The craziest night of my pastry
life by far - even crazier than working in a French bakery during
the Tour de France - was the MAC annual meeting. It was Tuesday,
February 8th, 2004. We had prepped for this event for weeks, and
tonight was the culmination of our efforts. The pastry department
made sixteen desserts and cinnamon rolls for the event; we were
prepared for 1,300 people. The night was a lot of work, and a lot of
fun. The best part was the sense of accomplishment as I looked out
over the setup, ready to serve. Here are some images I took before
the members came in.
The calm before the storm...we
set up three tables full of plates. Everything is nicely arranged
now, but in an hour, it would be chaos. It was all I could do to
keep desserts on the table, much less in any semblance of design.
We made sixteen desserts in all.
Here are poached pear tarts, maple flan, sour cherry tarts, a
chocolate velvet cake, a chocolate pyramid cake with berry compote,
and fresh fruit tarts.
The center table, laden and ready
Our menu - Apple Bars, Lemon
Bars, Creme Caramel,Chocolate Velvet Cake, NY Cheesecake, White
Chocolate Bread Pudding, Butterscotch Tiramisu, Almond Pear Tart,
Lemon Sour Cherry Tart, Pumpkin Pave, Peanut Butter Fudge Brownies,
and Hazelnut Mocha Marionberry Torte. Also on the tables but not on
the menu were Fresh Fruit Tart, Chocolate Mousse, Maple Flan, and
Chocolate Pyramid Cake. We ran out of desserts and so we scrambled
to put something - anything - on a plate towards the end of the
Some berry and cherry and
chocolate love. Staggered plates of lemon sour cherry tarts and
chocolate pyramid cake with berry compote.
These tables would all be full in
Custards and yummy things. Peanut
butter fudge brownie, creme caramel, NY cheesecake, chocolate velvet
cake, hazelnut mocha marionberry torte, maple flan.
Peanut butter fudge brownies,
left, and white chocolate bread pudding, right.
More desserts, also pumpkin pave
on the left in the front. It's a VERY yummy dessert that's a lot
like pumpkin pie with streusel.
Plates of butterscotch tiramisu
Hazelnut mocha marionberry torte
These racks were all full, and
would be again in a short time. Each rack holds 72 plates, and we
had six racks going. My job was to dash out and refill the tables,
and then if I caught a moment, I helped Shelby and Chef Roy build
more plates in the back staging area.
Stacks and stacks of plates. This
was after the first set of desserts had been plated and set out. We
had two tables of plates going, and we used them ALL. In fact, we
had to have the dish crew bring us up some more. We built up enough
plates to completely fill all of the racks to start with, and kept
building them as the evening went on.
I slept soundly that night, I can
tell you. It was a complete adrenaline rush, and one of the times I
definitely knew I was in the right business.