Elliotts Fine Foods

Elliotts Fine Foods

Our Stories

Work and Family Life

 

Finn entertaining the crowds at Eumundi Markets

 

Whoa, here I thought I would be able to write a post a week, silly me. Where has the time gone?! We have been super busy, lots going on here at the Elliott house.

 

So it seems that quite a lot of people actually read my first post, maybe I was a little naïve to think that it would not be worth reading, thanks so much, was a bit taken back by the amazing comments and feedback I received, pat on the back for me!

 

I guess this blog is to tell you all a little about us, our background and our daily lives.  As I have said, the catering side of the business all started a little over two years ago, when Master Finn was about 2 weeks old. So I don't  really know anything different than being a working mum.  Those first six months were purely insane.  We had to buy a laptop so that I could work from the kitchen bench with bubs in a front pack, as that was the only way he got sleep with his reflux, while I returned emails, and did the accounts.  And there was a lot of food prep for functions done with my little buddy on the front of me, when things need to be done, you just do them right?!

 

The biggest positive that has come from the catering opposed to Pat still working in restaurants is that there has been a bit more flexibility, whether that is because we work for ourselves, or that our time is so unpredictable now. Obviously the hours are WAY longer, but if Pat is prepping for a wedding, or a large few days are coming up, and working long into the night, he can always just pop home to have dinner with us, or bath Finn and put him to bed.  And we always head down to the kitchen at least once a day even  if it is only for 5 minutes, so Pat and Finn have time together.

 

The biggest down side of catering, for a stress head, organised person that doesn't like change, is that every single day is different.  That may sound amazing for those that have no variety to their jobs, but makes it so  hard to plan anything, have days off, or just organise a week, because it always changes!  I think that I am only just getting my head around it now, two years on.  We tend to take the down time when we can, few hours here and there, if possible Mondays we try to make family time. But it only takes a phone call in the morning to completely change everything.

 

I have the beauty of doing 90% of my work from home, which as Finn gets older, gets harder and harder.  But it also means that I get to have more time with him, we work around each other, which sometimes means I work well into the night. It also means that Finn goes everywhere with me, to pick up suppilies, some meetings, and markets. He is the most adaptable little guy, charms everyone he meets!

 

For those of you that are regulars to Eumundi Markets, or that know us well, know that we have been doing Wednesday market days now for 3  years.  From when Finn was 2 weeks old through to about 1 year, Finn went to the markets with me.  We had a whole set up, the early days just pram, play mat and a few toys, which progressed to a portacot and jolly jumper  We had the most amazing people around to help, they would take him for walks in the pram while I set up, play with him when I was busy, or serve customers when Finn needed me.

 

Most of the work for our business is done by just Pat and I, only getting in people to help for large weddings and functions.  We have developed very clear roles, with Pat doing almost all of the cooking, me doing all the function coordinating and accounts, only stepping into the kitchen when he needs me, or we have specialised pastry orders come in, like celebration  cakes.  So many people ask us about what it is like for us working together, and how it works.  And quite honestly, we make a frickin awesome team.  Of course we clash at times, well quite a lot in the early days!  We were so focused on making everything so perfect, we would question each other.  But now we stay out of each others way, having complete faith in each other. And by having Pat in the kitchen and me out front, we have complete control over everything.  But get us both in the kitchen together and sometimes it gets a little heated, we both like our own methods  for cooking things, and after working and running kitchens for years separately, we both don't like being told what to do at all, especially by your husband, .... or wife!

 

Until only recently we have not had family around us, and while its our choice to live here, it gets hard sometimes juggling everything, but we are so lucky to have an amazing group of people around us that help out when we need.  Like the time the babysitter called in sick two hours before we left to cater a large wedding! Now that was stressful! Our friends always jump in to help, whether its with Finn or coming to a function to help.  That is how we are able to make family life work well with the world of hospitality.  While we may not have much family here, we have created a little Sunshine Coast family, you guys know who you are, we could not do it without you!

 

We have had a huge last mouth.  The relaunch of Profile Magazine, catering the Welcome Cocktail Party for Tough Mudder at Underwater World, Corporate catering, High Tea's, Bridal Showers, and celebration cakes.  And have also booked in most of April / May 2014 with Weddings.

 

So while I have good intentions to not leave it too long to next post, I guess that depends on how busy we are, and busy is good!

 

Till next time, thanks for reading.

 

Rachelle

Introducing the Elliott's

 

 

 

Well welcome to our first Blog post, slightly scary, but kind of fun too!  I apologise now for the fact that I am not a writer, and you will most probably find spelling and gramma errors, but you will all have to overlook those and just take me as I am!

So I guess the first thing to do is introduce you to the Elliott's.  Our team consists of three, Pat, the husband, dad, talented chef, surfer, the level-headed one, then me, Rachelle, wife, mumma, sometimes chef, function co-ordinator, fiery stress head, and lastly the little guy, Finn, almost 2.5 year old, non-stop toddler, fussiest eater ever, and the most gorgeous little thing I have ever met. We are a team, and a strong team.

Pat and I were together 10 years before we got married, and on our amazing honeymoon in the Cook Islands, a vague idea for Elliotts Fine Foods was formed.  We wanted to start a family and knew the days of me working full time as a Head Chef was coming to an end.  So the thought was to start a stall at Eumundi Markets and see where it headed. All at the same time, things started happening.  The restaurant I was working for was sold, I was 3 months pregnant (suffering horrid all day sickness) and had got a space at the markets. We coasted along, Pat working fulltime as Head Chef at a local restaurant, and me doing the markets and other bits and pieces that came up. In February 2011 we welcomed Finn Harrison Elliott to our little family, and that my friends is when the real fun began!

While Finn was THE BEST thing to ever happen, it was also the hardest, as a lot of parents will say. He is lucky he was so damn cute, because there was not a lot of sleeping, and a lot of crying, for quite awhile! It took us almost 7 months to get his reflux under control, and once this happened he was like a completely different baby.  The other big change for us was when Finn was 2 weeks old, Pat was told that his work would be closing, a slightly stressful time!

But that lovely people is how the catering side of Elliotts Fine Foods was born, which is now just over 2 years old.  And the first year is a complete blur to me! But two things I do remember are the function meetings in the early days, which involved a small baby tagging along, and me hoping like hell he would be perfectly behaved, and also the first ever wedding we did.

Now that wedding, while it was still one of the most perfect weddings we have done, I have NEVER worked so hard in all my life! We went in with sparkly eyes and naive minds, came out the other side, shattered, and physically sore, but so satisfied at what we achieved. And to this date, it is still the most guests we have catered for, food and beverage, canapés, entrée, mains and dessert. The wedding went off without a hitch, thanks to the amazing people that helped us make it happen. While the lead up, and the day it's self were huge, it was the clean up that almost did me in! I vividly remember sitting on our work kitchen floor, leaning up against the wall, surrounded by wine glasses, beer glasses, champagne glasses .... so many frickin glasses. I will never ever forget how many glasses a wedding party of 150 people use, and how long it takes to wash them. We were so thankful that Pat's mum was staying with us for a holiday, Finn was having the time of his life with his Nana Lee, while his mum and dad were contemplating failing asleep on the dirty kitchen floor.

But that was the day for me that I realised, we really are an amazing team, we did a fantastic job, BUT I learnt so much, there were things we would have to rethink, and things we would never do again, namely washing that many glasses again ... for free.

So a lot has happened in our lives in the last 2 years, and that is really what this blog is about.  To introduce us, to give an insight into the world of catering, weddings and other functions, to share recipes and other bits and pieces.

I hope you enjoy, and I don't bore you to much!

Thanks letting me be part of your day :)

 

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