There isn't a day that passes that I don't hear the question 'Where's John?' 'How is he?' It's almost like we sold 'the shop' and he vanished. Well he kind of did.......
Twelve months before we sold Cardamone's we made the big decision of moving our commercial kitchen off site and to take the plunge and try wholesaling our products. Obviously Mum couldn't be in two places at once so she trained my little (massive) brother Damian, set up the kitchen procedures and let him spread his wings. During this time Romilda moved the office to our new premises and my husband, Stiven, and I went out looking for wholesale customers.
It was a difficult time for Mum and Dad; they had lost their support system and were also itching to join us. However, they had to sit tight and try to sell the other business. One night before the big move we all found ourselves in the old kitchen making a batch of Crunchy Parmesan. We laughed when we realised we had never made this dip in front of anyone outside 'the family' and the recipe was not written down anywhere. It was a genuine family secret. We were like Oompa Loompas...... not quite! This dip is a family secret and we hoped it was a sign of a great future in wholesaling. It was the last time we made this dip together.
Ok, so the mystery needs to be solved. No, John is not laying on a beach in Costa Rica, much to his utter disappointment. He has embarked on a complete career change. He now assists Damian in the kitchen, following all of mum's recipes as well as delivering to all of our stockists. This frees Mum up to develop new products and spend time talking to customers and doing in store tastings. On the weekends dad does his gardening, reads the paper from cover to cover and hangs out with his grandsons. The complete opposite to his weekends 12 months ago. Two things haven't changed he still works hard and plays Tatts religiously, he knows that one of these two things will eventually let him visit that beach in Costa Rica he has been dreaming about for years.
People often wonder how we all work together, three stubborn, highly-strung and crazy siblings with their eccentric, extremely passionate parents. It’s because we were born into this situation and we know how to fight. Seriously, we yell and carry on and then five minutes later it’s like nothing ever happened. It took my husband years to get used to it. Luckily he has moved on into Real Estate (Barry Plant Ivanhoe) and we can be as dysfunctional as we want haha.
If you think it’s strange that two people can do all our weekly production alone, including packaging and deliveries, you obviously haven't met my brother. He has the strength of three people and is completely obsessive compulsive - in a good way. When he leaves the kitchen at night it looks like nobody has cooked in it. Except for the two times he dropped huge pots of sauce everywhere, thankfully I wasn't there that day.
Not sure how long we will be an exclusive little family business, hopefully we grow and over time are able to welcome more into our fold. But for the time being it works.
Signing off with another way to serve Crunchy Parmesan:
One slice of witlof topped with Crunchy Parmesan, crispy pancetta, mini croutons and anchovy (optional) - the perfect pre dinner canapé - YUM!!
Have a great weekend!