Compare to the past learning time, this week was so different for me. In the past, we focused on learning hard skills, such as mixing methods, the ways to operate equipment, knowledge of basic baking, and so on. But this week, we were discussing about professionalism and organization. They are meaningful. Or I should say they include a lot of things. I think I don’t totally understand all of them, but I want to tell something that I already got from this week’s learning.
Every industry has its own industrial standards. If I want to be a successful baker, I have to be aware those standards and obey them. Here, I’m going to talk about three concepts that gave me big impressions.
The first one is working smart. In my mind, I used to think that bosses like such employees who work very hard. They never complain and can do heavy task by themselves. However, I was wrong. Even if you work over eight hours and don’t take a break, it doesn’t mean your work is efficient. Your manager admires you by your efficiency. For example, you and your coworker make same amount of products. You only take one item when you go to get the ingredients. You don’t plan very well. Before you go to get those goods, you don’t think carefully. On the other hand, your coworker plans ahead. He goes to the walk-in cooler and takes all that he need at the same time. Even if your boss sees you walk back and forth many times. He won’t assume that you work effectively. There are many ways to work smart. I will learn from other classmates and instructors. I thought hardworking was a good characteristic. After this course, I changed my mind.
The second concept is being organized. We studied in the kitchen lab before. At that time, we only needed to make three items in five hours. It was very easy for us. I never heard that any one hadn’t finished their task on time. However, if we are given a certain time to make more items, it would be a big challenge for us. In this week, each group was asked to make a mock plan about organization. For instance, our group was Team Amsterdam. We had to make eight types baking goods in four hours. Firstly, we decided everyone makes one item which needs long time to ferment. Then we could prepare for other item during the fermentation time. After we put those bread or baguettes in the oven, we could continue to make the left goods. In the ideal situation, we don’t need four hours to finish all of them. But I think we can’t really finish our task in the real kitchen. Our calculation of time was based on the assumption that everyone did his or her job very efficiently. We didn’t think about everyone’s strength. There are some aspects we can improve. For example, one person is good at making the pie shells, and another peels the apples very fast. If we let everyone do their strength things, that would be very successful for our group to finish the task on time. Organization is very important. Until now, my baking experience is limited. I can’t imagine more situations about how to organize very well. But I feel there are always some good methods to let things go smoothly and fast.
The last one that I intend to talk about is communication. In bakeries, good communication can let us make more profit. I don’t exaggerate the importance of communication. Imagine if one helper misunderstands his baker’s directions. The products that he is making might be destroyed. In other words, he wasted not only his time, but also the ingredients. Maybe, the baker would be very angry. The bad atmosphere will effect on everyone in the kitchen. They can’t concentrate on their work. The fewer products are made, the less profit for us. I don’t want to make this kind of mistake. So I will work hard on my English studying. Good language skills can avoid the problem of communication. Also, I should know how to listen and how to clarify the message. Don’t hesitate to ask the speaker to repeat. He or she maybe is a little upset about your request, but it’s better than misunderstanding. Good communication can let coworkers cooperate very well. Besides, it can lead to good products. That’s why we always like to talk about teamwork. There must be good communication in a good team. We can solve problems before they become bigger and bigger.
Speaking to challenges in this week, I want to discuss two big challenges. The first one is flexibility. Food industry is very special. The morning shift normally starts from 3 or 4 am. And depend on diversity of situations, workers in food industry have to get used to any shifts. Sometimes, you don’t feel too much pressure when there are too many orders or no coworker is silk or on vacation. But most of time, we have to face a lot of pressure. We should know how to handle those troubles. On this issue, there is a long way for me. I should learn to be a flexible person, and get used to all kind of difficult situations.
The other challenge is the mock interview. I haven’t had any interview for a long time. And those interviews which I had been through weren’t professional at all. Furthermore, the culture of interview in Canada is so different. I have to learn many things, such as how to write a good resume, how to shake hands, how to use right body language, how to answer those tricky questions. This week, we did many practices on job interviews. Our instructor gave us a lot of precious feedback. But I have to say that the information was so overwhelming for me. I need more time to digest it. I hope those skills gradually become one part of mine after practicing again and again.
Next week, we are going back to kitchen lab. To be honest, I’m so happy about that. I really enjoy baking. But I’ve already left our kitchen for at least five weeks. Even though I baked some cookies and muffins at home sometimes, that’s not enough for me to enjoy baking. There isn’t the suitable equipment at my home, and I don’t have all kinds of ingredients to make new baking goods. Moreover, I want to learn new skills. The fermentation is our next course. I’m looking forward to know the details. Though our English instructor already gave us a heads up about fermentation, those professional words are so abstract for me. I can’t reflect the real baking things when I read those terms. I hope I can imagine the artisan breads’ smell when someone just talks about its name after I have learned this course. I wait to go back to the kitchen lab impatience. I have brought back my text-book home. It’s good to prepare for the new course.
I’m confident that I am able to master the new skills. I will open my eyes, and absorb as much as possible information during my studying.