It’s been a while. I’ve been busy. In late October I went to Toronto to visit one of my besties, Brittany. Toronto is an amazing city full of friendly folks and fabulous food. After a handful of happy days in America’st top hat, Brittany and I headed to Brooklyn, NY. She planned to stay for the weekend and I was staying for an additional week to fulfill a baking mentorship (it was months, if not years in the making) at One Girl Cookies. I had complied a long list of NY’s most renowned bakeries to explore during my visit, things did not go as planned. My mentorship was set to begin the day after Sandy decided to strike the eastern seaboard with her relentless wrath. Sadly, The DUMBO One Girl Cookies location suffered a devastating flood and endured severe damage, as did my mentorship and bakery scouting plans. Through all of this, Dawn, the owner of OGC, reached out to me and apologized profusely for my mentorship being cancelled. She took everything in stride and handled this disaster with courage and grace. Although I didn’t get the opportunity to be mentored by Dawn, I feel that I learned a lot from her, both personally and professionally.
Poor Brittany ended up getting stuck in Brooklyn with me for a week due to cancelled flights, gas shortages and generally disastrous conditions. We found refuge in whiskey, wine and lots of tequila by holing up in local bars that weren’t demolished by the storm. We did our best to make the best of it.
Here are some images of the devastation I witnessed while in Brooklyn.
After surviving a hurricane and serious disappointment, I came home to Portland feeling reluctantly resilient (after a pretty depressing week in NY) and started a pop-up seasonal bakery with the lovely and talented, Stacy Frey. We named our new foray into the world of butter, flour and sugar……………….. The Pastry Collective.
Neither Stacy nor I have ever worked in the food service industry, we didn’t know how to operate a commercial oven or the first thing about baking in bulk. Details. We just both have a super-storm Sandy equivalent of passion for baking (sorry, obviously I am still a little bitter). We decided in mid-October that we were going to start a pop-up bakery, come up with a Thanksgiving pie lineup, and develop a logo and web presence ASAP. We actually pulled this off and started taking pie orders through our website by November 10th! We found a commercial kitchen in our neighborhood and booked 30 odd hours over a 3 day span.
In those 30 hours, Stacy and I learned so much about ourselves and our baking abilities. In a strange way it felt a lot like one of those behavioral treatment centers where troubled teens are dropped off in the middle of the dessert to fend for themselves, but in a much tastier and non-life threatening way. Considering our lack of food service experience, we did phenomenally well and somehow managed to pull it off. We made over 40 full sized pies and 100 handpies! They came out beautifully and our customers were happier than a pardoned turkey on Thanksgiving.
From these experiences I learned 3 very valuable lessons, they are as follows:
1. Know your roll, pie dough can be tricky and temperamental.
2. Always. Always. Always. Make extra. Always.
and most importantly….
3. Sh*t(storms) Happen(s).