Premise

Can the use of positive reinforcement alter built in behaviour of, a small, well established, front of house team, as regards to the leaving of condiments and olives in the pastry section of a busy restaurant?

Background

The experimenter is the overworked and underpaid employee of a busy fine dining restaurant, the pastry chef to be precise. His section includes several work areas. Due to his often sloppy manner similar behaviour has been exhibited by some of the other of the pack. A recent drive to tidy up his act has not been reciprocated by the front of house section of the group. Namely when a customer asks for olives or condiments the remaining container is left on the surfaces.

Although not one to espouse the “broken window theory”, the current situation in the section points, anecdotally at least, to its validty. After several other solutions were formulated and poorly implemented; including the “For fuck’s sake how hard is it to put it back in the fucking walk-in?” and the “Do you do this shit at home?” paradigms, said pastry chef was wanting for a solution.

It was not until 20.30 hrs today that a possible solution appeared. One of the pack actually broke trend and put the Dijon mustard back on the shelf from whence it came, leaving the section free to send the party. Seeing a window of opportunity, said experimenter, rewarded behaviour with a bit of marshmallow. After reward, said behaviour was adhered to.

Subject 1, as she will, from now on, be known, is a Beta female with a propensity for sugary sweets. Her higher ranking than said experimenter means that the early chastation of bad behaviour held no particular weight. Perhaps as they say the carrot is better than the stick (especially if you have no particular stick other than hiding the Brie at end of service).

Initial conclusions

Although there has been marked, positive behavioural adaptation in one subject, it is too early to draw a conclusion as to the effect of marshmallow treats on the behaviour of a whole species. Initial results look positive. This pastry monkey would like to open this up to peer review and as such publish here my marshmallow recipe:

okay, I have left my pastry book at work, so here is the James Martin one. As much of a smarmy bugger he can be, I do like his recipes and would recommend his cook books:

http://www.bbc.co.uk/food/recipes/raspberrymarshmallow_86118

Final word:

If you are carrying out this experiment, please use marshmallow as a treat as we cannot change too many variables at once. I think peanut brittle would be a happy substitute but then you have to factor in allergies and things.

Anyway, pastry monkey out

Frangi-pain in the arse

When trying to keep on top of an already busy pastry section, miscommunication is the mother of all fuckups.

Yesterday I came in to a stack of preorders, a table of 20, a 30 and a 35, all demanding frangipane for desert. A bit of a pain as I only have one suitable tray for the job. This means knocking out approx 16 portions at a time but hey ho, a baking I did go.

The recipe

Here are the ingredients for 16 portions:

480g sugar
480g butter
480g eggs
480g ground almonds
40g plain flour

Jam
A sheet of puff pastry
Rasberries

Cream butter and sugar well in mixer.
Add whisked eggs while mixer still going
Finally add almonds and flour, keep mixing, ensure the paste is smooth. Stand at room temp as it will make it easier to spread on base.

Take your shallow tray about an inch deep. Wet the base with a sprinkling of water and cover with greaseproof paper, make sure it covers the sides as well.

The sprinkling of water will ensure the paper sticks right to the edges.

Spread the paste evenly in the tray leaving a little space for rising. Half your rasberries and push them in in a nice pattern baring on mind how you will portion.

Bake at 165 for 20 mins but check at 10 and 15. These ingredients are expensive and when you fuck up a royal bollocking is not far round the corner. You are looking for a light golden colour and when ready a thin knife pushed in will come out clean. Leave to cool.

The base

Initially we were just adding the mixture to a sheet of uncooked puff pastry but it was not crisping up.

Our new way is a bit more time consuming but the effect is infinitely better.

Role out a sheet of puff pastry the required size for your frangipane. Turn a tray upside down, cover in greaseproof and lay pastry on this. Prick pastry all over with fork to stop it rising. Cover with another grease proof sheet and another tray and weigh down.

Place in the oven at 175. Check after 5 mins then every 2 mins till almost light golden. Uncover for final 2 mins till crispy and slightly coloured. Sprinkle with icing sugar while still hot. Let cool.

Putting this schnizzel together

Cover the base with jam using a pastry brush.

Now the tricky bit. Remove the frangipane carefully. Place on another tray. Slide carefully on to base. Trim the underhang from the base. Chill so they join well.

Portion and serve. Warm slightly through serve with pistacio ice cream or creame anglais.

End

Well that is how I made frangipane for all these big groups. Problem is only one group wanted frangipane. The other groups can order a la carte. Now I spent all night making frangipane my other deserts are low.

Not my fault but as we all know the law of fecal gravity dictate that shit flows down.

Anyhows pastry monkey out.

Bread is really the stuff of my life or at least a large proportion of my morning. I make around 100+ rolls a day. I am no expert baker by any means but this following process will produce good results.

First of all I would like to clear up the reason for rolls over loaves. With rolls I know how many portions I have for service and dont have to worry about front of house cutting slices that could choke a swan, leaving me to quickly bake again for second service.

The down side of rolls is that they take a bit more prep. They are also next to useless for beating off a drunk kp who thinks grabbing your nipples while you work is hilarious. A good loaf, I can attest, will leave a black eye. A roll will only spur said kp to greater acts of irritation. If this is a problem at home I suggest firstly that you have a pretty fucked up domestic situation but secondly to arm yourself with a long wooden lavash rolling pin as used by housewives across the med. This will leave a nasty welt and your afternoon completely unmolested.

Anyway here is the recipe for 80 or so rolls:

3.8kg white flour
100g bakers yeast check packet if using dried
100g salt
100g sugar
500 butter
Flavourings such as chopped herbs

Get your starter going. This is my first job of the day. So early is this job, that the coffee has not been put on and no-one has had a cigarette yet.

Mix sugar, yeast warm water in a container. Leave in warm place. Grab your coffee and go for a fag. Discuss who got pissed last night and make plans for pay day in 3 and a half weeks time.

When you return the yeast should be frothy. Put in large mixer, if you dont have one figure it out. Dont try and handle a mix this large without a mixer and dough hook. If you already have sorry I really should have said something sooner.

Chuck all in and get it mixing add flavourings now. Slowly add water till dough forms and cleans bowl. Pull out and knead until springy.

Cover, warm place. Have another coffee maybe a ciggy if you are not rammed tonight. Leave till doubled.

When doubled beat back. Use your imagination. Maybe the dough is an ex lover, maybe a commie who sings to radio 1 out of tune, whatever beat the fuck out of it. Cover with a wet towel and divide into 50g portions, make them into balls by rolling them in a loose claw hand. Lay on baking trays and again leave to rise. Egg wash and then bake on med heat until hollow sounding when flicked.

There you go. Sorry for the rush ending but I need to squeeze in another pint before second shift.

Dear Mrs Foster

It was with great disappointment that I received your letter on Tuesday, after all the hard work and investment Celtron Creative Solutions have put into helping you and your son Jimmy. In my response I would like to address some of the issues you raised in the letter and also point to the many contractual obligations that you must face up to.

Skermesdale Primary is one of the top schools in the county, there were only 7 shootings last year and only 4 were fatal which Ofsted rated as exceptional. It has a highly regarded Science department and a world class chemical dependency centre. All of this comes at a price, a price I may add that Celtron Creative Solutions met in full and all we asked was for was a small return on our investment.

I regret deeply that you feel Jimmy is picked on as a result of our arrangement but I doubt that this is the case. Kids are cruel and I doubt that Jimmy is being singled out any more than other kids. I will admit that the adverts that have been displayed on Jimmy’s body are not what some kids would consider “cool” but really he only has himself to blame. We have a team of leading market researchers and many of our clients monitoring Jimmy 24 hours a day. He is making no effort to fit in.

At playtimes he sits on the wall swinging his legs and looking at the ground, tucked away in his parker hood. Sometimes he just sits there all break time not talking to any of the other kids. Now be reasonable Mrs Foster, is that the kind of kid you want advertising your product? I don’t think so. In Ten years time, maybe, when Jimmy is old enough to appeal to the Goth or rebel market, but right now he is just tragic. The playground is a hard place and kids are very discerning, if our clients get associated with the wrong kind of kid it could be disastrous for their image

At the moment all we can use Jimmy for is advertising constipation pills and Werthers’ originals to the old people who come to see if he is alright. Or new waterproof plasters to the nurse when she patches him up after a fight. I know in our promotional material we projected that Jimmy would be advertising Nike and Adidas and computer game companies, but we made it clear that this would only happen if Jimmy made the effort to integrate into the target group, this he has not done.

May I suggest that you encourage Jimmy to play football and be a little noisier in class? He is doing well at keeping his grades low but that just isn’t good enough. Has he thought of picking on a smaller kid? It is a sure fire way for Jimmy to rise up the food chain and perhaps then we can get some of our more ‘trendy’ brands to invest in him.

Currently his skin is only worth 20p per square centimetre per week, which is barely enough to keep the morph-tattoos running and certainly not enough to keep him in school. But we at Creative Industries have a vision for Jimmy so we will not give up on him. That is why it saddens me when you say you want to go back on our arrangement. (which I can assure you is watertight contractually)

On a positive note, we have had one offer that I think you will like from a well known cereal manufacture. We have already made the adjustments to Jimmy’s conversation chip, feel free to try it. The trigger is, “Jimmy are you okay?” to which if you are not already aware he will reply: “I’m grrrrreat” in the voice of Tony the Tiger. I hope this goes some way to alleviating your fear that he is becoming quiet and withdrawn. It is new technology so we will see how it goes for now before moving to MacDonald’s who I must say are starting to warm to the idea of him shouting “I’m loving it” at ten minute intervals throughout the day.

I know that it is hard raising a child as I have two of my own. Sometimes you need to let them make their own way in life and although I understand your concern I assure you it is unjustified. We at Creative Industries look forward to working with Jimmy throughout his life, looking after him and the interests of his investors.

When he advertises his first bacterial spot cleanser, a famous pop band, driving lessons, a Mercedes, an estate agents, a famous aftershave, a range of suits, a Rolex, a single malt whisky, a mobility scooter, all the way to an equity release plan. We will be there, with him, every step of the way and I personally cannot wait for the golden times ahead.

Yours Sincerely
Ansel Mackintosh

Dear Mrs Foster

We at Celtron Creative industries offer our deepest condolences. We were shocked and saddend by the tragic and sudden death of Jimmy. It feels as if we too have lost a son. I am told he just walked right out in front of that bus; he didn’t even look up from his parker. May I be the first to say that in conjunction with our client Burger King we will be meeting the full cost of the funeral.

Yours Sincerely
Ansel Mackintosh

P.S. At our client’s request, can he be cremated?