In the past couple of months I have found a new ally. I’ve been working with yeast and have grown and fond attachment to the living organisms that dissolve, dwell, and swell up within some of my baked goods. Pastry who knew? It came as a surprise, but again I find myself within the confines of a basement, in the pastry department.

The other month someone contacted me and wanted to do an interview on working line cooks, the reporter had a hard time finding female line cooks to speak with. Clearly saddened to hear that I was now working in the pastry department, she said that this wouldn’t work out. And even though I had worked as a line cook for the past 4 years, this 1st week as a pastry assistant was offering me complete displacement from the other side of the kitchen. So I posed a question her, “If you are finding it hard to find women line cooks then you should consider why that is happening…” because the problem is not about finding women line cooks but asking where are they…why is it that they are so much harder to find. Working with the many women cooks that I have been so fortunately connected with I know that this shouldn’t be too hard to find. Maybe we aren’t tatted up enough, maybe we aren’t glamorized enough. I felt that whatever she was looking for, whatever this article was about, as a woman reporter there was a bigger question amongst many – pastry surely emasculated the idea of cooking. So I continue…

A couple of months ago I was asked if I wanted assist in pastry for a bit, and while having mostly a savory background I thought WHY NOT? Another question was asked, “What do you want out of this” my shameless answer was “I just want to learn“, anything and everything about the craft of cooking. Call it stupid, but at this point in my career that’s what I can only offer. I can offer you that I will be a student, to compress as much information as I can from one cook to another, from one chef to another through osmosis. Listening and learning- hands on- trial and hopefully no errors.

However, I messed up a tart the other day at work. I overcooked the tart in the oven and I felt like a complete moron, it felt horrible and I was completely disgusted with the outcome. But that reminded me of something; one day working a busy brunch shift at NOPA, I was faced with multiple calls and multiple dishes that needed to come out, I was sweating and agitated, worked up and BUSY- the wood in the oven was hot, the sauce in my cazuelas molten and bubbly, eggs on the brink of becming overcooked and the line of salads other dishes growing. If one dish wasn’t turning out right then the fire times for the others would have to suffer. Frustration clearly seen from the shine on my forehead. My chef came up to me and told me, “Look Tina, a chef once told me the only thing that separates a cook and a chef is the ability to leave those mistakes behind.” So I did and next week was a better shift and so on…

Like yeast, I feel like I need to be active. A line cook that is now displaced into a whole new world. Even though this is temporary, I feel as if it is a chance to grow, to rise and proof. Never having been a person that fancied sweets and desserts I have become fond of the process. About an inch gained on the waistline and a palate that is getting sweeter, I have to say that I honestly enjoy working with the many malleable products that come out of the pastry department.

Having been once denied for one interview I became part of another…

I received an email asking me to be one of the women featured on a blog for the Max Mara group and their sister company SportMax. Way of Women is their blog and it is all about empowering women and I am very honored to be a part of this blog. Thank you Studio Blanco and SportMax Code. You can view the interview here:






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