Stand and Deliver – Kitchen Edition.

I feel like I’ve been in hiding the past two months. I’m exhausted. That’s probably why you’ve been getting mostly recipes instead of life updates. Which is fine and delicious, but my favorite part about blogging is having a record to look back on all that I’ve accomplished.

I think that growing up athletic and constantly learning how to deal with high pressure situations is one of the best things  I could have ever learned. Competing in culinary competitions only helped, regardless of how scared or stressed I was at the time.

I’ve been in stand and deliver mode at work for some time now. Back in June I was asked to write the curriculum and teach a class on cupcakes for our customers at work. No pressure the owner’s of the company trust me to teach an hour long class to their customers without screwing up, while I’m trying to prove I’m an asset to their company. So I agreed ( how could you not?) and got to work. I made countless prep lists, handouts, recipes and timetables how my night was going to go. The original plan was to cap enrollment at 12-15, but so many people wanted to come to the class the night of I had 22, plus several people from corporate to watch 🙂 It turned out to be a really really fun night! I am so grateful for my education and for a job where I can apply it. I had a moment of realization standing there in my chef whites writing an impromptu recipe on the board explaining the stabilizing principles of sugar in a whipped cream frosting where I knew that I deserved every minute of this. I was given this opportunity because I had done the work, and there’s always more to learn, but in that moment these people wanted to pick my brain. Because I know the answers. It was incredibly gratifying. To top it all off, all of my “students” loved the class! One guy told my boss that he loved it so much he wanted to come to all of our classes. They also wrote on the company’s facebook page asking when the next class was. So I get to teach it again in September. I was really proud of myself. I’m currently working with a lovely lady from corporate to get all my notes and lists written down, so that my curriculum can go company-wide and be offered in 19 stores. Mission Accomplished.

  This was as people were leaving, but it was packed ! 
I work as a pastry chef in the store 5 days a week. I also get to work on corporate projects like the cupcake class on the side. Right after the class I was talking to one of the owner’s Mrs. C for blogging purposes and she asked me about German Chocolate Frosting. I make my Dad a German Chocolate cake every year for his birthday, and I love recipe development. So I got to work. There’s just something about the science of baking that grabs me every time. I love percentages and adjustments and the taste testing isn’t so bad either. 

I ended up making some adjustments to #3 and Mrs. C loved it! It’s currently being used in the store as a test run, and we’re finalizing the logistics on it before it goes company wide. Victory number two. 
Last but not least, about two months ago we found out that there was going to be a company wide cookie contest. Each person was to develop an original recipe and get to sell it in the store for four days. The person who sells the most ( as well as a final taste test by the executive board) wins $1000. Second place is $500 and Third is $300. I don’t know why I’ve been so insecure lately about my food, maybe I’ve just been on display quite a bit lately and demanded perfection of myself, but it’s really added a lot of stress to my life. I wanted to do this competition, but in the back of my mind I’m panicking. My brother moved home, my Brother in law and Sister moved to Texas. I’m no where near my family, I’m alone. Who’s going to support me? Everyone else in this competition have people in Utah. Is it even worth it?  I made 17 different variations of cookies during the testing process. Poor Rose choked down countless rejects. One of my favorite conversations with her:
“Your cookies take cake-y” – Rose
“Well your bag’s a fake!” – Jess. 
We don’t play around when we fight. Turns out her bags real and my cookies rock. I finally was able to relax  and think about my cookies last week. I took off my shoes and stopped thinking so hard. I had originally wanted to put a peanutbutter pretzel “gush” for lack of better words on top, but the girl who sold her cookies before me had a similar design with different ingredients. Mine had to be different. I had nothing short of a baking epiphany to put my peanut butter filling on the inside. It may have been one of the best things I’ve ever done. I went with a chocolate chip cookie base, peanut butter filling on the inside, pretzel pieces on top with chocolate and peanut butter striping.
We’ve upped our nutrition game around here and counting calories like crazy. Thank goodness myfitnesspal has an app. I calculated out all the calories so that Rose would sample what I thought was the winner. If we both had 1/4 of a cookie it would only be 50 calories. She agreed to donate 50 calories to the cause.. and then we both realized it was worth it to donate another 50. That’s how I knew this one was the winner 🙂 
 It was a home run. I sold out on almost all 4 days. I had some incredible support! I was teasing my friends Allen and Jill that when C & K moved away they were going to have to adopt me. They led the charge! They came in and bought cookies and came back the next day with friends to buy more. On Saturday I was a little wrapped up in myself, my flag football team had made it to the championship game, it was at 9:30 in the morning. There was no way I could go, I didn’t even ask. It’s just hard sometimes to accept that I have a big kid job and things aren’t as flexible.  I was coming around the corner to stock some more pastries up front, and saw that the entire line from the door to the register was my ward. Buying cookies to support me. Instant tears. I’m not alone, and I’m appreciated. I’m so grateful for them! To top it all off my Dad called the store and ordered cookies. I put them in the mail this afternoon. 475 miles away and he’s still there to help me live out my dreams. Thank you to everyone who has come in to support me!   August 16th is the final taste test, hopefully I’ll have some great news to report! 

I guess I had better stop crying now, I’m so very very grateful to all of you.