A Hard Day’s Night

Bedtime on Friday… And the end of week 3 at the corporate kitchen.

Waking up at 4:40am, prepping and delivering my corporate breakfasts, rushing to get lunch on the go at the kitchen, fetching my son from school, shopping in the evening and processing a lot of admin late into the night has been both exhilarating and exhausting. Just last night, I had my son in tow, supermarket shopping and then doing a bakery collection at 8:30pm. “Dinner” at our house was a bowl of DasMuesli and vanilla yoghurt – thankfully the owner of DasMuesli dropped off a sample packet of his delicious luxury muesli yesterday, which served as our emergency meal last night. I’ve ordered DasMuesli for my corporate breakfast clients – once you’ve tried this muesli, you’re not likely to ever buy anything else.

Today we launched an Everyday Breakfast Menu at our corporate kitchen for the staff. A menu of breakfast items for R10 and under, using everyday ingredients. We had 86 breakfast orders, which were sponsored by the company in order for the staff to see what is on offer. I use the term ‘we’ loosely this evening.

On Thursday last week, after a short but thorough evaluation of whether I needed a good kitchen hand or a partner in the business, I opted for the latter. I was offered help by Rosemary Gough.  With her vast experience and expert cooking techniques, it soon became apparent that I needed a strong equal in the corporate kitchen.

Rose stepped in and took charge of the breakfasts (while I continued with my breakfast delivery service). She also created the Everyday Menu, in order to expand our offering to be affordable to everyone in the company.

Everything on the Everyday Menu is R10 and under. Today we launched our breakfasts, and on Monday we’re launching our lunches – with another free meal for the entire company.

Unfortunately, my son woke up ill at 4am today. My parents, who are my unfailing support system in the alternate weeks when Dylan is at my house, are visiting the UK. Hence while our corporate breakfast was being served to 86 people, on Rose’s orders I was at home to be a ‘mom’. So there was no ‘we’ launching the breakfast menu, it all fell on Rose. She did breakfast without a hitch, on her own, with a lot of advanced preparation on her part. What a star!

These past few weeks have been both challenging and rewarding. I’m playing a whole new ball game in this corporate kitchen. Being in a more pressurised environment is testing me, and I’m trying to grow day by day. Working with another person and not bashing heads, and keeping the communication going, is also a learning curve for me. I haven’t had work colleagues since 2010 and I’ve rarely had to cook on a tight budget.

A lesson that I’ve learnt the hard way, is that being organised and prepared is the key to successful catering when you’re serving a large group of people. Another lesson has been to listen to what other people want, and act accordingly, even if it means changing some of your initial perceptions. Finally, and most importantly, accept help and assistance when it is offered.

While my kitchen partner has slaved over a hot stove all day, I have nursed my young child and done a small amount of admin. I’ve also had a very welcome day of rest. This has given me a chance to re-inspire myself and consider how I can improve the way I do things to move forward in a positive direction.

Bring on Monday!

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