“Soufflés. We make the crème pâte in advance, but when it’s ordered, the process is: warm crème pâte over a double boiler, and while that is warming, you need to hand whip a fresh meringue. Once the crème is warm, you have about three minutes to fold in the whites and then fill your molds to make sure you don’t touch the edges (as it makes them rise crooked). Into the oven for three minutes, open the oven, and rotate for two minutes. In those five minutes, you have to plate the rest of the table’s desserts, which all have 8–10 components. Soufflé comes out to a waiting waiter and has to go to the table immediately or deflates.
While it’s not the most difficult thing in the world, when you’re busy and have 4–6 on order, and each one needs to pass a three-finger test (height above the rim of the mold or it gets sent back, and you need to restart), it can get quite hard and demoralizing when they don’t work.”