Friday, November 15, 2013

Balgoveeeeee - A Work Update

First of all, Jesse and I are officially the WORST at updating our blog. We’ve had many conversations about it and it’s official. We’re just the worst. There are no excuses. Only apologies.

So, my job. I’ve been at Balgove Larder since mid-January. I can’t believe it’s approaching a year already. It has gone by in a flurry of activity and change. Balgove opened the new expansion of the shop and cafe at the end of May and it feels like it has been flat-out busy since then.

I can’t say enough good things about working at Balgove and I am grateful to have a place there. Like I said, it has been a busy past number of months so I won’t go over all the details. But here are some of the highlights:

The staff: I can honestly say that I enjoy every single person who works at Balgove. The level of care people put into their work each day is so evident. I have a great amount of respect for the staff here. They keep Balgove going and are an indispensable part of its charm and warmth. It has been (and continues to be) a privilege and a pleasure to get to know them and to work with them.

The work: There are many parts to the job I have been doing. Part admin, part marketing, part event planning, part graphics & media design, part odd/random jobs that need doing; all rolled into the nice, neat title of ‘Assistant Manager of Marketing and Events’. I love the variety. And I love that at the end of the day it all revolves around promoting and providing people with fantastic food. (And the food we have really is fantastic. If Balgove is any indicator of where food trends are headed in Scotland, than the culinary future of this country is very bright.) The wide scope of work has, at times, been challenging to prioritize as there are so many things going on at once, but it has also proved to be abundantly rewarding. It feels like I’m able to use so many of the skills I’ve acquired over my years of education and work, while at the same time adding new ones all the time.

Few of the black boards I've done for the Shop & Steak Barn
Events: I guess this technically falls under ‘the work’ but a couple of events have been highlights unto themselves.
The Crail Food Festival. This was a fun little weekend event promoting local food held last June in the town of Crail (just down the coast from St Andrews). Louise, one of the wonderfully talented Shop Assistant Managers, and I ran a table full of samples and merchandise on the Saturday and sold ready to eat food (lobster cocktail and sausage & onion pastries) on the Sunday. One of the best parts about this event was getting into the kitchen at work to prep all the food. It was a couple of very late nights but was completely worth it and a ton of fun.
In September we hosted a Harvest Feast at Balgove. This was a ticketed dinner for anyone who was interested; local foodie types mostly. It was the first event for which I did the majority of the planning and was a fantastic celebration of local, seasonal food. Again, I got to get into the kitchen, which was such fun… slightly chaotic at certain points during the evening, but all went off extremely well and everyone had a great time.

Harvest Feast. Party setup in the cafe.
The food: As I’ve already mentioned, the food at Balgove is awesome. For me, coming from a place like Vancouver, with its rich diversity and amazing quality of food and dining, this is really saying something. I have high standards (sometimes unreasonably high, I’ve been told [by Jesse]) when it comes to food. I can’t help it. Life is just too short to eat mediocre food. Fresh, local, well-made with quality ingredients and a high level of care, well presented, beautiful, natural, clear provenance — these are characteristics I look for when choosing food, and this is the type of food that Balgove carries. I realize this may all sound a bit biased because I work there, but I don’t really care. The food speaks for itself. And for those of you who have not yet had the pleasure of visiting, you’ll just have to believe me!
Rabbit, Strawberries, Bread, Mackerel. All fresh and from within a few miles.

We came here so that Jesse could follow the path laid out before him for study. I never thought I would find real purpose here as well. God is Good.

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