Serendipitous Success: Harvest on the Harbor | Arts & Culture
The first time I saw: Eat Your Plate on the Harvest on the Harbor Website, I felt anxious, delighted, excited, nervous, I mean, a vast array of emotions.
And since that evening when it was first brought to my attention I have thought about it in waking and in sleep.
As the days came closer, I worked furiously in the kitchen making 2,000 biscotti, 500 cupcakes and 20 sheets of blueberry layer cake for the Lobster Chef of the Year event. Oh and I must not forget the countless batches of chocolate ganache buttercream frosting to top all the cupcakes. Towards the end of the week I started to feel defeated. The only thing that kept me going was the thought of sharing my food with hundreds of people. And more than anything I will admit, I was a nervous wreck about being in a room with chefs of this caliber, who had worked so hard to create an om-age to lobster that was worthy of a judging panel and 200 of Maine's most elaborate palettes.
On Friday when I arrived with all of my housemade oreos for the gift bags and my bins of cake, I was first greeted by Charity, Lisa & Colleen. Three gals who answered all my questions, comforted me when I was unsure and responded to every e-mail I sent that may or may not have been pointless. Their smiles built my confidence throughout the day and created for me the feeling that I could conquer this head on. My husband Josh, who you all have heard about many times helped me to set up my station, frost all of these cakes, top them with the proper garnish and then guarded them when things became crazy behind the curtain. He looked at me with love and adoration and told me a dozen times how proud of me he was for doing this. Then their was Ryan, one of the three chefs competing for the title, who was the friendliest man in the kitchen I have ever met. His modest demeanor and humble approach made me wish that he had a restaurant close by that I could dine at and often. Lastly, there was the culinary students who plated every dessert with care, listened to my instructions and made sure everyone had the perfect bite. With all of these people around me, my tensions started to ease which allowed me to take notice of what was happening all around me.
People were eating my food, a dessert that I worked very hard on and they were enjoying it in ways that I never thought possible. After everyone had consumed the last bite, I was greeted with dozens of people telling me how moist the cake was, that they were dying for the recipe (which will come later) and that it was a delight to taste something so perfectly balanced.
YESSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSS! I thought. I had done it.
I left the event ready for the marketplace which was the day I was looking forward to the most.
Yesterday when I awoke to my alarm it was excitement that filled my veins rather than nervousness because everything was already done. There was nothing left to stress about. All my food was prepared, sitting in large bins ready to distribute. All I had to do was give it out and talk to all the people who were there to taste food and drink great wine.
I set up my table which included: Chocolate Chunk Almond Biscotti, Chocolate Ganache Buttercream Cupcakes & Magnolia Vanilla Cupcakes. Then I waited for everyone to trickle in, which they did in large numbers at noon and again at 4:00.
In the beginning people just looked delighted to see a table with such cute minature desserts, I mean, let's be honest, everyone loves little cupcakes. But then faces changed to sheer happiness when they actually tasted everything and the icing on the cake, for me at least was showing people that Biscotti can be an enjoyable dessert when done correctly. Everyone inquired about where I was from, where they could get my food and how long I had been business. The feedback for an on-line bake shop was fantastic. I think people perceived it as a new way to conquer the sweet tooth. I had the chance to talk to people about what it is I do. I smiled, I laughed and I truly, without a doubt enjoyed myself. Some people were there to network, others were there for marketing, lots were there to build their businesses. I was there to showcase what it is that I love the most, sharing food, good food, with lots of people. For me, nothing beats the look on someones face when they realize that they just bit into something spectacular. To me, that is all the thanks I need.
It's rare that the gratification comes in the most perfect way possible.
I walk away from this experience so thankful for the two days I had with some really fantastic people. I feel more gratitude than I ever have before. It was the best thing that I have ever done and will absolutely do it all over again next year. Harvest on the Harbor is a remarkable event. And the people that put it all together worked so hard to make it the best possible set of events. Not once did I ever hear anyone complain and they were there countless hours. All I saw was encouragement, excitement, work ethic and sheer charm. Their happiness was tangible and contagious. Not only that, but there were so many people they had to cater to and everyone knew me by name, asked how I was doing and what they could do to help. I thank everyone, once again, for all the support.
It was a wonderful weekend. One that I will hold on to for a very long time.