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Mel's New Bakery


melmck
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Isn't that awesome??? Thanks!! I think the sexual slant on the article is hilarious too, one of my best friends who is gay said "You just won over every lesbian in the city!" I guess to be fair I'd better make the men moan too..... :raz:

Melissa McKinney

Chef/Owner Criollo Bakery

mel@criollobakery.com

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We are slammed!!!! To quote the dorky McDonald's phrase, "I'M LOVIN' IT!!!!"

also I broke my toe last weekend, dropped a peel full of bread, it smashed straight down. Yeeeouch. Oh well, no time for that shit!! Yep I kept on working without stopping (not an option) :cool:

Melissa McKinney

Chef/Owner Criollo Bakery

mel@criollobakery.com

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I now operate at 200 miles per hour, we are so slammed- nonstop, trying to keep up no time to pee eat rest or anything :wacko:

Danish , croissant flying off shelves, Polenta bread too--- see the power that journalists and editors have?? lunch biz slammin

I am terrified of Easter! I know it's gonna be like Christmas Eve, and last weekend was already like it!! We are doing Christmas numbers, everyday. This is fantastic, I can pay my bills, this is scary, trying to keep up. this is adrenaline, pure adrenaline

Melissa McKinney

Chef/Owner Criollo Bakery

mel@criollobakery.com

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Easter - oh, man. You wouldn't think Easter and Vegas would go together, but apparently in many people's minds they do. We're already seeing orders from restaurants spiking, and we've turned one of the chocolate desserts for the shop into cute little bunnies. The local press has been running stories about the shop, so I'm sure that'll drive numbers up as well. They seem especially impressed by the six foot tall, 190 pound chocolate Easter Bunny that the chefs built.

I was trying to remember what business was like last year for Easter, but then I remembered we didn't have ANY business - that was the weekend that the power went out at Bellagio for three days! Goodbye Easter brunch.

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You go, girl! Hang in there and keep swinging.

Hopefully, once the Easter "spike" is over, the level of new business you've gotten from the holidays and the article will justify adding a baker AND GETTING SOME DOWNTIME....

Damn, it'd be nice if you could do that at such an early stage.

“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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Neil, can you disclose any details about the 190 lb bunny? How'd he do it? etc....

It looks like this:

gallery_5180_630_32612.jpg

They built it like they would a regular showpiece - mostly basic molded pieces like cylinders, spheres, eggs, etc. The finished piece is very impressive, but I have to say in the early stages it looked mighty creepy. Oh, and the car and bunny to the left are all chocolate as well.

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whoa- now we are trying to keep up! we are making Danish and croissants like lunatics- I did 22 patons Saturday!! Sales are fantastic and getting tons of new people in, all happy too. I worked 120 hours last week, to keep up with sales and having lost my Frenchman. And his replacement, he's gonna leave too -got a better offer with more benefits and doesn't have to start at 3am. that's right, so now when I am at my absolute busiest running my ass off I don't have enough people. so in between running 200 mph I am trying to find more people who aren't just damn culinary students who say 'But I can learn!" sorry, kids....

so it is good overall, because it means I can afford to pay dem bills.

I am averaging 4-5 hours of sleep a night, basically I wake up shower work go home eat shower bed repeat. There are certain folks out there who are driving me nuts by saying "that's no kind of life"blah blah blah hmmm, think I want to work this hard? like it? glutton for punishment? masochist? oh yeah, maybe it's because I have tons of debt, want to make money and kick my husband's ass out of here so he doesn't have to come in here and work 4 hours everyday after his job. I am doing what has to be done, and it seems to be working because I had 310 customers in one day. For a little place with 8 tables that's not too shabby!

Melissa McKinney

Chef/Owner Criollo Bakery

mel@criollobakery.com

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Yowza! Over three hundred customers/day in a neighbourhood bakery is DAMN good. I'm in downtown Pedway Hell, with office towers all around, in a place that serves the only decent takeaway hot meal in the vicinity, and we get maybe 1200-1400 on good days.

What's your average sale/transaction coming in at?

I have given your address to a couple of people who'll be vacationing down that way soon; they'll be passing it on in turn to their resident friends and relatives. Unfortunately, I don't know any experienced bakers who are looking to move Stateside.

Hell, I'd settle for finding one who'll take a graveyard shift here in town. I'm soooo tired of having my teenage night baker underbaking/overbaking a couple hundred dollars' worth of product every week.

“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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Find an enthusiastic young person and it might prove suitable for you. If they enjoy it they might be willing to devote good amount of time plus it will be a long term investment for yourself.

I love graveyard shift.

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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oh, chiantiglace, can I clone you? it seems we are simpatico in attitude. !@#$&* A, people, there are harder things in life than getting up early! If I can adjust to a grueling schedule of tons of work and little sleep you can get up two hours earlier! Criminy!!! It is also fascinating that in an area that has had the highest unemployment in the country for years, those seeking jobs will still turn something down because they have to get up early. I guess welfare and state funded aid is easier??? So I'm a workaholic. I do have a few fabulous employees that I have to kick out the door so they don't get overtime, they would work and work til all was done if I didn't shove them out. I love these people! They work like I worked when I was someone's employee. You sure can spot the 'do the bare minimum' types...

ok, tired going to bed.........................

Melissa McKinney

Chef/Owner Criollo Bakery

mel@criollobakery.com

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oh, chiantiglace, can I clone you? it seems we are simpatico in attitude. !@#$&* A, people, there are harder things in life than getting up early! If I can adjust to a grueling schedule of tons of work and little sleep you can get up two hours earlier! Criminy!!! It is also fascinating that in an area that has had the highest unemployment in the country for years, those seeking jobs will still turn something down because they have to get up early. I guess welfare and state funded aid is easier??? So I'm a workaholic.  I do have a few fabulous employees that I have to kick out the door so they don't get overtime, they would work and work til all was done if I didn't shove them out. I love these people! They work like I worked when I was someone's employee. You sure can spot the 'do the bare minimum' types...

ok, tired going to bed.........................

Sorry to bust your blog but, while I agree that getting up early isn't the worst thing in the world to me, it doesn't work for alot of people.

YOU have a vested interest in tons of work and little sleep, it's your business.

And exhaustion + adrenaline feels just like being coked up to me.

It's addictive.

It seems like you're having trouble replacing the French guy, and you have my sympathies.

I'm sure he worked his ass off and then some.

The question I have for you is, was there something you could have done to keep him?

Give him benefits if you weren't already?

Anything?

Are any of these people you don't want to pay overtime to capable of picking up the slack?

Could you put them on salary?

Only saying this because at some point, no matter how amazing you are, your body will break.

It happens.

A very good friend of mine, a workaholic, driven freak of a chef, was doing this kind of stuff for years, and finally woke up one morning unable to move one side of his face and indeed, that half of his body, like Bells Palsey meets a stroke.

He had a week in the hospital.

Ditto my French friend in the bakery.

Same kind of thing, except it affected his brain like a viral infection, and he spent a week in the hospital and another week in bed at home, and it wasn't because he was a wimp or a pussy, it was because he worked, like a PIG, 12, 14 hours a day, even more, for his boss, for 4 years straight.

He's 28, was making better stuff then most anyone when he was 17 or 18, and knows hard work.

And the thing that really galls me, is that stay in the hospital, will be his vacation time this year.

And if that guy left that bakery his boss would be SOOOOOO up shits creek, because he would NEVER find another person who would do the same quality of work for him, in those kinds of conditions, for that amount of money.

2317/5000

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yeah, yeah, yeah. it is all my decision and my business, I am well aware of that. I do not expect anyone to work like me.I can even look back on past jobs where bosses did expect that, give your life, blood,sweat and tears. It's a freakin' crazy business. I am a workaholic. I do dream of the day I can spend a few days soaking in the hot springs at Breitenbush and become a new person again. (That's what happens!!)

I know those concerned (lots of people, friends, family) say oh you can't do this....I say, well do you want to volunteer to work for free? take the load off since you are so concerned? hmmmm beleive me I am always thinking of ways to make production more efficient.

The 3AM thing is a big issue right now, I am looking at schedules and thinking how can I revamp the bread schedule.

As far as Frenchy leaving, his best friend lives there and it was a financial move, making double what he could make in Portland. I can't compete with that, and he did say if it wasn't for the $$$ to be made there he would never leave. sigh...

I remember once on my last day of a job, where I worked 6 days 14-18 hours, this bratty intern asked me why I was leaving "Do you need something more challenging?" bwah ha ha ha ha...no, kid I want something that is cake....

Melissa McKinney

Chef/Owner Criollo Bakery

mel@criollobakery.com

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Do you retard the bread?

Make it like you normally do, but at a more civilised hour, up to the point where its shaped and part proofed. You can then put it in the refrigerator for up to 24 hours, and then take it out and bake at your leisure. Some people prefer to let it warm up to room temperature before baking, but I prefer to bake from cold. You may need to adjust the proof times a little.

You can also retard at other stages, if it suits your schedule better.

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Thanks. Here is what we've been doing:

8AM make levains for 2 types bread

3PM mix the 2 doughs

give turns for 1 1/2 hours at room temp

Bulk retard overnight

3AM Put doughs in proofer mix 3 other doughs

proof shape bake all done by 7:30

Melissa McKinney

Chef/Owner Criollo Bakery

mel@criollobakery.com

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Try a batch this way:

Why not shape at say 5pm, then retard in bannetons or the like.

Bake directly from the retarder at, say 6am.

I prefer the crust from doughs retarded this way.

Not sure this helps with your other doughs, but maybe you could also make those the night before and retard.

Baking is a tough life...anything that helps get another couple of hours sleep must be worth it...

Edited by jackal10 (log)
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your not working yourself to death as I see it. You are making a name, an investment. One day you might get all the excitement you want out of your bakery and sell it to a neive rich guy for 10 times what you put into it and spend your remaining life in subtle haramony moving in and out of realestate making what you need.

Or maybe everything will work it self out and you'll pass your bakery on to your most prized heirs.

Whatever the plan for future, the steps there should remain constant and everyday I pray you wake up with an inner appreciation for your hard work. That is by far my number 1 goal in life.

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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your not working yourself to death as I see it.  You are making a name, an investment.

I think we all tell ourselves that, that is what we all are doing.

BUT I think only age/experience having done so can help you see the really bigger picture that Ted and Confiseur are eluding to....and there is a bigger picture Chanti.........I promise one day as you grow older (age wise) you'll see it too.

Life passes you by so fast. Grab a hold of it and play too. Goals aren't always achieved, people don't always get recognized, making money doesn't equal happiness or success. Pat yourself on the back, reward yourself, realize that what other people think isn't as satisfing as what you think of yourself and how you lived your life. Don't you want to be remembered as who you were and how you shared with others, more then what you achieved, what you sacrificed?....maybe it's just me.

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Thanks for adding that, wendy.

I was going to say something about age and C.G. but ....

Seems to be a contest of who's a hardass 'round here sometimes (yeah, I got mangled by my 50 qt Hobart yesterday but I just threw my arm in an ice bucket and worked 17 hours anyways!!!)

2317/5000

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Don't make a mistake of what I'm saying as that I'm not a hardass too. You have to be in this business. I'm a pretty tough cookie!!! Sometimes I laugh to myself when I read what someone else has posted as a "hard" day.

Everyone hates a whiner! But I'm sitting here at my desk writing, sharing my honest open hearted thoughts, based on my experience. I did that 24/7 thing for 10 years in the catering business..........sure I can brag about stuff too.........but what does it really mean in the end? nothing.........

Teds right!

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