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An Unbelievable Year
Wow!!! Looking back over 2015…so much has happened. There were some major highs, some lows, some big challenges and real learning curves. But above all, plenty of variety – never a dull moment, that’s for sure! – and a huge feeling of personal satisfaction.
I don’t think I knew quite what was ahead of me when I visited Copenhagen in January. It was such an important, inspiring trip for me in terms of food and design – tasting delicious dishes in every café and restaurant we went to and seeing so many beautiful objects in shop windows across the city, not to mention the Design Museum! I definitely came back to London with a spring in my step.
Then I received a phone call from a lovely lady wanting me to hire me for a birthday party, saying how much she’d enjoyed my food at a party back in 2007 and still remembered it as a “taste sensation”. Such a lovely compliment to receive and a great way for Baked Salt to start the New Year!
Around February/March mutual friends introduced me to Scarlett, the lady who owns the art gallery at the Loughborough Hotel in SW9. She had this lovely space available next door to the gallery, which would be the perfect location for me to open a café…and would indeed become the home of Baked Salt at The Loughborough Cafe just a few months later…
Catering for a 70th birthday party, at a client’s beautiful home in Surrey, was another highlight. I have done many events for this client over the years but this time I collaborated with an old friend on the event, who worked on all the decoration and design for the tables while I took care of the food. The weather that day was absolutely glorious – it was almost like we had pre-arranged for the sun to come out!!
After a lot of intense planning and preparation, my café opened its doors on the 6th August – this was really exciting as I was finally turning what I’d thought about doing since I was a teenager into reality.
This new venture has of course been challenging, and it’s taken me a little time to adjust to running the café alongside Baked Salt outside catering. In October, three months after opening – when I knew I could leave things in safe hands for a short while – a visit to Lanzarote provided me with another dose of inspiration and a chance to re-charge the batteries! Super fresh fish and vegetables made for some delicious, simple suppers enjoyed outside in the warm evening air…and I was in design heaven looking at the work of artist/architect César Manrique all around the island.
Having the new café space as an extension of Baked Salt events has been hugely rewarding in so many ways; I love coming up with specials for the café’s menu, it’s been wonderful starting to see regular faces amongst the customers, and I really enjoyed decorating the café for Halloween and Christmas.
As an extra bonus I even found some new Baked Salt clients through the café; one couple popped in for breakfast and we got chatting – including me telling them about my plans and background – and I ended up catering for the husband’s 50th birthday party! A dream job, food and style-wise!
Now I’ve reached the point of some well-earned time out while the café is closed over the festive season. I’m planning things for Christmas, making sure I have time to shop for food and wrap that small stocking filler! The New Year will bring an energised fresh start, when my plans for the café including finding and making more things for the shelves, creating some one-stop products for customers to take home and – in the longer term – introducing some floristry!
Thank you to all my Baked Salt clients, customers of The Loughborough Café, my staff and suppliers and everyone I’ve collaborated with in 2015. It really has been an unbelievable year! Wishing you all a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!