A Pilgrimage to Bard | Arts & Culture
It has been a whole month since I opened my on-line bake shop and it truly feels as though so much has changed.
I have way less sleep under my belt for instance and my kitchen smells like pastry all the time, which is actually fantastic.
A new business, I have discovered has lots of growing pains but the highlights far exceed the difficult moments.
When my website first launched I started to send out e-mails to local businesses because frankly, I had no idea what I was doing. How do you get in touch with people who you want to sell things to? Especially without sounding like you are just a lowly salesperson. It's more difficult than ever in this electronic age to make face contact with those you need to step into success. So, I sent out a simple message to as many places as I could that fit my food morals. Only one responded and that was Bard Coffee in Portland. My e-mail happened to coincide with the soon to be vacant spot they had for a baker. Someone was definitely watching out for me there. And through a series of e-mails, the man behind the curtain decided to meet with me and taste my food.
Let me just say this, I have always loved Bard. It represents everything that is important to me. In this shop, they do everything by hand. Your coffee is perfectly crafted by a person practicing a dying art. And when you taste the first sip of that luscious hot beverage, often with a little fantastic design on top, it's magic. Sheer magic. To me, in a world where Starbucks and Dunkin Donuts dominate, this is a sweet escape because frankly, chain coffee establishments just don't do it sometimes. And, it's a local business which is fantastic. When I moved to Maine from New York, which strangely, had lots of places like Bard, I was broken hearted to find that there are not many options in my area where gourmet is part of the equation, so Bard (along with Monty's of Maine in Windham) is where I go to find my solace.
So, with that being said, it was absolutely fantastic to me when this chance came along and yes, I even did a little dance.
When I met the "man behind the curtain" I was really quite impressed because he was actually working. He wasn't just a guy sitting there sending correspondences. He was churning out beverages, smiling at customers, creating that experience that I was just talking about. So I knew, instantly, that he would get me and appreciate my products. I brought in for him to try all the items I had made for Harvest on the Harbor, which at the time was in two days. The little boxes I gave him had housemade oreos, red velvet cupcakes and an assortment of biscotti. I was nervous, so nervous, I always am when it comes to people trying my food. Everyone has a different taste and I have learned through watching enough Top Chef, that you can never be too confident. So I remain humble at all times. The "man" didn't try anything in front of me which for me, is preferred but two a week later it was confirmed that I was to be one of the baker's for Bard Coffee in Portland.
Yes, I did another dance. This one was far more animated.
Thus far, it has been a week of baking for them and I have made everything from raspberry crumb bars to housemade poptarts. I have stayed up till midnight and woken up in the weeeeeeee hours of the morning to finish off products as well as deliver. Am I tired? Yes. But I am excited. Because now people can go somewhere, a place I love and try my products one at a time. It invigorates me to know that I am baking for people, especially at an establishment whose customers will understand what my food is all about.
In the next coming weeks I plan on drastically expanding my already packed menu, adding variety and spunk. I plan on knocking the socks off people at Bard with some hopefully innovative ideas and very tasty food. I plan on figuring out a better way to rise in the morning as well. But most of all, I am figuring out this business. This wonderful thing called the hospitality industry. A place I love love love because it means spreading passion to people I would have not met otherwise. It means connecting through food. It meas building a name in a place where there are so many.
So go to Bard, get a fantastic coffee, say hi to the "man" and eat some of my food.