Three steps forward

Sunset over the waters of Le Havre. A beautiful time spent with friends and newly made family!

Your life is a constant adventure where you continuously move with the tides and the winds of the ocean. You realize along the way you are out of control of many factors and the best option is to stay clear of the dangers but ride your ship like a true captain!

And so we ride!

Since our last adventure in Normandy, and the recent trip back which was even better than the last, many events have taken place between us and for what it's all worth it has been nothing short of a learning experience.

Where to start?

After a wonderful trip in Veneto, to visit my relatives for the weekend and watch a concert, we spent a good chunk of  time over the month of May and June throwing our resumes all over the city of Paris. Thanks to our newly made friends who proof-read them for us we received some calls back.
Short story is I landed myself with a stage and Katie with a job.

My stage was for one day at 134 r.d.t and the owner and head baker completely threw me into the work with him. It was exciting to get my hands in dough again after some months since leaving my job at Beyond Bread.
"I'm in Paris, mixing and shaping loaves! This is great!"
After some hours spent between baking traditional baguettes, mixing and shaping doughs I started to feel what it's like to be a Parisian baker.

I didn't like it.

Because of how the city is built and how expensive it is, almost all bakers work six feet under. It's hot. I mean HOT. It's an odd feeling to be alone underground yet the comfort comes with the smells of fermenting doughs and loaves baking in the oven.
Dough moulders.
This city goes through so many baguettes that my idea of hand shaping went out the door.
In the end he was very happy with my work but the language barrier is there for his employees. I had to be honest with him though, it wasn't for me.
We sat down and chatted for a bit about the industry here in Paris and back home in Vancouver. It was enlightening.

So after letting go of frustration and talking with Katie I thought of a new plan. Maybe how similar bread baking is here in Paris to back home it would be best not to work in the industry but do something new. Or maybe Just asking around the city to spend a day in the back of house is more than enough to learn a thing or two. Granted I learned a few things in the time I spent at 134 r.d.t.

So I applied at an italian owned gelateria. They didn't need anyone at the moment but they would contact me when they did. I didn't get a call until it was too late because the job was for a month making gelato but it would run into our time spent out of the city in August.
Things work in ways you just can't control.

Katie and I talked again about our time here in Paris and in Europe. What do we want? What will work? Are we enjoying life here?

Katie's job was landed at Rose bakery. They had her in prep for June until sometime in August where a pastry shift or two would be included before full-time in September.
After about three weeks into her job she worked two shifts with Rose herself and she was very happy with Katie's work ethic and skill-set.
I know, we kinda are pretty awesome at what we do! LOL
She sat down with Rose and explained that the two of us have been talking and we realized Paris isn't for us. We've tried to make it our city but the shoe just doesn't fit.
So Katie has but recently left her job but we have been aquatinted with some really great people and we both have learned so much!

So what now? Well we have planned to shorten our stay in Europe by a few months but are not going to settle for anything less than the experience we have had so far. We are going to do our research and have fun doing it because this experience for us both is literally once in a lifetime. Whether it is just looking, tasting, observing production or all at once we are here to bring something to our future bakery and cafe as well as create some of the best memories together.

Trains are booked.


Normandie and us

Bonjour nos Amis,

Never would we have thought how beautiful the people and land of Normandie would be. Yes time over we have been told, "go north!" but the experience we had over the weekend has really changed our perception of this country. Our Airbnb hosts are the sweetest married couple and have been amazing hosts in their home as well as their parents, who by the way are also tres mignon!

The town of Rolleville! The last morning of our stay in Le Havre we decided to make some pancakes for our lovely hosts; a little bit of Canada for them. While we were was flipping cakes and whisking in frustration because of the different protein content in the flour, the mother of our host glanced over a post in the paper for Pain du Fete 2014.  She NEVER reads the paper.  So after our breakfast we made haste to this tiny festival.

In short, everyone knows everyone and it just so happens that the head baker of this festival is a professor and the town mayor! Amongst the small but delicious spread of items, there was the Canadien. A loaf studded with white chocolate and coconut paste that just so happens to be created by a local frenchmen who travelled and worked in Montreal.  Funny thing about this festival is that we were the first 2 Canadians to attend...EVER! Rolleville's journalist took our photo with all the local bakers and we are looking forward to it being published in Le Havre's paper this week :)


Making home, home...


The two of us have settled in and are becoming more and more comfortable every day here in Paris. We found a nice cozy place in the 2nd district where a constant bustle of people going about their day is found six floors below us...yes six floors without an elevator. Imagine carrying a years worth of luggage up that!
We have already found our go-to boulangerie for our daily baguette and an amazing eclair shop, L'eclair de Genie. "Juste regarde" has become one of our mottos as we feast with our eyes over every croissant, mielle fueille, easter chocolate and opera cake. Note to our fellow bakers, double single folds for croissant dough. 
There is no shortage of sweets, and to no surprise the same goes for local produce. Ahhh, the produce.

We're really loving this!!!

It makes cooking effortless as every gram of every ingredient is bursting with perfection. A carrot tastes like a CARROT. Comte is a new favourite cheese. Stinky, stinky. YUM.  

Vacationing during a vacation? We trekked our luggage across Paris to land in Versailles to eat cake with the one and only Marie-Antoinette.  We are staying with a lovely airbnb couple just 15 minutes shy of the Chateau and have been sweating out butter along the palace trails. Gotta make sure we stay in shape while we indulge ;) Bakeries here have been classic, yet delicious. And they sell brioche by the gram.  THE GRAM! Not to mention the plasticity of the butter here at any temperature. 

Apart from city life, we have cozied up in the kitchen cooking/baking up a storm:  Gnocchi, morrocan chickpea stew, lentils, fluffy eggs, heirloom tomato salad all with a freshly baked baguette.  For dessert: Strawberry olive oil cake, grandma's apple pie and tart lemon cake with candied french lemons.  
A Bientot!


The next Beginning

Let me just start by dusting this page off a little...alright. time to start this puppy up again!

To say the past year and a half has been anything but exciting would be an understatement. You reach that age where you can finally call yourself an adult but in what sense does that make you? I ask because in retrospect, as well as turning twenty-eight and now twenty-nine, I feel I have gown up quite a bit; never have I felt more like an adult now nor do I feel I will ever stop growing.

In the year I began working at my last job, Terra breads I have achieved quite a few goals in my life as well as met some amazing faces. The reality had finally kicked in where going to work for me was actually exciting as the time, effort and sleepless nights between work and class to achieve this has actually paid off! Thing is I never grew up telling myself I want to be rich, live in a fancy home and drive around the city in a Ferrari- well, more so the latter but that's a fantasy I can live with. I really just wanted to be happy in my carrier choice.

I now have this. And more.

I get it. The doors which are open to your best choices and the ones which close forever because of your actions but would have probably lead you into a lesser life choice. My whole life growing up so far has been a roller coaster to say the least and the doors I have walked through have been the most painful but at the same time transforming. Bear with my analogy but I can almost relate my life to a game of Snakes and Ladders.
I find myself moving higher in the board landing on goals or just winging my life. I'm in full control of the die and with each roll or step I move myself higher. I make the right step or roll the right number I move up. I choose the right door and I get to use the ladder, the wrong door and I fall behind only to dust myself off and roll again. The board is mine and the end goal, salvation, may never be achieved but it is what I do and discover on the way that makes the game so exciting!

Until I roll three sixes in a row, Then I'm fucked.

All my friends can attest to my perfectionism in what I want from myself and who deserves me. I find myself struggling to this day to just put the pencil down and say, "It's good enough, hell it's awesome!" or the spoon, "It just tastes like shit because you've been tasting it a million times over now!" You really are your worst critic. But you learn to be humble in your work and as time passes you realize it's not about you so much as it is about the other person. the satisfaction of a customers smile when they try your pastry or the smile on your family members faces when they see your drawings.

As for my choices in a partner, I know what I want and I am more than confident now then ever before; I have opened the right doors to find her behind that one special door with a lock only I have always had the key for. We met working at Terra Breads and instantly from both sides we fell in love.
This woman who I adore very much and who has stolen my heart is not just my best friend but my soul mate. I can go on about how fascinating this all is to me, the choices and how each of us led us to each other, but I will say I now do believe in these feelings.

So we are off!

In less than two months, we are going to live and work in France and Italy. We are determined to learn the most and do the most for the time we are there. Where best to learn and increase our skill set more so than the two food capitols of the world! We are excited and scared but we are too smart to do so poorly.
So from this point on Life Workshop will be our adventures together spent in Europe!

À bientôt!