What Would You Do?

Decorating By bobhope Updated 22 Aug 2011 , 1:26pm by bobhope

bobhope Posted 22 Aug 2011 , 10:24am
post #1 of 7

hello everyone! i would just like to know what most of you here would have done if you were in my shoe..i worked for this lady in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates (very hot & humid w/ temp bet 50 -55 deg C or or about 131 deg F)..from the beginning, i already informed her my preferred fondant brand is Satin Ice..i come from a place w/ similar climate to Abu Dhabi & i believe SI would work just fine ... came work day & they purchased Patisfrance (according to her, they would have to import SI, since there's no local distributor in UAE, therefore, it would be expensive)... i was excited to work on the fondant even if it wasn't the brand i requested.. patisfrance was literally a pain in the A** ... it was wet & very sticky, ... i tried kneading & rolling it w/ powdered sugar, still it was sticky..tried cornstarch, still sticky, tried both PS & cornstarch combined, still sticky ... it sticks to everything it touches, the hand gloves, the table surface, rolling pin, plungers, cutters, EVERYTHING!.. i was starting to get frustrated as it was slowing me down & fondant was getting very dry & cracking.. i managed to make simple flowers, but covering a 10 inch cake was impossible ... as we all know, the more powder we put to prevent it from sticking, the drier the fondant gets..
now the lady employer became upset at me because i could not make it work ... i tried to explain to her but she wouldn't listen. she said i was just making excuses & that i blame the brand.. & she said that she couldn't believe that i would work only w/ a specific brand. i told her that even chefs from other countries have their preferred brands, depending on the workability of the product w/ the climate/weather.. before this, i've tried other brands, mmf, even fondant from scratch, before i finally settled w/ SI, because SI works for me..she wanted me to make this figure (a girl & some animals) but i told her that w/ the fondant we have, it's impossible, but i still gave it a try for her to see..she can't even provide me w/ tylose ... then another brand came.. not Satin Ice.. i told her my apprehensions that if this brand would still not work, she'll be upset & i would get blamed.. then she went ballistic!

at other times, she gives me corn syrup where glucose is needed, & other "substitute" ..she refuses to order, only makes use of what's locally available.. she scrimps on other ingredients..& tools!no decent spatula, no liquid measuring cups, no turn table & other baking essentials..she has a nice kitchen but lacking in tools & ingredients..her cake shop is very classy though ...

sorry, this is getting long ..at the end, i had to leave... she was just unreasonable.. she was already starting to be mean.. hurling insults at me.. it was depressing .. icon_sad.gif


what would you have done?would you stick around & still try to make the fondant work?

thank you for listening/reading icon_smile.gif

bobbie

6 replies
frenchfancy Posted 22 Aug 2011 , 10:54am
post #2 of 7

you spend a lot of time at work and I believe you have to be happy. This woman was obviously making your life very difficult and not listening to your professional opinion. I would have asked her to show me how to work with the fondant she had bought and see if she had the same problems, which I'm sure she would. If things had continued and she was refusing to buy correct ingredients I too would have told her to shove her job where the sun doesn't shine. I think you are better off out of there. Good luck x

knlcox Posted 22 Aug 2011 , 10:58am
post #3 of 7

I'm sorry you have to deal with that!! I would have left, too. I looked at your cakes and you do beautiful work. If your boss doesn't listen to when you say you can't use the fondant then she's at fault, not you. I can see that you are very capable of creating beautifully decorated cakes. You have a great talent! I would have left, taken some time away to think, and then maybe try it again after I've calmed down a bit. I'm sorry I'm not much help. Maybe you can make the figures the best you can and leave it at that. Try to decorate as best as you can using the crappy fondant. Show your boss that you need the fondant SI that actually works for you in your hot area.

bobhope Posted 22 Aug 2011 , 11:06am
post #4 of 7
Quote:
Originally Posted by frenchfancy

you spend a lot of time at work and I believe you have to be happy. This woman was obviously making your life very difficult and not listening to your professional opinion. I would have asked her to show me how to work with the fondant she had bought and see if she had the same problems, which I'm sure she would. If things had continued and she was refusing to buy correct ingredients I too would have told her to shove her job where the sun doesn't shine. I think you are better off out of there. Good luck x




thanks ... i think so too... icon_smile.gif

Quote:
Originally Posted by knlcox

I'm sorry you have to deal with that!! I would have left, too. I looked at your cakes and you do beautiful work. If your boss doesn't listen to when you say you can't use the fondant then she's at fault, not you. I can see that you are very capable of creating beautifully decorated cakes. You have a great talent! I would have left, taken some time away to think, and then maybe try it again after I've calmed down a bit. I'm sorry I'm not much help. Maybe you can make the figures the best you can and leave it at that. Try to decorate as best as you can using the crappy fondant. Show your boss that you need the fondant SI that actually works for you in your hot area.




thanks... nice of you to say that...she found my work on the web, she said, she liked my work, in fact she used the word "impressed" ..hence she offered me the job, it was a 6month negotiation through email... icon_smile.gif

Baker_Rose Posted 22 Aug 2011 , 12:06pm
post #5 of 7

I had a boss like that too. She didn't want to spend a dime on anything and expected you to produce the world. My VERY first day I was handed a chocolate chip cookie recipe and told to make it a double recipe. So I did. At that time I had been baking for 25 years (this was 14 years ago) and I had learned to bake chocolate chip cookies when I was 5 years old.

The dough looked fine, just like it should and I scooped it with the scoop I was told and placed them on the sheet pan 4x6 just like I was told. In the oven they went. Meanwhile I was told that cookies weren't baked during the day, but the man who baked the cookies came in at 10pm and worked through the night. They were running low of chocolate chip in the front and needed more. So the baker who was training me only knew which recipe to use and which scoop, she said she had never made the recipe before (although years later I think she was lying....).

So, the timer goes off and I'm pulling the tray of cookies out of the oven just as the owner (a.k.a. The Wicked Witch of the West) walks into the bakery. The tray didn't have cookies on it, it was just one giant cookie. They had completely spread and filled in the gaps and the whole sheet pan was one square cookie!!!! Obviously there was something wrong.

Naturally she saw the tray and started screaming at me!! "I thought you said you could bake!!??" "Do you have any idea how much of MY money you have wasted!!??" "A lot of good that fancy Cooking School did you!!" Then she stomps out and starts yelling at the kitchen about something.

So, I told the other baker that I followed the recipe, and I DO know how to bake and I have made cookies since I could read!!! The cookies that were in the case were VERY thick chocolate chip cookies, they looked as though they really didn't spread much at all. After the owner had calmed down we explained this to her. She said that was the recipe and that was that.

So, several weeks later I had made other recipes with the same results, and I convinced the owner to let me come in with the night cookie guy to "learn" how to bake. So, I came in and watched him make the dough. For the chocolate chip he put the right margarine, sugar, eggs etc. When it came to the flour he didn't measure the flour. He didn't weight the flour, he just started dumping it in. I asked him how he knew how much flour to add and he said, "the mixer will tell you." WHAT???? But, yes, he just added flour until the mixer started to bog down and groan and slow down. I had been keeping track of how much flour he was putting in as best as I could by eye. I estimated that he was adding almost double the amount of flour that the recipe called for!! No wonder the cookies were so thick and didn't spread. They had WAY too much flour in them!!!

So, over the years of working there close to EVERY single recipe was made different than it was written. It was nuts. When you would make something the person who usually made it told you the changes to make, or the recipe had scribbling all over it with the changes. No one would make a set recipe because they were constantly being changed when the owner thought they were "wrong". I offered my time to put them all right and she went NUTS. Yelling that these are her "secret" recipes from her "family". Now I know recipes, and 99% of these recipes can be found on the internet or the old Betty Crocker and Duncan Hines cookbooks (where do you think her family got these recipes!!??) Heck, some of the recipes were just photocopies of cookbooks with scribbling for larger versions on them!!

Needless to say, I couldn't take her when she really started calling me stupid and lazy. I am a talented and hard worker and that was my final straw. I left. There are a lot of people out there like her.

Tami icon_smile.gif

LorienSkye Posted 22 Aug 2011 , 12:31pm
post #6 of 7

Hi Bobbie-
I'm so sorry for your bad experience! I agree with the PP who said that after looking at your photos it is obvious you are talented with a great deal of experience. Many of your cakes have intermediate techniques (hello, petite fours?!) so clearly you know what you are doing. If you say that fondant just wasn't workable in that climate, she should have taken your word for it as YOU are the professional baker and that's why she hired YOU. As a business owner, I totally understand wanting to keep supply costs down, but you absolutely can't compromise the quality of the product by purchasing inferior supplies! it sounds like in addition to her very sub-par interpersonal skills, this woman is also lacking some good business skills. Again, I'm sorry you had to deal with it, but it sounds like you never would have been happy working for someone so disrespectful thumbsdown.gif

bobhope Posted 22 Aug 2011 , 1:26pm
post #7 of 7

baker_rose ... yeah..indeed there are people out there like those 2 our ex bosses haha...at first i could not believe what was coming out of her mouth, insulting me & questioning my capabilities..modesty aside, she offered me the job .. i didn't go looking for one... icon_cool.gif

lorienSkye... thank you... it felt like i was in one of those reality top chef shows..you know, you're given these much ingredients, w/ these much tools but i was expected to produce something awesome for her icon_eek.gif ..one time i frosted a 10inch cake, she has no turntable so the other baker placed the cake on a round turbo grill (picture the turbo grill, it has very thin bars, no solid surface) & a spatula, so huge that it was hard to maneuver w/ it .the spatula kept on going through the gaps of the grill.. icon_confused.gif

i also totally understand wanting to keep supply costs down but also making sure we don't compromise the end result.. coz i ran my own cake biz here... i came home 3 weeks ago & never been so happy to be home icon_biggrin.gif

thank you all for making me feel better icon_smile.gificon_smile.gif

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