March 7, 2006

The Superstar Pastry Princess

Tuesday, March 7, 2006

I wrote the following article for my food writing master's class last year at NYU and am honored to say the pastry chef that I profiled is also my friend. She has asked me though to not to use last names or restaurant names on my blog though, because she says the business is cut throat and the head chef just fired someone for speaking to a local paper without permission, and especially since, and I quote her "your blog gets more hits than a French whore *grin*." Bon appetite!

By Tara Renee Settembre

When you are the pastry chef at a five star restaurant in Maine, which is frequented by elite guests such as the Bushes, the pressure is on. There is even more to prove when you are the only female cook in that kitchen too. But when the Boston Globe reviewed the establishment last summer and found the cuisine just average, except for the pastries and desserts that is, which were rated as excellent, well then victory is sweet, literally.

While the other chefs read the review out loud to a chorus of groans, the six foot, 26-year-old, Jeanie, who trained at the Baltimore International Culinary, finally felt vindicated after years of harassment and abuse in the male dominated kitchens.

“I felt sort of like the evil step child when the review came in. It separated me from my team a.k.a. the guys in the kitchen. I was back to being the pastry princess and not one of them anymore. So in that aspect it sucked. However, behind closed doors I was doing some serious praising of myself for coming so far and not getting slammed. It was a sense of real accomplishment,” admits Jeanie.

On her initial interview at the restaurant, the chef told her she had three strikes against her. “He said, ‘You are a woman, an American, and on top of that a New Yorker,’ not something they liked, but then he opened the door and introduced me to the rest of the staff,” says Jeanie with a laugh of recollection about her 12 hour interview, where she joined the cooking team for a day and had to come up with new recipes on the spot based on different regions of the globe. (read more)

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