WHAT IF?

TV Advert for Mugg & Bean by morrisjones&co. Creative Director: Margarita Karvouniaris.

I’m cooking today. A lunch for 30 people. The client is advertising agency morrisjones & co. I have no idea why they are working on a Saturday, it’s no business of mine; my business is simply to feed them, something I love doing for this appreciative, creative bunch of young people.
Paula (who does not want to be called Mrs Calhoun) asked me this question the other day:
All those film shoots you cater for – are they for local films, international? Met any interesting people there? Do you ever serve, or is it all “pick-up” buffet style. How many do you generally have to cook for?
In answer, I will give you a bit of background. For a long time, I have cooked secretly for people. It began with a boss I once had, a quite-high profile woman. She first asked me to make lasagna and salad, put it in her dishes and not tell anybody; she didn’t want her guests to know she hadn’t made it herself. Next it was a prawn curry she asked for. And so it went on. One day a business associate of hers asked me to quote on catering a light supper for a board meeting. A vague dream started forming in my mind; perhaps I could have a catering company?
Things carried on this way for a few years, in between my writing, editing, proofreading and freelancing for advertising agencies. In February I was offered a stint that I doubted I should take; it was a longer contract than usual and I was not sure that I wanted to not be a ‘free agent’ for such a long spell. The project was interesting, though, so I took the leap and went off to spend 6 weeks at morrisjones&co. On my last day, I took some cakes to the office as a farewell gesture to the staff, who had become my friends. The art buyer, a lovely, gentle girl, praised the cake and asked if I did catering. I said I did, albeit on a small scale. Shortly thereafter, she asked me to do the food for the crew at a photographic shoot.

Photography: Mark Lanning for Mugg & Bean
Most of the shoots I cater for are stills; product shoots for their clients.
Soon one of the clients asked me to cater for a team building brunch, and so it went … ever wider ripples. I now cater on average once a week, sometimes twice. I limit the numbers to 20 people, but today – because I love the people – I have made an exception and am cooking for 30. Buffet style.


Photography: Clive Stewart for Debonairs

What if I hadn’t taken the morrisjones 6 week gig? I don’t know, I have a feeling that, somehow, catering was going to be in my future anyway.

Photography: Clive Stewart for Debonairs

Photography: Mark Lanning for Mugg & Bean

For more takes on Sidey’s weekend theme, click here.

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66 thoughts on “WHAT IF?

  1. u r a great example of, the way to b good at what u do, is to luv it. i’m happy in your happiness. u don’t fool us. it’s clear this takes enormous work. but the energy u pour into your ventures is multiplied by your natural genius and pleasure. thank u for sharing.

  2. I too agree with Sana: You’re passionate about food and cooking and it shows. You’re an inspiration to us all.
    Speaking for myself, I’d be grateful to find a job I love and do so well as you.

    Please tell me what the heck is in the “triple decker flavours”???

    • It’s a pizza: Sweet & Spicy Chicken Triple-Decker®: Three layers, three cheeses – cream cheese, chicken, mushroom, onion, pineapple, tomato & herb pizza sauce, mozzarella cheese, topped with Tikka sauce, cheddar cheese & spicy mozzarella cheese with a sprinkle of parsley.

      • Dead serious, people love it. There’s another one: Three layers, three cheeses – cream cheese, ground beef, sliced pork cheese griller, bacon, onion, tomato & herb pizza sauce, mozzarella cheese, topped with BBQ sauce, cheddar & mozzarella cheese with a sprinkle of parsley.

  3. Interesting to read your story. I did catering for a while… couldn’t make enough money from private clients… But I’d love to do stills and work with food photographers. Now that must be fun. Sigh! Another disadvantage of my living in the middle of nowhere 🙂

  4. I was happy to read because I also wanted to know what Paula asked but I saw you did not respond. I wouldn’t want to be Miss Nosy by highlighting the non-response. You are having it good and I am happy that you are happy, hehe! More like what Oprah encourages, when you do something you love it doesn’t feel like work. (Not sure if you are her fan ‘cos I remember some negative comments @ letterdash n I can’t remember if you where part of them) I sound like a groupy now. Have a lekker weekend once more 😉

  5. Cindy, it’s such a wonderful story, full of taking what life sends you and making the very best of it. I’m so glad one of the great loves of your life – cooking and food – is becoming such a central part of it.

  6. Wow, sometimes just one choice makes everything ele fall into place…so happy it turned out like this for you. I do know for sure those who enjoy your fares are blessed – I salivate all over my keyboard just reading your posts daily!

  7. Congrats, Cindy, I love how this has happened for you – richly deserved!! You must have loads of fun with all those creative people 🙂 Thanks for including that stunning ad too – a gorgeous little respite!

  8. Pingback: What If? What If? What If? « Spirit Lights The Way

  9. They take some pretty cool pictures – I’m sure it’s even better for the wonderful meals they have 😉 Being brilliant can be very challenging on an empty stomach, you know 🙂

  10. They take some pretty cool pictures – I’m sure it’s even better for the wonderful meals they have 😉 Being brilliant can be very challenging on an empty stomach, you know 🙂

    Have a fun weekend, Cin!

  11. Wow, it can be very rewarding, but also very taxing I should think. Make the most of it while you’re still young (relatively speaking, haha) and energetic and maybe you can end up being the ‘madam’ with others doing the hard work.

  12. Wowza, that’s awesome. I love that you secretly made food for work mates. I’m impressed. There’s some damn fine karma headed your way. 🙂 Cool pictures. Very funky!

  13. I think your last sentence is right – you obviously love what you do so much that you’d have ended up in catering anyway.

  14. Wow! They must have been good cakes to inspire your colleague to ask if you did catering. I think you are totally right – if you have a passion for something it shines through. You were meant to make people happy with food (and your blog for that matter). Thanks for sharing your story!

  15. It’s wonderful to do the things we love and love the things we do. Lovely post and pleased that all worked out for you.

    Their three-layer thing looks interesting … anything w/cheese looks good to me. All American breakfast: not quite, but it looks good. My own all American breakfast is cheese, fruit, and coffee! Alternately, tofu, fruit, and coffee. Not typical.

    Off to have mine now …

  16. Love the background Cindy, though continents apart I feel I know you just a little bit better, now. But, my big question is: How do you find time to do it all? You must be a very busy lady. Kudos to all you have accomplished.

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