In my previous post, I talked about how my relationship with my mentor was going, so this week I will be focusing on how I am progressing as a baker.
I very recently made a batch of French macrons for Valentine’s day, and I was pleasantly surprised with the result. They were sweet and crispy, and overall very delicious. I found that the egg white was more stable while being whipped into a meringue if I added a splash of white vinegar (which can be substituted with lemon juice or tartar powder).
I have found that the recipe I’ve been following has the oven at to high of a temperature, so I plan on turning down by 30 degrees. Another problem that I’ve run into is that the recipe I’ve been using for the French macrons, and all the recipes that I’ve found so far, contain some kind of nut flour. TALONS has a no-nut rule, so I may have to look at substituting the nut flour for something else.
1. What went particularly well during your mentoring sessions?
Something that is going particularly well in my mentoring session is the rate at which I am learning. I am finding myself growing as a baker, and I am constantly able to take on new responsibilities. For example, at the bakery where I am being mentored, I often am baking the cupcake mixes that will be used during the week.
2. What relationship challenges did you face? Address some of the sub- questions below
a. Were you communicating effectively with one another? Explain
I find that my mentor and I are communicating relatively effectively. For example, when she is explaining something to me, I am able to understand the technical baking vocabulary that she is using, and instantly understand what she is asking me to do.
However, I would describe myself as a little shy and timid, so I struggle to make small talk with my mentor. I find that I am getting better at it though, and I hope to keep improving.
b. Were you candid and open in your communication? Explain
c. Did you take care to check out assumptions with each other? Explain
I am often checking out assumptions with my mentors, and the team that I bake with during my mentorship. For example, when I am unsure of what to do, I can ask someone that is in my general vicinity, and they will assist. Also, when my mentor assigns me a task, she always checks that I understand and know what I am supposed to be doing.
d. Were you actually listening to each other? Explain
Yes, my mentor and I where actually listening to each other. I find in a situation like baking, which interests and engages me, I have little desire to be off-task or unfocused, and it is easy for me to listen and understand what my mentor is saying. I imagine that it may be similar for her, but I do not know for certain.
3. What learning challenges emerged?
A learning challenge that emerged while I was working on in-depth was the fact that I am a perfectionist. In baking, accuracy and an eye for detail can be helpful, but an overactive one can be limiting. I find that I am often worried that I will mess up, and the batch that I am making will become usable. Baking in Cakes n Sweets, where I am doing my mentorship, makes it even worse, as they are a business and I do not want to waste any of their resources.
a. What did you do to hold yourselves accountable for the learning?
I am dedicated to finishing what I started, and this holds me accountable. Also, I am very grateful that my mentor has chosen to mentor me, so I own it to her to finish what I started.
4. What logical challenges affected your communication?
A logical challenge that affected my communication with my mentor was the fact that she went to Hawaii for a week, so that impacted our communication in that she wasn’t there to answer my emails. Another challenge that is impacting our communication is that my mentor and I sometimes have conflicting schedules, so we are unable to meet.
a. What factors affected your ability to interact effectively?
Some factors that impacted our ability to interact affectively were the fact that I am quite quiet, so I should probably come out of my shell more.
5. What three strategies could improve the quality of your mentoring interactions?
Three strategies I could use to come out of my shell are:
- Make small talk
- Don’t be afraid to ask for help
- Engage the other bakers in conversation
6. What is the action plan for implementing each of the three strategies?
- To make small talk, I could ask how their weeks are going, and what they’ve been up to.
- To not be afraid to ask for help, I can remember to calm down and remind myself that no one will judge me.
- To engage other bakers in conversation, I can talk about what high schools they went to, and ask them about why they wanted to become bakers.