So that was 2012, the year of the Dragon, a year of change. Well, the world didn’t end, but for many including myself a new chapter of life began. Last year was certainly a busy, interesting and highly enjoyable journey! All that I hoped for happened and lots that I could never have anticipated.
My goal for 2012 was to build Moel Faban Suppers into a business with a good reputation and one that paid the bills. A simple wish really and something I have worked hard to make happen. It was a slow and inauspicious start. January was quiet and I worried that work wasn’t coming in. Had I made a mistake believing I could build a business in a recession? I fretted a lot as we lived a very frugal family life. I hadn’t anticipated how quiet the month would be and I cursed myself for not saving more the previous year.
There were odd moments of fun though as we hosted our first ever Sunday brunch which was a great success and I indulged in a bit of sausage making with my local butcher. I also had more time to cook and develop recipes and I had three summer wedding bookings to plan for.
By February and March things started to pick up. The local produce market and supper club restarted with a St. Patrick’s Day dinner. I also had a few nice private chef jobs and demo’s booked in. One was for nine very lovely firemen, while one of my demo’s was in a local secondary school. Following on from this Big Ideas Wales contacted me and asked if I would like to join their list of Dynamo Role Models. I did and so now I go out to schools and colleges in the area to talk to students about entrepreneurship and starting a business.
I still had just about enough time to visit some of my local producers; The Mushroom Garden were kind enough to sponsor a competition.
April saw the arrival of lots of goodies in the post. It was like Christmas all over again as I spent the month creating recipes and reviewing products for the blog. From Montezuma and Green and Blacks chocolate to Rachel’s Organic Yogurt and Clipper teas, my family and friends enjoyed being recipe testers. I also got out and about visiting various foodie destinations; a trip to Brixton Market and lunch with French and Grace and a visit to The Real Food Market at the South Bank.
By May the festival and wedding season arrived with a vengeance. I didn’t know it at the time but the Spanish supper club held early in the month would be our last for the year, but all of a sudden weddings just took over. As well as the three bookings I already had, I received another two. One for last-minute canapes and another mercifully for later in the year.
I zoomed into another frenetic gear as the first of five weddings arrived. This was rather too closely followed by a food stall at Kaya Festival that coincided with the Jubilee weekend, a teaching trip to Germany and another three weddings on consecutive weekends. At the end I was fit to drop. It was a fantastic learning curve and I hope I did justice to each wedding despite my relative lack of experience. I know that at three of the weddings my team got a special thank you and round of applause for the food which totally made our day! This year I will remember that two weddings a month is more than enough for me!
I took no bookings for July as I intended to take a long family holiday. I did manage a week in Ireland but out of the blue I received an email from Kerstin Rogers (AKA ms marmite lover). She and Alex Haw of Latitudinal Cuisine had joined forces to host an event that coincided with the Olympics. Global Feast 2012 was a kind of food olympics, held over 20 consecutive nights and with a different chef/world cuisine each night and seated around an amazing world map table designed by Alex’s Atmos design team.
Alex and Kerstin were looking for supper club hosts and up and coming chefs to cook on each night. They asked me to cook on British food night, serving dishes that represented the best of Wales. I made tiny tarts as canapes and crammed as many Welsh products into my dessert as I could manage!
This was one of my best experiences of the year. I was buzzing before, during and after it. Stressful as it was, I loved every minute of it. It gave me the opportunity to meet other supper club hosts and chefs and work on a unique collaborative project. I knew then that I wanted to do more pop-up events (and later in the year I did exactly that!)
I was back home a week before I hit the road again, this time to cook at The Green Man festival for the second year running. A new assistant accompanied me this year, lovely Lizzie, who became the fried egg queen and serial washer upper and we were all sad when our ten-day opening stint came to an end. On the out my sister Kate (freelance photographer and art blogger at exporingartinthecity) helped but this may well be her last year as she heads for new horizons.
As we headed into the Autumn more cookery demo’s and my last wedding of the year awaited. Conwy Feast and Moelyci Harvest Festival were highlights, topped only by the five stars awarded me at my environmental health inspection. Its likely I am the only five-star domestic property in the vicinity!
My wish for more pop-up events came true in December with a three course, 1930’s German themed cabaret supper. Tickets for the collaborative Weimar Productions event sold out. Guests came clad in their 1930’s finery and we Charlestoned the night away to some absolutely fantastic music. It really did cap a wonderful year.
So now we are back in January and like last year it is quiet. This time I’m ready. I have jobs a plenty to keep me busy; lots of paperwork (yuk, but it has to be done!) and planning and organising for the rest of the year. It’s nice to have a clear month to think about what I want to focus on and where I need some help. More weddings, festivals and more private jobs are on the horizon so there will probably be a few additions to the Moel Faban team, but I also want to get back to basics. Supper club is where I started and I don’t want to let that go despite having a very quiet year.
Dinners will therefore restart on January 26th and we will return to small events for up to eight people at £25 a head. The last Saturday of the month will become a regular slot with the produce market taking place on the second Saturday of the month. I’m also hoping to make a return to selling jam and chutney as that has fallen by the wayside this year.
For now though all I can say is happy new year and I look forward to seeing some of you in my home, at the market or elsewhere….