Workworkworksleeptraintubebusworkworkworkbeerworktubesleep…Or the one about the Commis and a pictoral week at work.

You’ve probably guessed by now that I try to be as diplomatic as possible. I don’t like confrontation or getting in the way or expressing emotions or being a bother. I want to pastry chef, eat croissants and drink coffee, walk in the sun and stare a pretty buildings, and read funny books by sad, dead people. I’m not complicated. I don’t like drama.

You’ve also probably guessed that my job is not especially…hard. At all. C was run off her feet when she was at the Brasserie because the Gods decided to overwhelm London with people January through May. And as the man who I suppose is the Food and Beverage Manager at the Hotel said yesterday during a very boring second-quarter meeting, AND THEN JUNE HAPPENED.

What happened in June? The Jubilee happened. And the Olympics happens in 3 weeks FOUR DAYS (I obviously wrote this a while ago). So why are there no people?


Sorbet trio: Apple, Passion Fruit, Raspberry.

The Stats on what the Olympics does to cities that host it should be enough to deter anyone from the bid in the first place. The Olympics cost an insane amount of money and everyone stays the hell away because they don’t want to be bombed or try to maneuver through busy streets or overloaded transit, and they certainly don’t want to pay inflated prices on everything. It usually takes about 20 years for a city to pay back the Olympic debt. This is why I think Olympic Island should happen. So the games stop destroying the great cities of the world.

But this isn’t a rant about sporting events.

The hotel is dead. The resto is dead. I am bored out of my mind. Normally, quiet bouts are when you work on developing new dishes, but the reality is that I am responsible for spending in my section and I certainly don’t want to throw someone elses money away just because I want to play around.

On top of this, I still have a commis. Lord knows why.

Diplomacy, I must exercise diplomacy…

Raspberry Sorbet with it’s Coulis and Sorbet. Again with the raspberry, sigh. Good height, though…

The Commis Situation is tough. Or rather just frustrating. I never work with the commis because they are cutting down on hours. Now, I feel like because I run the section and I moved across the sea and Im the one with the experience and I don’t live with my well-to-do parents that I deserve to work as much as possible, but maybe I’m just being selfish.

Commis attended culinary school.

What they taught Commis, I have not yet figured out.

The problem is less that he doesn’t know how to make anything and I have to remake things when I get in at 3pm. The problem is not so much that he fell in the walk-in fridge and dislocated his knee and cannot really walk or stand so anyone working with him must fetch everything for him, and he cannot essentially do all the things commis are meant to do (clean fridges, run around for the Chef de Partie – this guy – organize the freezer).

My most recent special: White Chocolate custard, Strawberry-Rhubarb Compote, Crunchie White Chocolate, & Lemon Mousse “Fool”.

The problem is not especially that because he is on during the day, the commis is the one that talks to the chef about everything, and that he knows the executive chef better than I do. It is mostly that, because we don’t work together and I don’t like confrontation, every time he fucks up, I can’t bring myself to tell him. And I certainly can’t show him how to do anything. So he keeps doing things wrong, and I keep fixing them, and the head chef keeps going on about how this kid is a prodigy, and I want my head to explode.

On top of that, everyone takes the piss out of me because I’m “never at work” and they work 5 doubles a week. The irony is in being nicknamed Arthur and running out of money in the first week of the month. This is a worse money-making scheme than deciding to become a chef.

A dish from the Fine Dining leg of the resto (Im in Brasserie, there’s a Michelin Star resto down the hall, both under the same celebrity chef name) — Chocolate Crèmeux, Peanut Mousse, Lime Granité, candied peanuts, and Caramelized Banana.

OMG the Kent Strawberry Tart is still happening and I still hate it with all the emotion I can muster. 

I asked the Commis to come up with a dish that would be easier to plate than the Kent Strawberry Tart that is à la minute make-my-head-explode on saturday when I have to plate 50 of them all alone because COMMIS DOESNT WORK ON WEEKENDS BECAUSE OF HIS KNEE. I asked him because though his execution leaves a great deal to be desired, his ideas are good, thought they need tailoring, and he’s English, so he knows what English people want to eat after they eat roast beef and potatoes.

Eton Mess with Melting Espuma. The melting part isn’t referred to on the Menu.

He came up with Eton Mess, which we have on the menu. He said he didn’t like that one. I explained that he can’t re-do a chef’s dish while the guy is on vacation, and that there is a chain-of-command in kitchens, something I’d been meaning to explain ever since the time he fucked up soufflees for a week and when I finally taught him how to make them, he packed up his things before the lesson was over and went home without saying a word.

Did I mention this was through text?

That’s when I msged the Canadian a foul-mouthed text about how the commis doesn’t understand anything. Except I msged the Commis instead. Whoops.

Worst CdP ever.

Let’s just say things are a little…awkward at work now.

I will deflect by giving you my recipe for a marmalade Bakewell tart I put on the Sunday menu. Apparently, because I didn’t fill it with Cherry or Raspberry jam, I’m not allowed to call it a Bakewell. It is, however, bloody delicious and draws servers and chef whites alike to pastry every Sunday, sniffing around, asking if there will be any leftovers. I highly recommend making the marmalade yourself if you aren’t generally a fan of the spread. It is very simple and the tart is better balanced with the sweet than traditional marmalades. And please, for god’s sake, blanch the oranges slices 5 times. It’s the only way to get rid of the bitterness. When the Head Chef tried it,

How many times did you blanch the oranges?

5, Chef.

I knew it! It just melts in your mouth, you can really TASTE the fifth blanching. 

……Yes, Chef. 

Orange Marmalade Bakewell with Mascarpone Ice Cream — ahhhh the shadows, the kitchen is a terrible place to take photos.


Three Oranges, thinly sliced and blanched 5 times

Sugar equal to half the weight of the oranges

Half a cup of water

Add the water and sugar to the drained pot of blanched oranges and simmer on low heat until skins are translucent. Add more water if the syrup becomes too thick before rind becomes tender. Cut the rinds with scissors or drain and chop with a knife. Combine with syrup, cool, and reserve. Lasts many many weeks.


Apparently, this marvel of the pastry world came about when Pastry Chefs in Italy were inspired by almond-scented gloves a bloke was peddling, though that could be wrong. While C has an extensive Pastry library that likely houses the history of this delight, I am sitting on the couch for the first time in six days so I will not be venturing six feet to the bookshelf.

I’ve seen recipes that are equal parts egg, almond flour, sugar, and butter, with a touch of flour thrown in to help stabilize it all, but considering how sweet the marmalade is (because it isn’t truly marmalade I must admit), I found pairing it with an easy frangipan was too sweet and too buttery. I have toyed with toasting the almond meal, but have yet to do so.

250g Butter

180g Almond flour

250g Sugar

5 Eggs

50g Flour

Whip soft butter with sugar until light and fluffy, add eggs one at a time until incorporated, then add almond flour, then finish by quickly folding in flour until just mixed. Pipe into pre-lined tart tins on top of marmalade and bake immediately for 18 or so minutes at 350, or reserve for later. This also serves as a nice sponge for entremets.

I really love this tart, though I will be changing the marmalade to Cherry Compote and the ice cream to Marzipan from Mascarpone. The clients aren’t biting at the Almond Tart description, so I guess I have to try them with a “real” Bakewell. The English are so fickle about their traditional food.

And considering for staff we’ve had the English Classic Chip Butty (French fries between buttered, factory made, white bread — I didn’t eat that day), Jacket Potatoes which consisted of taking a baked potato, cutting it open, and pouring beans into the wound,  and the Fried Sausage (above) from which I suffered 6 hours of indigestion, I can’t say I really have a great deal of faith in their taste. Just sayin’.



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