Work, work…

I can’t believe that I have now been here in Asheville for 3 weeks! Time sure flies when you’re having fun, and the best thing about it is that I am learning things at the same time. Over the past two years I have, several times, found myself thinking ”how lucky am I that I get to do this now for a living?”. Baking has always (well… maybe not always but… yeah…) brought me a lot of joy, and now I’m actually getting paid to do it which I am very grateful for.

Pear/lemongrass pate de fruits coming up!

This week I got to meet another pastry cook at the Inn; Ashley! And like the other girls, she is super sweet and very easy going. Ashley is the one that makes most of the cake orders (including wedding cakes) and it’s an honor watching her create. She hasn’t had that many orders yet this year, but the cakes I’ve seen her work on has looked amazing. Sometimes I take a few minutes to just watch her, ask questions etc and already I have learned a lot. I am for sure trying to pick everybodys brains as much as I can!

The pastry area at the Inn

The pastry team at the Inn is lead by pastry chef Dana, and then we have demi chef Rachel. The rest of the gang consists of Emma, Jenna, Ashley, Haylee, Leilani and Megan. Noticed something? Yes, they’re all women which to me is very cool and inspiring! There are three men though in the over night shift that bakes all the bread. Unfortunately I won’t get to work with them but that’s ok for me. I feel pretty confident when it comes to baking bread, cinnamon rolls (VERY different from home…) etc so I’d rather spend my time working on plated desserts, pate de fruits (jelly candy), pralines/truffles and so on. Right now the team are trying to come up with the new desserts for the rest of this year which gives me a lot of opportunities to try a lot of stuff and even though I am just an intern they are very interested in my opinion which makes me happy. Yesterday for example I got to try Emmas tarte tatin with some caramel sauce I think, but also a sage (salvia på svenska) jelly and a purple sweet potato ice cream. Not flavors that I am used to but trust me – it was sooo good! Rachel is working on a matcha/blackberry dessert, Jennas dessert consists of flavors like coffee and chocolate and marshmallow fluff and Megan has created a strawberry/yoghurt dessert. I still haven’t tried Ashleys, Leilanis or Haylees.

This is what I call ”fresh and whole cardamom”!

The other day I got to make a pate de fruits flavored with pear and lemongrass. Not a combination that I would’ve come up with but wow… Delicious! And what’s amazing is that if I find a recipe here that I like I am more than welcome to write it down and take it with me back home! So this pear/lemongrass is definitely one of the recipes that I am taking with me!
Over the week I’ve gotten to make candied lemonzest, vanilla cheesecakes and chestnut financiers among other things. I’m noticing now already that they are letting me try more and more stuff, leaving me alone more and more and that makes me happy cause that means that they trust me I’d say. When I come to work in the mornings, my ”to do-list” is longer and longer and I love it! There is no pressure though, if everything is not done by the end of my shift it’s ok for them. But I always try to push myself a little bit because that’s how you learn to be faster.
Dana asked me the other day if I had taken a food safety class, which I kind of have (in school). She then asked me if I’d be interested in taking a one day food safety class here at Biltmore and I of course said yes! ”There is a test at the end of the day, but there is NO pressure, ok? See it as an extra training opportunity” was her next comment. How sweet is that? I am taking every chance I get here to learn as much as I can! Not sure when the class will take place but she thought it might be in February some time.

Waitors about to pick up some pastries for a banquet, this time it was for the crew that was working with the filming of the Hallmark movie! The biscottis in the corner was made by yours truly!

Before I came here I always said that working in a big kitchen is not for me, but today when I had a little chat with the executive chef at the Inn, Brian Anderson, I told him that I am not so sure anymore… Yoy get to try so many things, be flexible (like today when a waitor came to us and asked for a little birthday plate for a girl who was turning seven today), people are running all over the place and it’s overall a very vibrant area. Even if my ”coming home plans” are a lot different, I can take a lot of knowledge with me from here. Like when it comes to waste control, organizing, work distribution etc. In the beginning of April I’ll leave the Inn and go to Cedrics Tavern and the Stable Café I think. The food there is a lot different from the Inn = even more new things to try, new coworkers which is both exciting and scary since the team at the Inn is so amazing.

Downtown Asheville

Since last time I posted something here, I have of course continued to have fun in the kitchen but I’ve also made my way to downtown Asheville for the first time. I decided to just walk around for a bit, visit some stores. I had lunch at a place called Mellow Mushroom which was pretty cool! The main street has a lot of cute little stores and even a bakery called Old Europe. I didn’t sit down in the bakery, but it was fun to see some european pastries! I also discovered a movie theatre, and I am acutally going back there next week to watch A man called Otto! On January 30th, an artist called Margo Price is performing at the Orange peel here in town and I think I’ll go to see her even though I haven’t listened to her music that much. Why not take the chance while I am here, right? Brett Young is coming here in April as well which I am very much looking forward to. Fingers crossed a lot more artists make their way to Asheville while I’m here!

A coffee bus?! How cute?!

Tomorrow (Monday) will be my 6th workday in a row, but after that I have Tuesday and Wednesday off. The weather here is supposed to be pretty good on Tuesday so my plan is to go to the Biltmore House then to have a look around the gardens, go hiking along the French broad river among other things. Just want to explore the Estate a bit more. It sure is an incredible place, and I am so grateful that I get to make a lot of new memories here!

Main entrance to the Biltmore Estate


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