Archive for the ‘Paul’ Category
One year ago today Merc’s Bier Cafe opened its doors to the first paying customers. It was a fairly long road getting there with a variety of speed humps, hurdles and difficulties to work around but we got there. I still remember the very first customers coming in – well the first customers to sit down to order and eat my food – it was like jumping off a cliff for me, all the hard work to open was done now the real work and test began….would they like it….would people come? It was a resounding yes!
The next two and a half months were crazy – crazy busy, crazy hard, crazy exciting and ultimately crazy disappointing. It was certainly a baptism of fire on many levels and sadly a fire in which my dream of having my own place would be burnt to the ground not literally but figuratively. Two and a half months of crazy and I had to walk away – not from my dream because that had already gone by this time, but from the business. Put simply it was devastating, I walked away from some great people – my kitchen team that worked so hard and were so committed to my food and our customers.
Stories of business partnerships falling apart are a dime a dozen and my business partnership breakdown is by no means unique it is, in fact, as mundane as all the rest of them. I won’t bore you with the details but I will say I never lied to anyone, I never lost the vision, I treated everyone with respect and at all times endeavoured to act with the utmost of integrity. Along the way I made a few mistakes and learnt from them however the biggest mistake was to believe that everyone else involved in the business would act and behave in that same manner as me.
I effectively left Merc’s Bier Cafe on the 13th December and put in my written termination around the 20th of that same month. I have often said I walked away with nothing which is not true at all. I did walk away without any payment for all of my work or any thanks for that matter. I did walk away with a debt that was promised to be repaid and still hasn’t been in full. I did walk away with some new friends and a raft of experiences that over time I have come to learn some invaluable things from. As Richard Bach wrote in (I think) Illusions of a Reluctant Messiah – “there is no such thing as a problem without a gift for you in its hand’. The problem that was Merc’s Bier Cafe most certainly held a great gift for me and I have gradually over the course of the last 10 months unravelled those gifts and count myself lucky to be the recipient of them.
Merc’s Bier Cafe ceased to be in the first week of February – although some say it ceased to be the day I left.
So today I thank all those involved in those early days for the effort, commitment and passion you put in to making Merc’s happen. I also apologise for the hurt caused along the way – I tried to put that right as best I could. I know there are still a lot of us hurting and I am angry about that – some say “that’s business” but that is not how I will do business.
Merc’s will live another day, I will do it my way with the lessons learnt and with the friends I have made.
At this time of year I am sure I am not the only person that goes out and buys a whole leg ham on the bone for the Xrissy table – I do a turkey in the weber also but more on that in another thread.
I picked up my ham today from my local butcher whose ham I will buy sliced every now and then and it is pretty good. I normally buy my Xmas ham from a small smoking company which unfortunately sold up around October this year – his hams were awesome!
So I got my ham home and just chanced to look on the label – I am a label reader – and found that my ham was in fact only 78% pork the other 22% was made up of water, salt, nitrites, acid regulator, sugar and other stuff etc etc In my label reading travels regarding ham I have found ham in the supermarket with as much as 95% pork and as low as 55% pork.
Now the thing is I like Kevin’s ham but I am not sure I want to be eating only 78% pork? My expectations on a gourmet ham would be that it be in the 90% pork range. Am I wrong; is the quality of a ham dependant on the amount of pork in the ham? Or is the quality all about the quality of the meat and the quality of the brine and smoking i.e. in the magic of Butchers like Kevin and how they ply their craft?
Obviously a ham with a higher pork content will be a drier ham, a more meatier texture, flavour and mouth feel – something I like in a whole leg ham. A ham with a lower pork content is going to be a little more wet, a softer texture and possibly a little more salty.
Where do you guys and girls sit in regards to your xmas ham? I know there are a couple of butchers lurking here what say you about pork content levels in ham?
Why do people who don’t know you, never had anything to do with you, why do they take the time , why do they make the effort to post aggressive, spiteful, insulting messages to you.
Okay to me.
Thankfully it doesn’t happen often but I am completely perplexed and rather angry that someone I have never met or spoken to has sent me a couple of tweets which have been abusive, insulting and aggressive.
What do they get out of it? Is it a sense of power (hiding behind their handheld media device)
What annoys me is I am angry about it, I feel like it is unfair and I want to fix it. I have done nothing wrong and yet I feel the need to sort it out?
Strange! People are weird!
It is a strange idea that some one that doesn’t know you at all has decided to not like you. I guess that is just as strange as some one who doesn’t know deciding to like you although that scenario feels a lot nicer.
Water off a ducks back – working on that – I wanted to rant and rave get them to see the error of their ways to apologise for being rude and all that….instead I just blocked them, never to be heard of or thought of again!
I only just heard Jamie Oliver is the new face of Woolworths! He is a good guy, talented, passionate, successful, a moral food crusader etc He is going to tell Australian how to eat healthier – all good things. He is going to help change the way you and I shop and eat – good for him and Woolies.
I am just a little tired, frustrated and annoyed that Australian companies keep using overseas celebrities to promote Australia???? Coles has signed Heston, target Gok, Big W has Eric Stonestreet, you got Jerri and Dawn and so on and so forth……the list will continue to get longer.
Yes I am envious too because I think – I know I could do a good job of it also. Don’t get me wrong I am not putting myself anywhere near the same step as Jamie or Heston or Curtis….but I have been championing Australian fresh food, produce and producers for the last 7 years.
I have also had extensive discussions with Woolworths to try and get support for my show Mercurio’s Menu so we could continue to tell the stories of the Australian fresh food growers, suppliers, producers, supporters and customers but to no avail. So it does irk me to know that Woolies will more than likely pay Jamie the equivalent (or more) of what I needed to shoot two more 13 part series of Mercuio’s Menu – and that is probably only for the first year and doesn’t include production costs for any of the adds they will shoot with him.
Oh well, that’s the biz! Good luck to them.
Recipe from the cooking demo I did yesterday and also today at the Feast and Family Field Day At Morning Star Estate.Sunday, October 6th, 2013
Serve with some toasted crusty sourdough.
Serves: 2 as a main 4 as an entrée.
But it’s more than that have a listen!
Winter is an original written, composed and sung by Erin!
I might quickly point out that I am talking about Pizza and not some other issue!
Seriously though I had the worst pizza last night from a local home delivery service pizza shop. It makes me wonder how do people get it so wrong? I was in a little country town last week riding my new motorcycle home and I had one of the best pizza’s in a long time. So why in a town like Melbourne do so many get it wrong.
People try to save money by using very bad cheap ingredients and then pile them high so the pizza looks good and is big and heavy but it is also crap! The best pizza’s only have a few quality ingredients on them and are wonderous to behold and eat.
Have you ever asked yourself how can a pizza joint be offering two large pizza’s and a bottle of sugar and fizz all for the low price (and even lower quality of ingredients) of $12!!!!!!
And while I am at it do some research on the stuff that is supposedly shredded ham it is not what you think it is!!!! But is is cheap.
I should just stop ordering pizza – my pizza oven is in the garage waiting on the knocking out of a wall so I can get it around the back of the house and set it up! No more pizza till I am making my own again!
Yep well we’ve gone and done it haven’t we…I say ‘we’ because ‘we’ all welcomed in the new year in some form or another. Now I am already three quarters through the first day of next year. (Question when does it stop being next year and become this year?) Just to be up front I am not all that impressed that next year is here and I am already living it. I was quite happy to wait a little longer for it to arrive – yes I begrudgingly welcomed it in (ask my wife I was a little grumpy about the whole thing) it’s not like I really had a choice right? And quite frankly I am not ready for it!! It’s not that there are things I’ve left undone in 2012 (although I still haven’t unpacked the garage) it’s just that I am not ready for it, I don’t feel optimistic about it, I haven’t got myself into that positive space where I can welcome in the new knowing full well that there is nothing new about welcoming the New Year. Next year is full of the same old same old of last year and that was hard enough to deal with so how am I supposed to get over that while being faced with a whole new year of it ahead of me?????
Yes embrace change, embrace the unknown, create your future, one door closes and another one opens, something will come up it always does (especially if you wait %*#*ing long enough) see the possible in every moment etcetera etcetera. Well yes the door of 2012 certainly closed and the door of 2013 certainly opened (so I guess that bit is true) only I can see no discernible difference in the two and now I am not sure if I am going forward or backward but feel as if I am doing both i.e. I am going backwards into the future.
Oh well I guess I just have to suck it up – I have stepped off the precipice of 2012 and am now free falling into 2013 – I would be lying if I told you I am not worried about the landing, I am. I don’t want more of the same – I want new, exciting, more fulfilling, more prosperity – I WANT IT TO BE A BETTER YEAR THAN THE ONE JUST GONE.
There were significant and wonderful changes in my family’s life last year starting around June and which are still in play. Maybe that has rocked my boat more than I realise – although I do realise the import of the changes and the deep affect they have had on all of us – things are no longer the same and thus, perhaps the crux of the matter, I do not want 2013 to be the same like 2012 was and indeed 2011.
Time for more change then?! Bring it on….I may not be ready (just yet) 2013 but I am willing and I am able!
I may go finish unpacking the garage – better sort the past out so I can step into the future without baggage!