Today in class, Advanced Baking Principles (a class devoted to baking for people with dietary restrictions like gluten free, vegan, no sugar ect), I was working on my final project, in which each person has to make a ‘control’ product and then three variations that fall under a dietary restriction.
I’m making an Apple Pie Fried Wonton. It’s super simple to make the control, and I was feeling really good about my recipe testing. At least until I moved on to my gluten free dough. I knew working without gluten was gonna be different to what I was used to, but I didn’t really understand it until it didn’t work. Because there’s no gluten in the dough, there’s no stretch and no elasticity, so my wrappers ripped and I couldn’t fry them with wet apples inside.
So I put my few pieces of wontons into a container to take to the food waste bin, and Chef stops me before I even leave my station. I guess he thought that I was really disappointed or upset that I was going to have to retest the recipe and make adjustments. To be honest, I wasn’t that upset about it. A little frustrated because I wasn’t totally sure how to fix it. He looks at me and asks, “Would you feel better if you threw it at the wall?”
“Uh, I guess so, Chef?”
Like how do you answer that? And this is not some really nice, playfull, happy go lucky chef. Heck no. He’s a very tall, intimidating, black man who looks like he could murder me with just a look. He is very ‘no nonsense’. I couldn’t believe he was serious, not to mention that doing something like throwing any kind of product in the bakeshop is a HELL NO. It’s super disrespectful to the craft.
But he takes my food waste container from my hand, makes an announcement for my ENTIRE CLASS TO STOP WORKING and look over, he grabs my shoulders and turns me towards the freezers, about 15 feet away, and hands me a wonton, then says, “Go ahead.”
Literally, all of my classmates are staring at me like “WTF is going on?” because they all know if Chef stops the class, it means someone’s probably in trouble or he’s going to flip a trash can over.
So I turned around to him and I was like, “Do what?”
“Throw it at the wall.”
“I don’t want to, Chef” At this point, I think it’s some kind of fucked up test.
A girl in my class walks in, in my line of fire, and he yells, “STOP, BACK UP” and again tells me to throw it.
At that point, I’ve got no choice, everyone is staring at me, and chef won’t let the class get back to work.
I throw it, and it smashes into one of the freezers and plops onto the floor. Chef walks over to it and asks if I feel better now. All I can do is stutter out an “I guess so, yes chef. Can I clean this up now?”
He looks at me like I’m crazy and goes “No, I’ll clean it up.”
This has been the weirdest day.