Sunday, November 28, 2010
Has This Always Been My Dream?
(photo credit Sylvain Lajoie)
Have I always dreamt of this?
I have been asked this question over and over again in the past few weeks.
This question required much thought.
If you had asked me when I was 22-23 years old, I would not have hesitated. Of course owning my restaurant is a dream. But then years go by and you are a bit more conscious of all the monetary risks, the long hours involved, the way you really want to do it and the sacrifice that comes with it. And if you are me, along the way, some people have disappointed you and now you are a bit more careful, scared and I hope wiser.
Let me share the week that has gone by (week 3!) and then a little story about restaurant dreams (for those who still are reading by then...)
*Well, I was on tv. I wasn't sure I wanted you all to see it, I couldn't watch myself, and I finally watched it, and you can too. Clicky clicky to see.
*There was a FANTASTIC review/article in the local newspaper. I guess I am doing something ok.
*I have incredible helpers. Meet Christal.
Christal is the sweetest, cutest, most positive classy lady ever. If you come to Edgar, please convince her that her French is adorable. But be warned that she is very very strong, so don't tease her too much.
She has helped me a few times this week in exchange for food and cooking/baking tips. Sadly, we have been so busy that she has not learned as much as I hoped. Last Sunday, the crowd took us by surprise, we rushed from open to close. Wednesday, ditto. Today, she had time to make some doughs and learn to make the perfect cappucino (for me!)
*I am notorious for not drinking my coffees. I usually drag out one coffee the whole day. 50% of that time my coffee gets knocked over... It happened twice this week. I drank Christal's coffee in 6 minutes flat, record time. No spill.
*The hits this week? Chocolate ginger cookies.
And any chicken sandwich (we had chicken avocado melts, chicken with spicy red pepper jam and oka, chicken bacon roasted tomato) - these sold out every day. Here are Christal and her sister Loretta makin' sandwiches with love... and spicy mayo!
*Today, I actually had time to sit down and eat. A first since we opened.
And I gave myself permission to eat whatever I wanted, not leftovers. And I ate a chicken sandwich. With bacon. And avocado. AND crème fraîche. I made crème fraîche as a garnish for my roasted tomato, garlic and basil soup, I could eat it by the shovelful.
*Waffles still are my fave. And luckily, they are Miss K's as well. This lady has become a familiar face on weekends and she lets me coat her waffles with bacon caramel. And she let me picture her plate...
...and my mum is the most incredible mum in the world. For many reasons. Je t'aime je t'aime je t'aime mamie. She did a lot for Simon and I this week, sweet surprises that make life easier.
(And Simon's parents are incredible too. Et merci David. Et merci Johanne. Et merci Line. Et merci Rachelle. Et j'oublie certainement qq'un cette semaine, je suis morte.)
And now, the answer to the question, really...
I have somewhat always dreamt of this.
My mum said this week that she could remember me being very young and wanting to stir, mix, taste... I have very clear memories of the show 'Just Like Mom' and I wanted soooo bad for us to be contestants!!! My cake would be the highest one (baking powder and orange crush were the secret in my head...)
Owning a restaurant or becoming a chef popped in my head when I was about 22-23 years old. I was working 7 days a week in restaurants, and I thought I knew a lot... I certainly had a lot of experience for someone my age, but it makes me giggle today - I understand taste so much more now, technique, balance.
I wanted to share this tidbit because I lived a very emotional moment this week. The woman who crushed my dream when I was 23 actually came to the restaurant this Wednesday. And I simply cannot stop thinking about it.
I was so wide-eyed when this woman proposed that we open a restaurant together - she would follow whatever idea I had. It would be my show. My friends came to help, they even repainted the exterior of the house she bought for the bakery. My father and I redid the whole interior, installed hardwood floor, demolished walls, refinished walls. I researched, baked and baked. And then, not even a week before opening, she said: I think I cannot work with someone like you. We are not compatible. I was crushed. Lost. Someone like me. What did that mean?
It means that I worked hard for all these years and I finally have my own place. Mine. Not working for anyone else than little old perfectionist me. But I am not perfect, I have flaws. And I think I am fun to work with anyways. And I think I will make this work and grow for years to come. It will change, I might stumble, but I will always give it all I have.
So because I know I kick ass at what I do, I served her her roasted tomato soup and chicken chipotle wrap. And I knew all too well that she had read that newspaper article before coming - even though she acted all surprised when she saw me and asked: Oh! You work here? You own this?
Yes. And I will not be stepped on ever again. And I will be proud.
And no one out there should ever think it is ok to be stepped on if you follow your heart and have good intentions. Life will find a way to make it all sweeter, you just wait. (in my case, 11 years...)
ps. her friend told me they had read the article as she paid for lunch... Life is sweet indeed.