Just as the One Before

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The line requires you to move fast and move efficiently. You are expected to know the plates assembled at your station and how to execute them with minimal effort.

Being on the line for my very first time made this difficult. Having the room packed to full on a Saturday night of a holiday weekend when you expected it to be dead, however, can make this even more difficult. Stack that on top of three simultaneous wedding receptions and the pressure to not have a meltdown becomes palpable.

The line is where all dessert components finally come together. Each must be plated to specification so that every order going out is identical to the last.

For the chocolate decadence that means putting down a swath of peanut butter sabayon, placing on the decadence (essentially, a giant chocolate truffle with a coating of white chocolate caramel, a coating of ganache, and then rimmed with cocoa nibs), kissing the decadence lightly with the torch to make the chocolate shine before sprinkling some Maldon salt over the top. On the side goes some peanut butter sand and some candied peanuts. The result is a modern architectural piece of well-complemented chocolate.

The first time I do this it takes about three minutes. Four hours and many orders later, including 15 that must be sent out for a party simultaneously, I can now do it in about 20 seconds. The same goes for the other seven desserts on the menu.

Well, except the brûlée. The timing on that one still gives me trouble.

Garrett McCord is a freelance and staff food writer. You can read his work in Edible Sacramento, Sacramento News and Review and his blog, Vanilla Garlic.