Photo most sneakily stolen from the whereabouts of the google machine.
Where to even begin?
Well, my dear friends and most ravishing beauties, I had the complete honor of spending the day at the three Michelin Starred, and most entirely breath-taking Restaurant Daniel.
I spoke briefly in my previous post about what a stage is, and the sort of place that Daniel is, but for those looking for a more detailed edition of the same story, I await the platform to pontificate.
I arrived at the restaurant around 1:45 in the afternoon, and found my way into the security box that all employees pass through before entering. I introduced myself to the security guard and explained that I would be spending the day with the pastry team. He then called the Executive Pastry Chef; who apparently had no idea that I would be staging. Well, naturally that sent a chill through my hopes of having a good day- I immediately placed myself in the position of being an intrusion and a burden to the busy team. However, as soon as I was placed at a station to begin removing small chocolate cakes from their molds I was treated not only as a welcomed set of hands, but a equal and a team member.
The people that I worked with were so inspiring. They were fast, talented, helpful, and made me feel like I was appreciated and understood.
It was hugely moving to know that I was contributing to something that would be served at Restaurant Daniel. After spending a few hours helping out in the kitchen, assembling various petit-fours (small one or two bite pastries with intense, decadent flavors and rich luxurious textures) I was invited up onto the pastry line. I nearly fainted for the chance. Now, keep in mind a small flaw- I have never worked a line before.
What "working the line" means, is plating, assembling, and otherwise taking care of dishes to order. So the ticket comes out, and you get it done as quickly as you can.
It is terrifying. But the rush is unbelievable, and once you get in the groove it is a blast and a half. So I was put in charge of the Madeleines. Every guest is given them after dessert, while the little goodies are still hot and snugly tucked into a linen basket. It is beautiful, everything at the restaurant is immaculate.
Not the Daniel Madelines, just an image snatched from google
While I was working hard not to make a fool of myself in front of such talent, kind souls delivered a seemingly never-ending stream of delicious treats for me to try! I first was given a yummy double-baked potato while I was still in the main pastry kitchen, then once upstairs on the line, a stunning plate of raviolis manifested as well as a simply spectacular dish of hand made pasta, along with various other small delights. And of course, I got to taste all of the petit-fours.
When my shift was over, and I was chased out of the kitchen, I went down to thank the Pastry Chef for letting me play in his kitchen...and he offered me the position.
I scarcely know how I kept myself standing and breathing. It nearly brought tears to my eyes. I was so overwhelmed and honored that I think I looked something like the people on television do when they are told "you've won a brand new car!". So, in my gaping fish-mouthed awe, he told me to give it some thought and to email him in a few days.
I wish that I had words for how much that meant to me.
When I was waiting for my dad to pick me up, I was happily sitting by myself with a big goofy smile all over my face, when the pastry team passed by and noticed me. And would you believe me if I told you that they stayed and waited with me for nearly 20 minutes so I would not be on my own? That was so touching and beautiful. What kind people! For a place of such high regard they could have treated my stage as slave labor, and completely abused me and I probably would still feel lucky for the chance; but instead they respected me as a member of the team, and allowed me to meaningful work that contributed to the restaurant, and then even spent a few minutes getting to know a little about me.
People like that are rare, and I am blessed to have come across them. To someone not in the culinary industry it may not seem like a big deal to be treated with respect and kindness on an unpaid, unofficial, "first day" of sorts, but believe me- it really is.
I am so filled with love, inspiration, and honor by the whole situation. Even if I was not offered the position, I would still be proud to have been there for the day.
So, I suppose there are two morals to my story; the first- be kind to everyone. Strangers, new kids, those above you and below, old friends, everyone. Because you have no idea how much it may mean to them.
And the second- believe that you deserve your dreams. Never sell yourself short. I came close to asking for a stage at a different restaurant in the Boulud empire because I never thought in a million years that the team at Daniel would think I was good enough to even spend the day. I have no experience in fine dining, and limited experience in pastry. But I chose to have fun and to do my best, and when I decided to believe in myself, this opportunity strolled right over and curled up in my lap purring.
You deserve the best. And I know that if you wholeheartedly want it, and work your tail off, you will get it.
What is your dream position, and what are you doing to get it?
An abundance of love,