A baker adjusting to a foreign kitchen

We are coming into our last week and it’s a little bittersweet.  We feel at home in the kitchen and are starting to have some sense of belonging.  We’re becoming an integral part of the team.  We’re here to work and learn when we come to stage, not expecting to make friends who you actually intend on keeping in touch with.  Kobe, the Chef, is like a friend to all his staff.  His attitude is so refreshing.

As for the pastry side of things, I am learning a lot.  I had never heard of speculoos or melocakes, and both are specialties of Belgium.  It was a little harder for me to adjust to a kitchen than Justin since I had spent the last year in a bakery.  I had to reteach my feet to handle standing in one spot all day.  (The first week I went home almost crying my feet hurt so bad.)  I had to readjust my  brain to work in restaurant mode.  In a bakery, you’re constantly following a schedule, and if you lose a few seconds, that could add up later in the day.  In a restaurant, the deadline is service (or staff meal).  How you get there doesn’t always matter.

Recipes that I bring with me don’t always work as they should here since the ingredients are all from different sources.  It makes you realize that everything is very regional.  Bread in one city with the same formula is never going to taste the same as the other in another city unless they import their water, control the yeasts in the air, have the same humidity, use the same flour, etc.

Hospitality here has been incredible.  Not sure if they were just raised better or their culture just demands it.  It reminds me a bit of my parents.  They always want to make sure I’m doing good, slept enough and ate well, etc.  Here it’s the same way.  We are considered as guests and they want to make sure we slept well, ate well and feel well.  I’m starting to think I’m one of those guests that never want to leave.

Karen

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About Justin

We cook, and bake at Oxheart Restaurant in Houston, TX. www.oxhearthouston.com
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One Response to A baker adjusting to a foreign kitchen

  1. Diane says:

    Glad to hear things are going well over there. What ARE specaloos and melocakes? Reading your blog makes me yearn to explore and new city and leave Texas again!

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