I’ve bake before but from the comfort of my home. When I entered a professional kitchen for the first time I was amazed. It is incredible all the equipment that is available in the market to make a bakers job a little bit easier.
For me it was the beginning of a new page on my life. My Professor looked very serious and very Professional as well. Many people did not like him because if we need anything wrong he will freak out. I told many of them that I did not see anything wrong with that. Professor Ridel always aimed for perfection. He wanted his product to be of the best among the rest of the classes.
I learned a lot from him and even when he was tough he was really caring. He made sure that we understood the terminology and the processes needed for our production. He made me love baking even more. I wanted to go out and explore every single bakery I came across with.
In this class I made different mixing methods and techniques. Some of the products that we made in class where pies, cookies, different types of breads, pound cakes, etc, and every single one of them was delicious!
I work and go to school full time. How I handle both surprises many and sometimes it surprises me too. I started working at Grandaisy Bakery two and a half years ago. Luckily for me, my brother was working in the company as well so it did not take me long until I got used to the rhythm of things.
The bakery is a Italian style bakery which is known for its rustic Italian loaves. The bread is awesome. Most of the loaves have this great crunchy crust and very moist and soft crumb (I feel like eating one now). This place have over 250 wholesale accounts in New York City and chances are you’ve eaten this bread.
I loved my job since day one. It is a face paced environment that requires a great deal of customer service. People constantly come in and out for coffee and bread. When I started working here I was not on the Hospitality Management major so the way I viewed my working place was different. At that time I just wanted to help people for a pay and a good tip (I am being honest).
My brother had told me that people in the company was expecting a lot from me because I was “Daniel’s sister” and by people I mean the GM and the owner. He was a great worker and the owner loved him. That put some pressure on me the first day but I guess I like to work and “justify my salary” so nobody complaint about me not doing anything like some people do when arriving to a new working environment.
After I started the hospitality major I realized why certain things where done in certain ways. Why you greet people when they come in and out and why even the owner was so friendly to everybody. It had a name and is was called Hospitality.
People noticed at work that I was being extra friendly they asked why and I explained what Hospitality was about. Some gave me weird looks and some said they did not have time for that. I kept quiet and kept working I knew I was doing the right thing. Helping people and providing then with a great service while giving them their morning coffee was all that matter to me. I am not going to lie some customer are very irritating but is through them that we get pay.
I used to look forward to my weekends not because I had the weekends off but because I knew my day was full on familiar faces from our regular customers. Now I am working in the office as a production assistant handling wholesale accounts and customers. I do not serve coffee any more; I pick up phones and make deliveries happen 🙂
At some point I wanted to be a Pastry Chef and open my own business but as I continued learning more and more about the industry the ideas I had have changed quite a bit. I still love the pastry arts and I love to cook. I enjoy being in the kitchen and providing people with hand-made happiness.
Having a business is not easy. Most restaurants or businesses that open in New York City close their doors after a year or two in business. Do not get my wrong. Do not think I do not have dreams or ambitious, i do but I would say I am scared of failing and failing is not cheap In this city.
I once dreamed of having a small pastry shop in which you could find delicious treats. Something small yet cozy and comfy in which guests will feel comfortable. I imagined a place where regulars have a name and are greeted as family. I wanted the smell of the cookies baking to be perceived within 2 blocks distance. That to me is the perfect business but like I said the journey is not easy.
When I finally graduated from high school in 2011, after being pulled back to the 12th grade, I went straight to college.
Years ago I had decided to become a dentist after being discourage by my mom. But, when I started college I did not know exactly what I wanted to do with my life. I chose Liberal Arts as my major and I studied in this program for about 2 semester. Even though Liberal Arts gives you general education for a broad of careers I felt like I was not doing anything. After my first two semesters I decided to change my major to the Dental Hygiene program. There are pre-requisite classes a student must take in order to advanced into the program. At that time, acceptance into the program was determine with a GPA of 2.8 and above. I finished all my classes with a GPA of 3.2 and I needed to wait for a letter from the chairman determining whether or not I made it into the program. Unfortunately, my GPA of 3.2 was not enough to make it and I was asked if I wanted to be considered for the waiting list of the following year. I was very dissapointed..I felt like I had waisted my time, effort, and money and that all I got in returned was a closed door.
I always wondered what was going on in the second floor of the school’s general building. I always asked myself why the walls where white and different from all the other floors. I had the sense that it was a floor for very special people. Then, I discovered it was the Hospitality Management Department floor and my heart dropped. I had enrolled in Citytech not knowing that the school has a Hospitality department. I switched my major one more time and this time I knew I would be the last one.
Luckily all the credits I had obtained from LAA and dental hygiene had transfer to the Hospitality program. Here is where my journey begins.
It all started 15 years ago, when I met this man that had passion for food. As an eight year old girl I became his little sous chef. I would come back home from school and I will ask excited “what are we cooking for dinner tonight?!”.
Sometimes my mother will get upset with me because she said I did not let her boyfriend rest and he was supposed to be on vacation. He used to say he did not mind and he loved cooking for us. I was amazed at all the energy this man had. He would cook breakfast, lunch, and dinner, with no complaint, and he would put so much passion into every single dish.
His name is Sank Ek, at that time he was the Executive Chef at the Palm Restaurant in Washinton D.C. I never imagine I would meet such a wonderful person. He loved my mom and he loved me as well and of course he loved the fact that I enjoyed cooking with him.
Every single trip to the supermarket was an adventure. For me at the age of 8 it was awesome to buy items I had never shop with my mom before. He would buy different kinds of cheeses and cold cuts I had not had before. Everything was a new experience and it was awesome, I loved it! He is the kind of chef that does not make sweet desserts. Dessert for us was cheese and wine. I was drinking wine at the age of 8 of course just a sip here and there with my mother’s supervision but it counts ☺
Sometimes all you need is a person that enlightens you’re path like he did for me. Unfortunately, he is not with my mother anymore but we are still in touch.
Today I am a Hospitality Management Student because of him. He showed me to appreciate the little things in life; good food and beautiful people is all you need to create a memorable experience.
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