In addition to my current class, final, and projects, I've had to start cross-training for my next class, which officially starts on Friday.
The next class is referred to as Back-Of-House (BOH) Cafe Operations. The Apple Pie Bakery Cafe is the last stop for all baking and pastry students for the last six weeks before graduation. Three weeks are spent in the BOH and the last three are spent as FOH (front) or servers. Personally, I do not find these next classes particularly valuable as I have worked in a few bakeries before and have been a server. Plus we are not getting paid to work! Free labor! The food cost and packaging costs the cafe racks up are also ridiculously unrealistic, but the food sells here because of our school name. It's good, just expensive and labor intensive.
We've got a few stations in the BOH and we sort of got to pick which one we wanted. Of course, not everyone would get their first choice. There is a Breads, Pastry, and Savory station, each divided into smaller individual stations. You do your own duties with no partner (yes!) and get through the day quickly.
My first choice was to work on the breads station, and I got put on the "baking and finishing" station within the breads department. Sounded good on paper, except for the hours. 12am to 8am or until we're finished? I am going to seriously have to work on my sleeping schedule!!
Today and tomorrow we have to cross-train so that we are completely prepared for Day 1 on Friday (it's a production kitchen, and they don't want to lose money on mistakes, so they work us to the bone!). Not fun (or fair!) when you still have to go to class afterwards from 7-130pm!
Yesterday I tried in vain to get a good afternoon's sleep in preparation. I fell asleep for probably an hour and a half, and then spent another four hours trying to get some shuteye to no avail. I just could not fall asleep!! I gave up and somehow made it through my day today (no doubt thanks to many prayers! thanks!!!) - 13 hours of "class time". Wow. And tomorrow I get to do it all over again! Hopefully my tiredness will carry over because right now it feels like I'm running on E.
My station will be a busy one that may take some time to get the hang of. I am in charge of two convection ovens, so all the other stations deliver their product to me, I set it up on sheet pans, glaze or eggwash it if necessary, and organize some kind of oven schedule to get everything baked correctly. Each item has its own specifics - temperature... does it get steamed? Does it need to get vented? Does the temperature get dropped? How will I tell when it's done??? A lot of unknowns and guesswork to be sure. The gal that trained me did an okay job, and I guess we'll see what happens tomorrow. After some of the products come out, I've got to garnish or glaze or finish them in different ways. Today I baked off all kinds of cookies, danish, pastries, brioche, croissants, and cinnamon rolls. It is a lot of product! Hope I don't burn something.
Clearly the key to success at this station is going to be a good night's.... I mean afternoon's rest!