Tuesday, 30 March 2010

I'm A Cafe Owner

Well.....

Weeks of blur have passed.  We're seeing through the fog and REALLY getting organised.  Owning a cafe is nothing like you imagine before you open.  Each day is tiring, because you're not only preparing, cooking and baking food, but you have to put your 'business brain' on, and think of the patrons.  What they would like to eat, what they would like to see, how they would like to feel in YOUR establishment.  Because really, without customers, the business wouldn't be.  It is truly a service, and one that demands a theatre in it's own right.  It doesn't matter what is going on behind the scenes; - as long as the whole, complete experience is 'just right', there lies the reality of it all. 

There have been a few evenings, when the Machinist and I, when all is quiet and clean and scrubbed and packed and swept and mopped, - sit and reflect on all that has transpired.  We tell each other "...we're cafe owners...did you ever THINK this would be?"

And yes, - it's true. 

We pinch ourselves....

We are truly grateful and excited and challenged yet rearing to continue and develop and grow.  The whole experience is so emotionally packed, that you feel like one of the stars on awards night....

"I'd like to thank so-and-so and so-and-so" and "...we're amazed..." and "...it's been an awesome journey..."

Etc. etc.

The Machinist and I are the pie-makers and bakers.  We mix and roll and fill pie pallets and cover them with rough puff pastry.  Our black aprons are lightly dusted with plain and baker's flour.  We do a happy dance when we see the pie tops rise like souffle's through the window of the trusty old pie oven. We also do a lot of high fives, but the tone of the kitchen can change in a minute, resembling a kitchen akin to Ramsey's, if things go wrong. 

Sometimes, the girls pop their heads in and ask "...can you keep it down in here.  We have customers..."

Customers! 

We. Have. Customers.

This weekend is the 'Easter' weekend and we are expecting a lot of passing motorists.  Fish pie is on the menu: a seafood marinara filling boasting a piped mash 'hat', which we will serve with mesclun salad and a wedge from a BIG FAT LEMON.  I will also make some fruit flans and apple pies - nice and plump and runny.

Mmmm....

Right now, though, there is a multitude of ordering to be done, and if I don't fall asleep at the computer, bobbing forward and cracking my head on the screen, I hope to do some paperwork, too.

Oops!  There goes my floppy head!

Sunday, 21 March 2010

Welcome to My Manufactory!

I've missed blogging.

Then again - I've missed a lot of things. 

No matter.  This is a new chapter for all of us.  I have to smile at the sheer variety and fullness life has to offer.  On any particular day I could be doing the washing, making business calls, typing out quotes for the Machinist, grocery shopping with the Grands, cleaning commercial equipment, MAKING AND BAKING PIES, working at the local winery, ordering or picking up food for the cafe, mindlessly checking Facebook, holding metal sheets in place with the Machinist, sweeping and mopping the shop's kitchen floor, having a photo shoot at the Shop, dropping off marketing cards...The list goes on.

All of our children are hands on deck today.  The Machinist and Son are doing the final touches to the cafe tables, as well as 'knocking up' some more pie tins and customising the baker's rack.  The girls will be up at the cafe, unwrapping packets and boxes of coffee, sugar and tea, as well as arranging 'their' counter space.  They'll also be doing the last of the painting; the toilets.  We are using a deep purple colour called "Double Bass" by Dulux (same as the rear wall behind the counter). 

We're all full of aches and pains.  This is back-breaking work!  The Machinist's leg / ankle is still troubling him.  I suspect he has broken a bone, but I'm no doctor.  I've booked him in to see our doctor AFTER the opening.  Emma has fallen arches, so she is hobbling around, too - also putting her treatment off for 'later'.  I think for all of us, though, the sheer strain of constantly lifting, carrying and moving is taking it's toll.  Not to mention the long hours and late nights. Won't it be lovely when we're open and life is routine?  Maybe a lot of work still, but nevertheless - routine.

I hope to update the pie blog soon, with pictures of pies, the kitchen and cafe, along with media releases.  I'm hoping that on Tuesday of next week, we can mainly clean and titifilate the place up.  Now that will be exciting... 

Sunday, 7 March 2010

We've Set a Date!

The pie shop is coming along nicely.  It has been a long, hard haul, but now we have an opening date: Thursday, the 25th March 2010.  It's rather scary and exciting naming a day and date, which is a HUGE committment.

Getting the equipment into the kitchen was the easy part.  What I find so tiring is carting various items from our home kitchen to the shop kitchen and organising them.  I don't think you truly know how you want your working space until you're actually using it on a regular basis.  We've been making a supply of pastry, - puff and shortcrust for the pies and storing them in the freezer.  It's a good thing to have backup products.  Tomorrow, there'll be more mixes and test pies in the making...

This evening, the Machinist called me "...come and help me with Bob, Babe.  He's cut his foot really bad and the blood is dripping all over the place.."  Our 'Miracle Dog' decided to jump over the deck fencing for his toilet duties.  He can get over, but he can't get back upon the deck.  He has been chewing the deck post, which holds the gate brackets (that the Machinist made to keep the dogs out of the big yard).  In a desperate effort to get back with his pack, he has jumped, caught his back paw and cut it wide open.  We've bandaged him up the best we can.  For tonight.  Tomorrow, we'll have to take a closer look and assess what needs to be done.  It's the last thing we needed to happen...

We are all so weary and I wanted this to be an exciting post, but it's 11.45pm and I'm really tired. 

More later....after all - as my mam says "...tomorrow is another day..."