I was having this super miserable day at work, I was there for 5 hours longer than usual, I was tired, nothing was going right and then finally I got to leave....finally. I slowly dragged myself through the food court, up the 5 sets of escalators into the parking garage and to my car. My 10 minute drive home seemed to take forever. I arrived home and begin to eat my lunch that had somehow become my dinner and my phone rang. I look over at it and sighed involuntarily, it was the catering director and my heart just ached because I knew it could not be good.
She started so sweet and happy in the voice that normally means I not going to like what she has to tell me. She told me we had a huge tart order. I was like ok we can handle it. She started to tell me about it and she began, "Well the first day you have 218" I quickly thought 218 tarts easy...no prob why was she calling this big? My brain then registered her next word. "dozen." I then started to panic. My panic quickly turned to hyperventilating as she continued. 216 dozen the first day. Then a small day with 21 dozen. Then another huge day with 150 dozen. Then we got the weekend break but then it was a smoldering 263 dozen and another 23 dozen to finish off the week and the five orders. In total I would be making 263 dozen tarts or close to nine thousand yup that's a nine with three zeroes after it. I was in full panic mode. I put my sandwich down and climbed back in my car and went back to work to figure out if this was even possible.
I spent hours putting together a schedule, collecting people to help. I prepared order lists and task lists. I had nightmares about it and then it hit. The cold and flu epidemic that had been going on in the front of the store attacked my first pastry girl and then me...days before our tart misery began. I knew we would never survive....
The first order began and was chaos...my plan was good but not perfect. I quickly learned how you make thousands of tarts while working graveyards and with untrained people. I worked 20 hours in one day over 2 shifts. It was miserable especially since I was sick. I had a sore throat, a stuffy nose and could barely speak....after that first night my bad cold got drastically worse. I missed the next two orders of tarts because I ended up in the ER with a overboard heart rate and fever. We continue to take catering orders and my already sick pastry girls had to cope with tarts, mini pastries and dozens of sugar cookies. My one pastry girl had a cold, one had food poisoning and the other had only worked for me a grand total of six short shifts and had never made a tart before. It was rough but they survived! Go them!!
I finally was well enough to return to work only as my other pastry chef took a turn for the worse and everyone but me and the new girl required days off to get better.
The last two tart orders began and I never knew how bad my hands would hurt to pipe over a thousand tarts in under six hours. The 263 dozen never seemed to end. We would work through five tray of fruit tarts at a time (175 tarts) and they never seemed to end. It took us just over 40 hours between five of us to accomplish that order. It was painful and put some of us to tears. But it was done and I had never been more proud of myself or my girls. We had over 3000 tarts and they looked amazing. They were tarts to be proud of.
The last order for the mer 23 dozen or around 300 tarts was easy....I made them all in three hours by myself....I never thought I would love to see an order for 300 tarts but I did.
It was finished.
Tart Palooza kicked our butts in pastries. It sent me to the ER, required sick days from 3 out of the 4 of the pastry chefs and I think probably made us all cry at least once.
However I'm amazing at mass producing tarts now....someone else want 9000? I did it once and I'm positive I could do it again! We'll just leave out the ER, the cold and the food poisoning!