Last week I faced was one of the most challenging weeks I have ever had. I should not have taken on the number of orders I had but somehow the little voice in my head kept telling me I would be able to do it (maybe I am a sucker for self inflicted stress!). And on top of all that I ran a four day intensive class during the week and another class on Saturday.
Cake by students from the intensive class. To put you in the festive mood :)
Cake by students from the intensive class. I just love this design!
The Sunday before, as I prepared for the storm I really did worry how I would get it all done. It was not a matter of not finishing (I knew I would finish) but more the matter of the amount of sleep I would have to sacrifice to get there. Oh dear...
At one point, my studio was packed to the brim with cakes - created by students as well as those for my weekly orders. Cakes, cakes everywhere! Not to mention trying to schedule the deliveries. Three of the cakes all had to be delivered to venues all over town before 10am. It's at times like this I wished I had my own delivery driver.
But you know what? As I now sit here and reflect on last week, I think the pressure and challange was just the right amount of fire up my bum I needed to get myself to move faster and be better. I realised what I thought would take me a long time to do based on past experiences actually did not. I managed to really push myself and I guess when you have no other choice, something inside yourself snaps and you somehow just move, move, move!
This reminds me of a really inspirational speech I watched on You Tube a couple of years ago. Chef Johnny Iuzzini of Jean Georges in New York was addressing the graduating class of 2008 from the Culinary Institute of America. The advice that stood out to me the most was to always push yourself to be better than the day before... and there is always someone behind you that can do your job better and faster than you. You can watch the full the speech below.
Since then, with things that I do on a regular basis - like ganaching, I always have a quick look at the clock and aim to do each cake faster than the one before. In the past, what would usually take me half an hour to do now only takes me about 10+ minutes.
Everyday is a new challenge and especially when you work for yourself, if you don't care to constantly push yourself to be better, no one will.