So where was I? Oh yeah…Simmy’s Soup Kitchen.
Actually what happened was that Natanya got a job in Bennington Vermont, I was kinda languishing at Blantyre, so we decided to start a catering business. Why not, right? Just like that.
It’s called Folklore Catering…
We like it. And we’ll keep pushing to grow it…and this will be a slow and steady process. I kinda thought/hoped it would just take off right away with only a few hundred bucks invested, a nice logo, a big smile, and the will to cook whatever the client wanted. But it don’t work like that, young Jedi. There’s much more investment money required…and like, I need more than one wood spoon, two sauce pots, one gargantuan stock pot, one frying pan, a wok, 4 mixing bowls, 3 half sheet pans, 2 ice cube trays, a hot box, a weber, 2 frickin Coleman coolers, and an Osterizer blender. Although you’d be surprised how much you can make with just those few things.
We got some work, did a few gigs, had alot of fun, shopped directly at farms in the Berkshires and in Southern Vermont, cooked some awesome stuff, really enjoyed the bountiful gardens and pastures of late summer, made a website, did a photo shoot with the amazing Ben Gebo, put up a couple ads, made my first couple p-n-l statements…
…but just couldn’t make enough money for me to focus on it full-time. While we were getting some calls, and delivering food to folks every week, our bread and butter was making huge batches of soup from local ingredients(which was the cool part), scrambling to print cute labels and find decent looking packaging(sucked), sitting in the car all day making deliveries(sucked), and barely breaking even(made me want to stab myself in the forehead). Sure, it was fun as hell. And I created some great soup. But funds were dwindling fast. School loan repayments started kicking in. Maximal income rapidly became the priority. And honestly, I just wasn’t set up the way I wanted in order to feel organized, planned, legit, and comfortable. I was scrambling to get my ingredients and my cooking equipment. I was just cooking off the cuff without recipe testing.
No recipe testing makes me super anxious. It’s like kissing a stranger…yeah it’s kinda exhilarating but you could end up with cold sores. If you’re cooking something for the first time, especially if you’re pushing beyond your comfortable boundaries of technique, ingredients, and complexity, like I was doing, trying to prove something, then it could come out awesome, it could fall flat, or it could just be mediocre, the latter of which I think is the worst of all. And you’re live, man, on the air, in the moment, no way to take back what you’ve done once it’s in someone’s mouth. I’d much prefer to test out an idea a few times before I present it–at least for the sake of satisfying my compulsion for unachievable perfection…a perfection I didn’t create the environment to achieve anyhow.
I learned that by acting impulsively, I put myself in an untenable situation that wasn’t sufficiently thought through. I had the gusto to dive in but in my utopian optimism and my excitement to get going I didn’t layout the framework, figure out the angles, logically see through the potential pitfalls. Lesson learned…fo sho.
Anyway, in the meantime, the credit card was maxing out and I wasn’t getting those big phone calls for big gigs to keep me afloat. The catering season was ending, and the deliveries just weren’t going to hold us through the winter. One minute I was stoked to be doing my own thing, cooking what I wanted..the next minute I was freaking out. Now I know that dichotomy in emotion is a natural reaction when starting a biz, but c’mon…I could hear that voice inside saying “your in the weeds bro. Pull out before it’s too late.” A good cook can recognize when the weeds are coming…and the best thing to do is take action before it gets too bad. And you never want the cooks around you to bail your sorry ass out when you’re going down on the line…my folks had to loan me some money just to frickin eat. So I pulled back–suddenly and kinda awkwardly.
I felt terrible leaving the few steady customers we had. And if any of those custies are reading this right now, please understand how deeply appreciative we were to have your support and to cook for you.
Folkore is still in effect…it’s doing it’s thing slowly while developing funds, logistics, contacts, and experience. We currently have one…count it ONE…big wedding this coming summer. And that’s cool with us.
Did I mention that we’re getting married this summer? Yup! Planning that is even harder than planning a catering event. And we just moved to Connecticut. Wait…Connecticut??! We’ve moved into three states in the last 6 months! I think…dare I say…we may be here for a while. More on that next time. For now I leave you with this guy…
Meet the most hardcore working Argentinian cook I ever had the pleasure of working with. We worked together at a giant asado in upstate new york last fall. This guy travels around the world with his chef, doing enormous Asados, cooking for photo shoots, opening restaurants, not sleeping very much. And he smiled the whole friggin time!
Thanks for tuning in. Next post is all about big, bad, grizzly toothed Connecticut. Be scared.