am a very optimistic person, but when you are whupped it is hard at times. She said she appreciated my raw style of expression, and I said , that's the whole point. There's no sheen of Apricot Glaze on this baby!!! I am wrting it like it is. I sure hope as we progress that I will be saying, we had to pry the cash register open with a crowbar, because it was too stuffed with 20's!!!

Spent the majority of my week on the floor trying to relight pilot lights in my water heaters. They both died. $1500 later...better than $1900, anyway!. Now I can spend time doing what I need to do. Did I mention the ice storm, and replacing freezer door hinges for $350? or one employee in the hospital with heart problems, and another who busted her shoulder falling in the ice storm??? :laugh: Fuckin' A.

Melissa McKinney

Chef/Owner Criollo Bakery

mel@criollobakery.com

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You need to find a Husband and friends like me and you, open a business together.

That way you'll see them too much and complain you never get time alone, HA.

Isn't life grand.

I guess life is what you make it. And i know what you mean, im pretty optimistic myself, but people think when you describe the lifestyle that you live it seems as if you should be a bitter person. But im not, im not.

Dean Anthony Anderson

"If all you have to eat is an egg, you had better know how to cook it properly" ~ Herve This

Pastry Chef: One If By Land Two If By Sea

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Just so no one gets the wrong idea, I'm not endorsing partying, etc..

It can be a rite of passage for many.

chiantiglace, are you French?

I agree that the feeling you get from knowledge, experience, when you look at your day and don't have to freak because you can practically see it all unfolding by the hour in advance.

The craft requires dedication, patience and love for it.

For many, the hours, etc., get to them.

As you saw, bakery hours, work is damned hard.

2317/5000

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"You need to find a Husband and friends like me and you, open a business together.

That way you'll see them too much and complain you never get time alone, HA."

yep, yep, and yep.....there's Being together and there's being Together...

I'd like to be together with my couch, bed and TV alot more. Re-establish our relationship.

Melissa McKinney

Chef/Owner Criollo Bakery

mel@criollobakery.com

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