Hello, out there! This is a new adventure for me, and I have to admit, I'm incredibly excited about it! For the past 15+ years, I've ping-ponged from foodservice job to foodservice job, kitchen to kitchen, serving tables, mixing drinks, arranging salads, firing pizza, assembling sandwiches, making bread, and of course, endless hours of washing dishes.
I've wriggled my way through every position in some previous kitchen jobs, quite literally from prep/dish duty, to pizza-making, to the sandwich line, to the front on the bar, onto the floor, and out the door. I lasted nearly a year at that job before the management started corrupting the tip splitting system. This place was a cafe with a full kitchen and a brick-fire oven for pizzas; it was fun to work in. I learned every single position in that place and in the end, I was overpaid. They awkwardly pushed me out and alienated me when there was nothing left for me to learn. By the time I reached this point, I was worth more than they were willing to pay me, so I left.
Thankfully, I immediately bounced back. The cafe across the street snatched me up and I was shocked at how much I would find myself bringing home in tips. I more than doubled my income and reduced my hours, easily. Essentially, I repeated my mistakes from the previous job, overextending myself, soaking in every position, making more work for myself. Except this time, I took it further and made my way into a management role. I expanded our in-house bakery, introducing cupcakes, brownies, biscotti, and more, all made by us (the cafe). I prepped and rolled thousands of breakfast burritos, I made dozens of quiches and thousands of scones. It was successful and felt SO good, especially when I hired on help to take over and learned that my recipe card-writing skills aren't all in my head! I lasted at that cafe for over 9 years. Something similar happened with a big shift in the dynamic when the owners became more involved during the pandemic. So I gave it some time and eventually was ready to move on.
In my final years at that cafe, I also juggled working in a neighboring bagel kitchen for a while. Making dozens of bagels every morning at 5:30 is almost worth it when you keep a couple for breakfast. In addition to a routine bagel-bake at the crack of dawn, I would somehow get sucked into a job feeding and portioning sourdough starter. It was meant to be temporary, a favor for a friend. I couldn't tell you how that turned into over a year of nearly being the exclusive "starter ball girl". It wasn't all bad, on the contrary, I felt fairly well-compensated for what I was doing. Still, I learned quite a bit and gained a lot of experience with sourdough around this time. Without realizing it, I was building up my culinary skill set.
Fast-forward to 2021, I joined a local pastry kitchen and learned the art of laminating dough and rolling croissants! By this point, I had been baking and cooking fairly consistently for over 10 years. I had established an intimate relationship with certain concepts in cooking and baking, so I absorbed lamination like a sponge. I became obsessed for nearly 6 months, and by the time 8 months had passed, I felt like I had arrived. I received some incredibly flattering compliments on a
particularly good batch of plain croissants, even the owner of Breadtopia offered his appreciation. Somehow, the same, exact pattern emerged as with my previous several jobs (am I the common denominator here??) and I wasn't going to tolerate anything that makes my life unnecessarily more stressful than it is now! So here I am, spilling my story on a forum that has yet to see any visitors, on a website still under construction. And you know what? I love it here. This is my new happy place. I'm ready to have this experience for myself.
Regardless of whether this little corner of the internet finds many friends or visitors, I'm so very happy to be doing something that I truly identify with. I just want to document my journey, collaborate with anyone to finds it stimulating or entertaining, and create a space where everyone can feel confident that they're capable of making anything they see. At the very least, I hope my children can appreciate it when they gain an interest in cooking.
If you've stuck around this long, thank you for reading! I look forward to all the creativity and curiosities to come!