Whew! Well we just finished an epic two week stint in the pop-up pods at Moore Wilson's in Wellington. I imagine most businesses start their work in there with a well-established staff team and some menu items they are familiar with making. We did not! In addition I got sick the day before opening AND my car broke down! Not off to an auspicious start. However we somehow stumbled through the first day (and an interview with Lynda Chanwai-Earle from RNZ) and things got much better from there.
The day would start at eight in the Adulis kitchen across the road, roasting chicken, making fattoush and kubba - our 'spiced lamb croquettes'. A big rush to get the food over to the pod 11am (in a Moore Wilsons's trolley I might add - professional!), where a helpful volunteer and staff member from refugee background would be waiting to fling open the shutters and start chatting to people and selling our wares. Then we would have a coffee break in the kitchen, where we would sometimes read the cooks encouraging messages from our Pledgeme campaign (http://pldg.me/pomegranate - check out our video), then on to prepping for the next day. The cooks were on shifts but myself, Ange and my lovely mother worked 14 days in a row so we welcomed any coffee break we could get! The support was wonderful from the Wellington crowd - lots of friendly faces who had seen us online, or heard about us from a friend. We had some enthusiastic returners too - who needed to get more spinach pies or baklava to share with friends.
We saw some really great changes in the team of cooks - they became faster and more co-ordinated as a team, and we got to know them a bit better over that time as well - hearing about their families back in ther home countries, what was stressing them and what was bringing them joy. Two of our team came to the end of their first and second years in New Zealand, in the kitchen with us. I can say that it was a marketing and training exercise, but the unexpected part was the team building that occurred. Never mind that none of us can ever look a kubba in the face again!
Next in line for us is developing some new menu items for you all - today in the kitchen we made some light and flavoursome falafel, smoky eggplant dip, and warming kofta. We are available for catering now (just email via the Contact page) and will be starting individual lunch delivery in two weeks' time - so watch this space!