When people asked us about a firm opening date for our store, I was very reluctant to give an answer. I know enough people in the industry to know that an opening doesn't always go the way you wanted it to go. Our architect aimed for June, and our contractor said early July, so I told everyone probably late July...but then filed our paperwork saying August 16th, but that's tomorrow so all I can do is throw up my hands and shrug!
I know it's coming soon, but now that we've passed all of my estimates, I don't know what to tell people. You never really know what's going to happen when you start building. When we tore down our ceilings, we saw that we needed to add some support to the structure. When we opened a wall, we found that a chimney had collapsed. When our contractor removed the tiles from the floor, he found that the underlying floor was beautiful. We took off the plastering covering the front of our store and discovered that we really liked the original building. There's so many surprises everywhere! We also found out that since our building is over 100 years old, we would need to upgrade the power supply to the whole building in order to have a working kitchen on site. It looked like it was going to happen in July, but then ConEdison went on strike. Now that the strike is over, we're waiting for them to go through their backlog of stuff and get to our store. They're inspecting on Friday, so hopefully it means that they're upgrading shortly after. Then after our electrician updates all the wiring, we can plug things in and at least get the kitchen running so we can start preparing for opening date. If you ask me when opening date is, I'll ask you if you have any pull with ConEd!
Did you know that we have the best fans, ever? When we got married in April, we had no plans for a honeymoon. At our booth at Madison Square, I put a sign on a cup and wrote, "Just got married and can't afford a honemoon. Tip jar." Many sympathetic fans, or just nice people passing by would throw change into the jar. Sometimes, a person would run up and press a $5 into the cup without buying anything. We had the nicest conversations with people about where we wanted to go, what we wanted to do, or what it was like when they got married. Couples would give us advice on a long relationship (aka I always win and Simon needs to know that). We'd talk to newly weds about how stressful wedding planning actually was and how being married is just like being in a serious relationship, but with some new bling bling. We had a great time talking to our fans and finally, everything came together and we booked a completely last minute trip to Montreal. I got an email about flight sales on Tuesday, and we were in Montreal by Saturday! With the help of our fans, we had a wonderful honeymoon filled with lots of walking, eating, and the nicest bed we have ever slept on. In fact, we called the bed "The Cloud" and could not believe how the good our sleep was on The Cloud.
Montreal was amazing. We did a lot of walking, ate a LOT of food, and just had a grand old time. I had thought it would be cold in comparison to the heat wave taking over NY, but I was wrong and I got the first tan I've had since 2009. Even with a thick coat of SPF 75 on, I still got a tan! We ate a billion croissants, ordered tons of poutine, ate at Schwartz, and watched the medieval duct tape fight.
Did I mention that my teammate, Julien, from my Pierre Herme class owns a shop up there called Point G? Based on how many shops that carry their macarons, it appears that Point G is THE shop to go to! Back in April 2009, I basically lied about my experience in food to go to the workshop in Paris. It was pretty clear right away that I was a complete amateur, but fortunately, I had been teamed up with Julien. Julien was so fast and efficient that I remember looking at him and thinking, I need to go to school to be like this guy. When we saw him yesterday, he even demonstrated to Simon how bad I was at piping and the scared faces I would make (all totally accurate). Julien taught me how to have more control with my piping bag and today, I still use his technique. Anyway, in three years, his business went from a tiny shop with a small budget to a really amazing operation. I hope that one day, we will be somewhere near as successful as he is.
One of the things I like about the food industry is that it's full of nice people. Sure, there are bad eggs in every bunch, but a lot of us are brought together by our love for food. Some of our best friends are friends we have met through food and during the rare times we do get together, we talk about our shared experiences, or throw around ideas for a new product. We wonder if there's a better way for a small business to do delivery service; we complain about how scary an 80 quart mixer is; we chat about the nice thing someone said to us that day. There is more that brings us together than tears us apart, so we love to share it. Simon met a nice couple who work at a restaurant in Pittsburgh while we were on line for a Japanese spot in Montreal and we had that common ground that made us almost instant buddies. Julien told us about how difficult the early days of his business was, which I imagine is a warning to us as future new store owners. There are plenty of stories to share. I can't wait for the classroom portion of our kitchen to open up because then we'll be able to show our fans where the magic happens and let them have a glimpse of it, too.