If you have never worked in a bakery, there are many things you may not know that go on behind closed doors. If you have worked in a bakery, you’ll probably understand what we’re talking about. After my 6 years experience of working in 5+ bakeries, here are the things that I and other bakers have come to know.
1. Everything isn’t as easy to make as it seems on TV.
I once saw a chef on a show doing a demo for pate a choux (aka Eclair dough) and when he said “this is so easy, you can make these at home!” I spit my cereal at the TV. He should have added “If you have the arm strength of ten thousand men.”
2. Self control.
You learn to control your anger and rage after the millionth time hearing “Wow, this doesn’t taste like it came from a box!” No duh, I just spent hours slaving over its perfection.
3. Smelling like sugar gets real old, real fast.
You’ll hear “Mmm you smell so sweet!” from everyone you know, but to you “sweet” smells like sweat and B.O.
4. Food dye is the glitter of the kitchen.
There’s no using food dye and keeping your area clean at the same time. Either you don’t use it or you stain everything you own, there’s no in between.
5. Curse words come out of your mouth as frequently as non-curse words.
Chefs and bakers, such as Gordon Ramsay, fall under the category of truckers and pirates, every other word is a curse. Eventually, you don’t even notice it.
6. No matter how many times you try to bleach a chef coat it is ALWAYS beige.
You know exactly who the new bakers are, not only because you know every baker, but because they’re wearing a crisp white pressed chef coat. No matter how hard they try, it will never be that white again.
7. Comfortable yet ugly shoes are a necessity.
Your shoes are black, clunky, and ugly, but it doesn’t matter. One, no one is looking at your feet and two, chef shoes are comfortable. When you’re on your feet 10+ hours a day comfort is the priority.
8. Burns are battle scars, we wear them with pride
“Wow! Thats a good one!”
“Yeah, I know! And this one over here I got this one time while I was…”
9. “If you can’t stand the heat, get out of the kitchen.”
Take this literally. Bakers and chefs will sweat even in the dead of winter because kitchens consist mostly of ovens, small spaces, yelling, and too much body heat.
10. Bakers aren’t magical fairies, we can’t do everything.
When a customer comes in and requests 500 cupcakes for a wedding thats the next day and then doesn’t understand why you can’t do it, you really do wish you had a magic wand to wave in their face.
11. A good cake is going to be expensive, there’s no way around it.
The next time I hear “Oh, thats too expensive. Can you make it cheaper?” i’m going to lose it. The best bakeries make cakes and pastries with the finest ingredients, sometimes imported from other countries. If you want something cheap go buy box mix from the store and do it yourself.
12. “If you have time to lean, you have time to clean.”
Resting doesn’t exist. Sometimes food breaks don’t even exist. If there is time to stand still then there’s definitely something that needs to be cleaned and you better go find it before your boss does.
13. Not all bakers are fat.
If I had a penny for every time I heard “If I worked here I’d weigh 300 pounds!” I’d make more money than I actually do . Yes we eat what we make, but if you were surrounded by the same sweets day after day and saw what went into them, you’d get sick of them real fast, too. Just look at skinny chef Giada De Laurentiss.
14. You see chocolate and sugar in a whole new light.
There’s a lot more to the tiny tasty treats than you ever thought imaginable. With an abundance of different kinds of chocolate and sugars as well as origins and uses, regular chocolates and candies become something to scoff at.
15. Rain is your worst nightmare.
Nothing ever bakes right when it rains, so when you see that theres rain in the weekend forecast, the time when a bakery is always busiest, panic.
16. Take care of your hands, they’re your most important tool.
As a non baker, you probably don’t think too much about your hands, whats on them or what they look like or what they can do besides the basics. As a baker they’re everything and without them you’re nothing.