Saturday, March 18, 2006


The week leading up to a holiday weekend is insane.
I love being a pastry chef.
I love owning my own business.
I love my clientele. (Well, ok, the majority of them.)
I hate when certain individuals assume that I have it easy compared to the average joe.

I am not complaining about working hard. In fact, I rather enjoy the holiday weekends that make my head spin. I simply dislike certain comments such as: "What an easy job you have! All you do is put a cake in the oven, then sit & wait for an hour until it's done."; or the ever popular, "This is a nice hobby for you to have."

One of my totem animals is the Owl, for I am a creature of the night. I can easily work until 2:00AM, go home to watch a rare film Netflix has posted to me, & fall asleep just as the sun is rising. I awake fully refreshed around 11:00AM & back to work around 12noon.

My schedule contains a slight variation towards the end of the week.

Thursday I am in at about 11:00AM. Sounds posh, yeah? Right, ok. I skip breakfast except for a huge mug of steaming hot freshly roasted coffee & a handful of vitamin supplements. (I swear the coffee roaster guy & naturopath live off my purchases!) I proceed to fill oven after oven after oven of pastry delights until about 4-5PM when I have a few bites of something I like to call lunch. I eat this standing. I continue to bake things, fill cakes, frost cookies, cut bars, mix chocolates, roll cookie dough & scones etc. until midnight when I try to make a healthy vegetarian dinner. I allow myself 20 minutes to eat. Back to work until 2:15AM. Home by 2:30AM. Hopefully asleep by 3:00AM. Alarm goes off at 5:30AM Friday.

This is not a typo...I repeat...this is not a typo!

I am back at work by 5:45AM. Set up pastry counter, make several pots of coffee, whip cream & finish piping trim on all fruit tarts, cream puffs, cheesecakes, etc. Doors officially open at 7:00AM.

Some people like to come in before 7:00AM, on their way to work, so I try to have everything ready early. Doors unofficially open around 6:30AM for these pastry perusers. It's a small town so I aim for phenomenal customer service. I remember clients first names (sometimes, lol) & their personal faves (most of the time!), have eclectic music playing in the background & a genuine smile on my face at ALL times. (Yes, I realize I'm a strange phenomenon in this day & age!)

Throughout the day I wait on customers (along with a few wonderful volunteers that I am so very lucky to have) & keep the ovens full with Saturday's orders. We close at 5:30PM. I continue to mix, bake, fill, frost, decorate, & cut until midnight. Back home sometime between 12-1:00AM. Hopefully asleep by 2:00AM. Alarm goes off Saturday at 5:15AM. Press snooze button until 6:00AM. Back at the shoppe at 6:15AM. Scramble around like a madwoman because I pressed snooze for too long...

Saturday's we're open from 7:00AM-2:30PM. They are busier than Friday's. It usually takes until 5:00PM to clean everything up, assess left-overs (if there are any) & finally, paperwork. I always have Saturday night off. Sounds posh, yeah? Did I mention I also work on Sunday? After all, I have to get ready for Monday.

9 Responses to “Scheme”

Oh my, the food looks too good to be true. I would indeed weigh 300 pounds if I lived anywhere near your store!

To answer your questions, I find my random blogs of the week by clicking "View Next Blog" over & over until I stumble across a blog that I would like to get to know better. Then I spread the word. It's fun, you should try it!

To answer your other question, the story of how "Coaster Punchman" came about it in my very first blog entry at this address:

Thanks for reading, and I'll continue to check out those delectable cakes! I love Wisconsin (I am originally from that part of the world....)

doc slm said...

I am really jealous of what you do...and not because I think it's a piece of cake (ha! I couldn't resist), but because one of my secret dreams is to do something similar. I love to bake and get a great deal of enjoyment watching other people enjoy the fruits of my labor. What kind of training did you have? Do you ever get sick of it? What's your favorite thing to make?

jin said...

You're right; very catchy nick-name indeed. I can now sleep soundly knowing exactly how it came to be. :-)

A fellow cheesehead. Wisconsinites need a new title, don't you agree? (For the record, I have never ever worn one of those stupid things.) I love the area I'm in, Manitowoc (right on the lake), but we are severely lacking in dining options.
I totally enjoyed reading about your pizza escapade!

jin said...

doc slm:
*Laughing about the piece of cake comment!*

I too, love watching people eat my goods! Especially when you get a really loud "MMMmmmm" from someone who didn't expext it to be that good. :-)

Training...*chuckles*...nothing formal, believe it or not.
My whole family: grandparents, parents, aunts, uncles, brother-all cooks. Not really by trade, but food was always most important.
I started baking with my Mom when I was 7.
Began making cakes on my own when I was 13.
For my 16th birthday my brother, a professional executive chef, bought me Rose Levy Beranbaum's "The Cake Bible". I just looked at the pics & recipes & went to town!
When I was 19 my brother was running a quaint little restaurant in Maryland & invited me out there for a few months to train with his pastry chef. She taught me 1/2 of what I know. The other 1/2 is simply research & development.

Do I ever get sick of it?
Example: Every year after Xmas I close for 2 weeks. I am usually bored after 2 days of this vacation. I asked my husband (over our first Xmas vacation together) if he wanted a sandwich for dinner. He said that would be fine. An hour later he came into the kitchen & asked what I was doing. I was kneading the dough, to make the bread, to put our sandwiches on. lol I had to bake something.
So, I never get tired of baking. I get tired of not having enough money, because it costs soooo much to run a business, even a small one. But I really can't see myself doing anything else.

Favourite thing to make:
I think I'll write about that in my next post because I need to describe it step by step! :-)

doc slm said...

I can hardly wait to see the step by step directions! I hope someday I'll be in your area and be able to visit your shop. I'll probably make myself sick! But in a good way. ;)

Yesterday I watched "The Prince & Me," a stupid romantic comedy with Julia Stiles where she is a farm girl from Manitowoc who has an affair with a Danish prince-in-disguise. (Why am I telling you this - I'm sure everyone from Manitowoc has heard of this film?) Anyway, I'm not sure if they actually filmed parts of it there or not.

Also, sadly, I am not officially a cheesehead - but for 22 years I lived only 30 minutes from the Wisconsin border (either as a FIB or a Minnesotan) so it's close enough!

Can't wait to try those treats one day! (Please stay in business...)

gnightgirl said...

I've subscribed to your site, and look forward to your postings. Glad you can find time in your hectic schedule to share with us. I sent a link about the hedgehogs to a chocolate-loving friend, and she's ready for a road-trip. Do you mail-order?

jin said...

I think you told me about that movie because I have never heard of it! lolol They certainly didn't shoot any of it here - it would have been ALL OVER our shitty little (one-sided) local newspaper. Oops, can I say that? Oh! That's right, it's a blog! YAY! :-D sidetracked for a second there...sounds like a cheesy film, but I'll have to check it out now.

Did you know only hicks call FIB's FIB's? lol I have lots of relatives there & I happen to LOVE Chicago so I don't use the term. Although, every time my Dad visits his brother in Barrington, the night before he leaves, either my husband or I sneak out to his car & write FIB in the dust all over the trunk. Hehehehe. I know, childish...but we can't help ourselves! lolol It's especially funny when he comes back & tells us how many times he got the finger & didn't know why until he got to IL & saw his car!!!!!

jin said...

Thanks so much for your interest!
Yes, we do mail order. A lot, actually! I have pastry brochures & a calendar that lists our monthly open houses.

In my next post I'll write more about the shoppe, what we do, how it started, etc. I have a website too, but, I am ashamed to say I've not updated it in a year. I meant to do that but then I started blogging & I think I'm addicted! lol Feel free to check it out. (I promise to update it in the next month!)
All of our contact info is listed there.