Looking for a BBQ caterer? If you didn’t know (or didn’t notice the link above and just to the left that says, “BBQ & Catering”), along with my day job and freelance work in community management and writing, my man and I have a BBQ catering company.
Yesterday The Pork Ninjas were listed as one of The top 10 BBQ caterers in Toronto.
Yesterday I did a brief post about it on the Pork Ninjas website. I was getting ready to feed people so I didn’t have much time, plus that’s more a business blog, but I wanted to write something honest, personal and heartfelt here that might or might not make it over to the other site:
It’s amazing to see that our hard work pays off.
I’m not going to lie: It’s sometimes stressful. Sometimes we argue. The money mostly goes back into the business. We deal with fluctuating ingredient costs, fluctuating prices for gas for whichever vehicle we’re using at the time, insurance and repairs to the bus/truck that helps us out with the bigger jobs. The bus was bought used via Kijiji and has quirks. The gas gauge doesn’t always work. The bus broke down on the highway in the middle of the night last month. The bus is being eaten by rust before my eyes. Winter was not kind to it. We’re still saving up for a paint job because that had to be lower on our priority list.
However, we love the work and each other and at the end of the day we respect both the work and each other. We put love into the work, into the food, and into each other. We’re a team.
It’s an amazing feeling when we’re working silently side-by-side in a kitchen, each doing our own prep for the next day, the only sounds being the hum of the fridge, a chopping knife, the ‘ting’ of something hitting a metal mixing bowl, a perfect dance. It reminds me of a voiceover in the beginning of an episode of the series TV series Kitchen Confidential. The episode is called “Teddy Takes Off”, Teddy is played by John Cho, and the voiceover by Bradley Cooper’s character, “Jack Bourdain”, is about the choreography that happens with people who work well together. Every move is in sync. I tried for awhile to find a video clip to embed of that scene but check out the show. The one full season is available on DVD and Hulu and is good enough for multiple viewings.
To be perfectly honest, we occasionally stumble, someone gets hurt, something gets forgotten, and there is the achiness that sets in while we’re working and after. However, when people compliment us on the food with statements such as “That pork is the best I’ve ever had” (in response to the crown roast of pork we made courtesy of McEwan Foods), tell us “I’ve had lots of barbecue but this is the best I’ve had.” and tell us that they usually don’t like BBQ in Toronto but ours is good, it’s worth it. At a big corporate event for a giant video game company where we were one food station among many, one man asked, “Where’s your restaurant?” I answered that we don’t have one. He subsequently laughed and guessing that we were part of a certain trend, asked, “Okay, how do I find your food truck?” I answered that we don’t have one. And it made me a bit sad that unless you hire us, or go attend a public event that we serve at, or are our friend, you can’t eat our food.
I’m not quite ready to quit my day job but I can imagine increasing the catering gigs along with my writing and social media gigs and perhaps leaving the day job behind in a couple of years. We do have a restaurant concept in mind, and I think it’s brilliant, but it’s not time yet.
Sometimes we do public gigs and don’t see the immediate return on investment. Then I realize that with every event we do, whether it’s a local food competition, a wedding or a birthday party, we get our food into more mouths. More people discover us each time we’re out and about. That might not always translate into immediate business, which might bum us out from time-to-time, but momentum slowly builds and word spreads, chefs surprise me with, “I’ve heard of you!” when I meet them, and we get on a top 10 list.
Oprah wasn’t built in a day.
Not that I want to be Oprah, but you get the idea. The most successful people didn’t start out that way. It took time.
So yeah, I have a little spring in my step, some inspiration. In fact, I’ve been getting inspired for the last little while. I got a book idea last week that I’ve just remembered I should write a pitch for. I feel blessed for a lot of reasons. Recognition for the work and love I put into our company is just one.
Today I feel blessed.
Time to go write that book pitch.