Saturday, May 1, 2010

bread, pizza and fine dining

Saturday morning, sitting in the Culinary Centre here at GM. The windows of the kitchen face east, and the sky is perfect blue, and we are watching the sun rise up over the distant downtown skyline, very cool. I understand it's warm and dry back home, great for the farmer's market. I also understand that we have a lot of cakes for this weekend, sure to create a lot of tension this afternoon.

Yesterday's practice was very good. Folks who haven't been thru getting ready for the Coupe, really don't understand this is a long, long, hard process. Every year it gets harder and harder to do things that haven't been done before. It's tough to create products that bake nice in a unit that weighs under one hundred grams and the same shape piece to bake nice, in a three hundred gram unit. On top of that you need to do five different doughs, create seven different products, finish in eight hours, meet your weights and keep clean. Very stressful. Jeremy did a great job yesterday, it's only his second practice. He had two pieces I thought tasted great. One large piece of criteria. He didn't do much finishing of his pieces, but that's ok. All in time, I don't want him to get discouraged. Many have walked before him, we weren't any further along than he is, at this point. Folks walk in here, at the end of his day, and say "This is it? This is what there is after eight hours?". Be there in September, in Vegas, pass judgment on what is presented at that moment. Take a look at what the judges see at the end of his eight hour bake there. That is what really matters.

Last night Harvey McLain hosted a huge party for the guild at his bakery, Turtle Bread. Helluva nice guy, always very giving to the guild, a great supporter of the NBC, in it's day. Harvey is not a baker, he's a corporate guy. He has Solveig Tofte running his bakery. Solveig was the bread baker on the 2008 team. Right now she is very active with the team that we are getting ready, she also sits on the board of the guild. Nice bakery, nice product. In the same building. they have a fine dining restaurant plus a wood fired pizza oven, with seating. Quite an operation. Lots of baker friends turned out, lots of GM folks. Bakers exercise unmatched fellowship. We all know what each other goes thru. It's really tough being a producer and a retailer, especially dealing with a hand made product that relies on the elements of nature, and has a limited shelf life. We are very unique.

Gotta check on Jeremy, make sure he's on task. I see he's rounding brioche dough. He has to produce twenty, traditional brioche au tete, plus twenty braided brioche. They all must weight between forty and a hundred grams. But, whatever one weighs, they all have to weigh. Godspeed.


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